Kepler’s Universe

Learn more about your favourite characters in their profiles, or find further answers in the FAQs.

The Characters FAQs


“These stories are a way for us to manage our own fears of people’s cruelty. Writing about Joona Linna and Saga Bauer represents a journey from chaos to order, questions to answers, injustice to justice.”

– Lars Kepler

Enter the world of Lars Kepler. Following fictional detectives Joona Linna and Saga Bauer, Kepler’s thrillers draw readers into the dark underbelly of idyllic Sweden. Through Kepler’s stories, readers will delve into the minds of unforgettable villains, explore the streets of Stockholm, and follow the clues to solve chilling mysteries.

Here you can learn about your favorite characters in the Kepler universe, and uncover information about Kepler’s backstory, writing process, and much more in their FAQs.

The Characters

Joona Linna

Joona Linna is a Detective Superintendent at the police’s National Operations Department.


Joona is tall and muscular as one can only be after decades of hard training, when all the muscle groups, sinews, and ligaments are working in unison. His eyes are grey as polished granite, his cheekbones are high, and his blond hair tousled. He wears a dark suit and a white shirt open at the collar. Usually he carries his heavy Colt Combat in a shoulder holster under his right arm.


Joona’s parents emigrated to Sweden from neighboring Finland when they were young. Finns constitute the largest group of immigrants in Sweden, and have always been a target of racism and prejudice.

Joona’s father, Yrjö, was a policeman, and his mother Ritva a housewife. When Joona was twelve, his father was killed on duty by a man with a shotgun at a domestic incident. Joona’s mother had no income, their savings ran out, and she and Joona were forced to move out of their house into a one-room flat in a poor suburb. His mother took all the jobs she could get as a stairwell cleaner, and Joona worked every day after school in a wood yard. They had no TV, but his mother borrowed books at the public library, which they read and talked about until late into the nights.

After sixth form, Joona did his military service as a paratrooper, was recruited into Special Operations, and qualified for special training in the Netherlands in mixed close combat, innovative weaponry, and urban guerrilla warfare.

Joona left the military, went to the police academy, and is now an operational superintendent at the National Crime Police in Stockholm. His poor background and Finnish accent make him something of an underdog in society and in the police force – which is why he has learned to walk his own path.

He is a highly skilled crime investigator and his empathic personality gives him the ability to look beyond the image of the perpetrator as monster. He understands those who commit crimes, sees their fear and suffering, and perceives their desperate choices. This is most likely the reason why he has solved more complicated murder cases than any other police officer in Scandinavia.
Despite his unconventional methods, through the years he has gained the respect of his colleagues, and they are all aware of the great tragedy in Joona’s life, this being the loss of his wife Summa and his daughter Lumi.

After the loss of his family, Joona has continued to live with a feeling of being doomed to loneliness, and that those who get close to him have to disappear.

Saga Bauer

Saga Bauer is an Operational Superintendent at the Swedish Security Service.


She is astonishingly beautiful with her fair skin, slender neck and clear blue eyes. Often she entwines colourful bands into her long, blonde hair. Most people who meet her the first time feel almost weak, as if something is breaking up inside. She carries a Glock 21 in a shoulder holster under an unzipped track suit top with a hood, stamped with the name of Narva Boxing Club.


In Sweden everyone knows about the legendary fairy tale illustrator and artist, John Bauer. His younger brother was Saga’s great-grandfather. Oddly enough, Saga is rather like the luminous princess standing fearlessly before the darkish trolls.

Saga’s father Lars-Erik is a cardiologist and her mother Maj was a barrister. When Saga was very young they lived in a beautiful house in Djursholm.

Saga never speaks to anyone about how she was alone at home with her mother on the night she gave up, after a long struggle with cancer that had spread to her brain.

Although she was only seven, she helped her mother take her painkillers and tried to console her. Saga has never been able to forgive her father for leaving the family when her mother was most sick. Unable to endure his faithlessness, she has not met with him since she turned eighteen.

Saga graduated from police high school with very good grades and afterwards received special training at the Security Police. Although her career has been slowed up by sexism and structural unfairness, she is now a superintendent with both investigative and operational responsibility.

Saga has been a boxer at elite level, goes running daily, spars or fights at least twice a week, and keeps her worried mind in check by target-shooting with a pistol or the police’s competition rifle 90.

Saga lives on Tavastgatan, and drives a Triumph Speed Triple with a dented silencer and a scratched fairing.

She has ended up working with Joona Linna in a number of big investigations. They trust each other utterly and she knows that he respects her and regards her as his sister.

Jurek Walter

Jurek Walter is one of Europe’s worst serial killers and the only human being that Joona Linna truly fears.


Jurek Walter’s thin face is covered by a web of wrinkles and his light eyes are utterly calm. His aging body is sinewy, his hands big. He dresses in flannel shirts, jeans and heavy boots. Jurek Walter doesn’t sexualize violence and neither is he a sadist. To him, killing is straightforward and definite, like an unavoidable physical labour.


Jurek’s mother died when she gave birth to his brother, Igor. The brothers grew up in the cosmodrome of the secret city of Leninsk in Kazakhstan. Their father was a highly regarded astrophysicist and spent his days constructing an intercontinental ballistic robot.

Because of the race between the United States and the Soviet Union, it was only a matter of time before disaster struck.

When a robot exploded and killed one hundred and twenty-two engineers and technicians, their father knew that he, one of the few remaining survivors, would be made the scapegoat. He decided to flee to Sweden with his sons.

At first, he thought this new country would be eager to use his extraordinary knowledge of physics, but instead he found that the only job he could get was as a workman in a gravel pit.

One evening when the boys were playing in the big sand piles, even though it was forbidden, they were discovered by the foreman. The brothers were taken into custody by the social authorities. Their father tried in vain to get his sons back, but he had no documents to prove that they were his.

Igor’s deportation was delayed when he got pneumonia, but Jurek was immediately sent back to Kazakhstan.

After escaping from Pavlodar’s orphanage, Jurek was captured by a Chechen guerilla group and got his basic training as a soldier in a mountain village in the Caucasus.

Jurek’s platoon smuggled weapons and drugs, looted select villages, mutilated and raped the women, and tortured and executed all men who were too old to be recruited.

Jurek learned everything there is to know about killing before he leaving his life as a soldier behind, after more than 20 years.

He found Igor at the Serbski Institute mental hospital and brought him with him to Sweden. But when the brothers finally reached the gravel pit, it was too late. Their father had given up hope of finding his sons and hung himself.

Jurek remembered the foreman, the social worker, and the deportation order, and decided to take from them all the people who had ever meant anything to them. He would watch as they continued to live – going to work, eating their food, watching TV – until the horrific moment when they realized they were already dead.

Jurek learned everything there is to know about killing before he leaving his life as a soldier behind…

It wasn’t anything supernatural – just an ice-cold grasp of human weakness.

Together with his colleague Samuel Mendes, Joona Linna discovered a remarkable deviation in the statistics of missing people. It turned out to be the clue that led them to the worst serial killer of all time in Northern Europe.

Their private investigation work eventually lead them to the arrest in Lill-Jansskogen. They approached a glade with an excavated grave. An emaciated woman was trying to get out of the coffin but was repeatedly being pushed back in by Jurek.

As Joona and Samuel conducted the interrogations leading up to the main hearing, they gradually came to realize that Jurek was getting into the head of everyone he was given access to. It wasn’t anything supernatural – just an ice-cold grasp of human weakness.

Jurek’s plan was for Joona or Samuel to say that there was a possibility that he was innocent, and that he had, in fact, happened to find the tomb and tried to help the woman out when they saw him in the glade.

But because Joona knew Jurek was guilty and couldn’t let him go free, he lied in the courtroom about the arrest, claiming that he had heard Jurek tell the woman the he would leave her to die in the grave.

Jurek was sentenced to indefinite forensic psychiatric care with extraordinary rules regarding security and discharge reviews. Before leaving the courtroom, Jurek Walter turned to Joona and said, “Your little daughter Lumi will disappear, your wife Summa will disappear, and once you’ve understood that you will never find them, you will hang yourself.”

Jurek Walter was placed in an isolation cell in the bunker deep beneath the forensic psychiatric security ward at Löwenströmska Hospital. Interaction with other patients is forbidden, as is going outdoors: he has no contact with the outside world.

The diagnose reads: Schizophrenia, unspecified. Chaotic thinking. Recurring, acute psychotic conditions with bizarre and extremely violent elements.

Erik Maria Bark

Doctor Erik Maria Bark specializes in psychotraumatology, is a member of the European Society of Hypnosis, and is widely considered to be the world’s foremost authority on clinical hypnosis.


Erik is of medium height, his hair is thick and greying, and he has a friendly face with laugh lines. He dresses casually in trousers and shirts, his sleeves rolled up. He’s charming, passionate but at the same time vain, something which has often put him in big trouble.


Erik grew up in Sollentuna, north of Stockholm. His mother worked half-time as a school nurse while his father was an employee of the Social Insurance Agency, and enjoyed doing magic in his spare time.

Erik went on to study medicine right after high school, specializing in psychology.

For five years he worked for the Red Cross in Uganda, where he met with traumatized patients. It was there that he first began to practice hypnosis to help the patients cope with their memories.

When Erik returned to Stockholm, he applied for funding from the Medical Research Council, wanting to deepen his understanding of hypnosis and trauma treatment. Shortly after, he met Simone at a big party at the university and they fell in instant love. After a series of miscarriages, they finally had a son, Benjamin. He has von Willebrand’s disease and needs regular injections of clotting factor concentrates for his blood to coagulate.

Erik is passionate about hypnosis, and after his pioneering research on deep hypnotic group-therapy was stopped, he developed a pill addiction.