This is my third Wallander mystery and the weakest story of the three. White Lioness was a great story, a little preachy at times but excellent overall. Sidetracked was suspenseful and exactly right for a murder mystery, a little gruesome at times but a worthy listen. The Man Who Smiled was OK, but the plot strained belief. Why did the lawyer figure out the dirty business but the forensic accountants couldn't see it? The plastic container/organ transplant side story was unnecessary and not believable. I'm continuing through the Mankell series, however, and my next one will be Dogs of Riga. Also, I've gotten accustomed to Dick Hill's narration. At first it was annoying, but give him a chance and you might even like his style after a few books.
This was one of the most intense books I've ever listened to, and I won't listen to it again because it was just so appallingly sad. As the narrator worked through the story, you just knew that it was all going to end very, very badly. The suspense kept growing, at the same time as you hoped the characters would learn to relate to each other but realized that it was impossible. It disappoints me that people give the book bad reviews because they never learned to "like" the characters. Sorry, folks, but the deep flaws and unlikability of these characters are what built the story. The complete lack of self-awareness, empathy and remorse of the female character, even at the end, was breathtaking. I'm sure there really are people out there similar to these characters and unspeakable tragedies occuring frequently. Keep an open mind and listen. I thought it was great.
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