I enjoy Henning Mankell's books a great deal. This one is for enthusiasts who might listen for completeness. This is not the book to start with because Henning Mankell is so much better than this book suggests.
Overall, I liked this book. The main plot was entertaining and kept me guessing. I liked how it turned out. The subplot, which had the most impact, left me feeling sad and dissatisfied.
Kurt Wallender is 60 and a grandfather. He's looking for his in-laws-to-be who disappeared a few weeks after a mysterious discussion on Soviet submarines in Swedish waters in the 1980's. This intriguing story is weighed down by a rough or too-literal translation. I've listened to other Wallender books, and don't remember the language being this primitive. Just isn't great writing. Doesn't mean the book isn't worth listening to, just means the dull language detracts from it.
Powerful... Provoking... Change!
Of course, as usual Mankell does his best to keep the reader tuned to the slightest hesitancy or breath of each character.
I liked Dick Hill much better. I wonder about the reason for the change. This narrator is okay, but lacks the force and depth of character for Wallander.
I can't tell you before you read it!
I was very disappointed in this book. I've listened to other Wallenders and really liked them. The plot starts out interesting and then just stalls and then comes apart. To the extent that I could follow the narrative I found it not either interesting or believable and the point of the story, when it does become clear, is not interesting, novel or exciting. Characters disappear and die for no reason and no believable reason is supplied as the book unfolds. Get it from the library if you really need to read/hear this final book in this detective series.
A librarian who loves to read, whether in print or in the air
This was a great final entry in the Kurt Wallander mystery series. There is nobody better than Henning Mankell when it comes to following a detective and including the ordinary details of life amidst all the intrigue. I only hope that Mankell continues to the Wallander saga by giving us more stories about Kurt's daughter, Linda.
I've been a big fan of the Wallander series and thoroughly enjoyed Dick Hill's narration. Mankell has written a wonderful book - again. However, my comments on this audio book are mainly regarding the narration. Robin Sachs may have a better grasp on Swedish pronunciation than Hill but his narration was soooo sloooow that I had to put my I-pod on 2x speed to listen without losing my mind. This may really be the last of Wallander. I wish the publishers had been consistent and kept Dick Hill on for this one. Robin Sachs' reading sort of ruined the end of this series for me.
It was sad to listen to the last Wallander novel - each book has been so well done and you get to know the strengths and foilbles of all the recurring characters. I like it when you've hung around the protagonist and the other actors so long that you know how they think, what they're likely to do (or not do), you become aware of their weaknesses and - when once in awhile they fall victim to a failing - you speak to them saying "No, No! Why are you doing that? Get a hold of yourself!" The Wallandar series cultivates that kind of intimate relationship. Mankell's writing is always slow (nicely feels like real time, not "abridged" or hurried up), giving you time to immerse into the story's environment, to visualize it. His are somewhat cerebral novels, fine explorations of characters, good procedural police work, engrossing well-crafted and topical mysteries, and occasionally (sometimes when you least expect it) frightening encounters. I've loved Mankell's work and will miss Kurt Wallander, because this is the last one, the swan song, a sad goodbye to an old friend.
I will warn you that, if you're a Wallander fan like me, The Troubled Man was a bit of a disappointment. And not simply because it presages curtains for Kurt. The story felt like it dragged a bit, there was a little too much about his daughter Linda, which I guess is to lay the foundation for her emergence as Ystad's new police officer. But I've started the first Linda Wallander series novel and the spark is really gone.
I don't think it will spoil the mystery for you to say that it turns out that - like his father - he has Alzheimers (in addition to the diabetes); after all, the disorientation, memory lapses, and related episodes that play out as a side-story. You should have been able to put that together well before the story matures.
It reads almost as if - and it wouldn't surprise me at all if Mankell composed it this way deliberately - reading this novel is a must for Wallander fans to be able understand what's happening to him and to be able to accept and let go. For the many of us who have painfully watched our own loved ones slowly cross into that other world, a cruel purgatory - this story reads lovingly and feels real.
I'm glad I read it.
I recommend you listen to all of the Wallander mysteries. These are good stories. Although I haven't listened to all of them this may be the best even if it is the last. I would also recommend you watch the original Swedish films on DVD or Mhz. The PBS version with Kenneth Branagh is good but the originals are better.
In none of his 9 preceding mysteries has Inspector Kurt Wallander been less discerning or quick-witted. We are tempted at several points to shout hints to him about clues he has seemingly missed until hours later and just kick him on the ankles to get him moving out of his constant funk. The story is a good one, both well suited to our political fears in these days of slipping back into Cold War jitters, and also befitting Mankell's considerable skills. The telling, however, is marred (for me, ruined) by Wallander's fixation on how old he's become (he's 60, for gosh sake's, not 90!). OK, Mankell needs to be sure we don't expect an 11th Wallander mystery, but surely he did not have to immerse the real mystery of The Troubled Man (not a reference to Wallander, by the way, although it might as well be) into this back story. On the plus side, a wonderful reading by Robin Sachs, who is responsible for 1-1/2 of my stars. Reach for an earlier Wallander book.