Lars Kepler Books in Order (Joona Linna, Killer Instinct)

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Lars Kepler is not one author, it’s the pseudonym used by husband and wife team Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril. They are Swedish and write crime fiction.

More precisely, “Lars Kepler” is the writer of the Joona Linna Series (aka Killer Instinct) that follows the investigations led by Joona Linna, Detective Superintendent at the police’s National Operations Department, but also Saga Bauer, an Operational Superintendent at the Swedish Security Service, and Erik Maria Bark, a trained psychiatrist and psychotherapist specialized in psycho-traumatology and disaster psychiatry.

How to read Lars Kepler’s Books in Order?

The Joona Linna Series/Killer Instinct Series

  1. The Hypnotist (2009) – Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm. Detective Inspector Joona Linna is faced with a boy who witnessed the gruesome murder of his family. He’s suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and is comatose with shock. Linna’s running out of time. The police do not want him on the case. The killer’s on the run and there are seemingly no clues. Desperate for information, Linna enlists specialist Dr Erik Maria Bark, a hypnotist who vowed never to practice again.
  2. The Nightmare (2010) – Police discover the lifeless body of a young woman on an abandoned yacht. The next day, a man is found hanging in his apartment. When Detectives Joona Linna and Saga Bauer uncover a surprising connection between the two deaths, they will be forced to confront a relentless killer who’s always one step ahead and a ruthless business tycoon who preys on his victims’ worst nightmares to achieve his sinister ends.
  3. The Fire Witness (2011) – At a home for troubled girls, a young girl has been brutally murdered during the night. Her body is found arranged in bed with her hands covering her eyes. Vicky Bennet is the only girl unaccounted for. When a bloody hammer is discovered under her pillow, it appears that she was more than just a witness to the killing. Detective Inspector Joona Linna is called in to piece the evidence together. But the case quickly descends into darker, more violent territory, leading him finally to a shocking confrontation with the past.
  1. The Sandman (2012) – Jurek Walter is serving a life sentence. Kept in solitary confinement, he is still considered extremely dangerous by psychiatric staff. Mikael knows him as “the sandman”. Seven years ago, he was taken from his bed along with his sister. They are both presumed dead. When Mikael is discovered on a railway line, close to death, the hunt begins for his sister. To get to the truth, Detective Inspector Joona Linna will need to get closer than ever to the man who stripped him of a family; the man who wants Linna dead.
  2. Stalker (2014) – The Swedish National Crime Unit receives a video of a young woman in her home, clearly unaware that she’s being watched. Soon after the tape is received, the woman’s body is found horrifically mutilated. With the arrival of the next, similar video, the police understand that the killer is toying with them, warning of a new victim, knowing there’s nothing they can do. Detective Margot Silverman is put in charge of the investigation and soon asks Detective Joona Linna for help.
  3. The Rabbit Hunter (2016) – A masked stranger stands in the shadow of a garden, watching his first victim through the window. He will kill him slowly – play him a nursery rhyme – make him pay. The police offer ex-Detective Joona Linna a chance to clear his name: help Superintendent Saga Bauer track down the vicious killer terrorizing Stockholm, before he strikes again. Now Joona stands between a disturbed predator and its prey. He must catch a killer who hunts in the shadows and who is dangerously close to losing control…
  1. Lazarus (2018) – Jurek Walter was shot and killed years ago. The police moved on and managed to forget the darkness that had tainted their lives.But now someone is leaving a trail of broken bodies across Sweden and the clues all point to Walter. Detective Joona Linna is convinced his worst nightmare is becoming a reality: the man who tore apart his family has returned to finish the job. When Joona’s partner is taken – and locked inside an underground coffin – he finds himself with an impossible choice: leave her to die or walk into the trap set by the only man he ever feared.
  2. The Mirror Man (2020) – Seventeen-year-old Jenny is abducted in broad daylight and taken to a dilapidated, isolated house where she is chained and caged along with several other girls. Their captor is unpredictable and as wily as he is cruel. Five years later, Jenny is found dead in a public park, and the police are scrambling to find a lead among the scant evidence. But Detective Joona Linna realizes that this murder has an eerie connection to a death that was declared a suicide years before.
  3. The Spider (2023) – Three years ago, Detective Saga Bauer received an ominous postcard describing a gun and nine white bullets – one of which was intended for her partner, Detective Joona Linna. The sender alleged that Saga was the only person who could save him. But as time passed, the threat faded. Until now. A sack with a decomposing body has been found hanging from a tree in the forest. A milky white bullet casing turns up at the scene. When the body count begins to rise, the police realize that the killer is sending riddles, offering them the chance to stop the murders before they happen.

Stand-alone works:

Playground - Lars Kepler Books in Order

  • Playground (2015) – With a near-death experience under her belt, a mother desperately tries to save her five-year-old son who was fatally injured in a car accident. She knows what awaits him on the other side, and that he will never make it on his own. There is only one solution: to accompany her son in death. But in the waiting room between life and death, their destinies will be determined on the playground – a veritable theater of horrors. Welcome to the wild west of the afterlife.

If you like Lars Kepler, you may also want to see our Jo Nesbø reading order or our guide to Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.

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