The leader of a religious cult in Guyana instigates a mass suicide. He succeeds in killing himself and his whole flock of worshippers, save one. One man escapes.
In the wood in the country land outside Ystad, the police make a horrific discovery: a severed head and hands locked together in an attitude of prayer. A Bible lies at the victim's side, handwritten corrections and amendments on every page. A string of incidents, including attacks on domestic animals, has been taking place and Inspector Wallander fears that these events could be the prelude to attacks on humans on a much greater scale.
Linda Wallander, preparing to join the Ystad police force, arrives at the station. Showing all the hallmarks of her father - the maverick approach, the flaring temper - she becomes involved in the case and in the process has to confront a group of extremists bent on punishing the world's sinners. Before the Frost is a totally compelling and atmospheric crime story.
©2004 Henning Mankell (P)2009 Random House Audio
I love all genres of books. However, when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!
This is a terrifying thriller, written by Henning Mankell, a Swedish mystery writer. The book is the first featuring Linda Wallander, his main character's daughter, as a police officer, and I hope he plans on writing more. The author asks at the beginning, what if one man had survived the Jonestown massacre in Guyana in 1978, and proceeds to follow that man. The plot is exciting and escalates fast into frightening, with ritual murder and sacrifice, disappearances of Linda's two best friends. Underneath, and effectively communicated, is the theme that religion can be a force for either good or evil, and it is a most powerful tool for manipulating people. This is evident all the time in the news, when countries go to war or terrorists commit mass murder, it's always "God is on our side," and who can argue with that? Religious fervor in the wrong hands can result in the worst atrocities. The book finishes on Linda's first official day of work, Sept. 11, 2001. I highly recommend this book, it's one of the best I've read this year.
A disturbing tale
Kurt and Linda were pursuing two parallel investigations - one official and one personal. It seemed for quite a good deal of the story that the two investigations were never going to coincide. This was masterfully achieved and as the story progressed it became more mysterious and difficult to predict where the story was going to head - only that it was getting darker and darker. This was well crafted.
Yes one - I particularly like the Swedish feel he creates and the clarity of the characters - a great performance.
The cruel God
Great story, great performance - I want more!
Yes. It was a brilliant read. I loved how the book focused on Linda and her circle of friends.
Linda,Kurt's daughter. The book gave great insight into her character and the strong similarities that exist between her and her dad.
Yes. I had to force myself to stop listening and go to sleep.
"A cut above usual crime fiction."
This is the first Wallander book I have listened to; having seen the brilliant TV series I wanted to get back to the originals...
This is really a cut above your average crime fiction. Unlike so many two dimensional crime fiction characters, the protagonists are fleshed out with complex inner lives and psychological detail which really grips. There are few characters, but you really feel you know them.
I also enjoyed the almost post-modern touches. At one point, everyone in a crime conference gets side-tracked into talking about a children's tv show at length, while Wallander waits for order to resume.
This is a good place to start if you are new to Wallander books. It is just a shame they are not being translated in order!
"Thoroughly enjoyed this Wallander mystery"
Already a Wallander fan having read a few of Henning Mankell's books and seen the Kenneth Branagh series on TV, I had high expectations. I was not disappointed. Expertly read by Sean Barrett, a real pleasure to listen to, the story was gripping with twists, turns and revelations underscored by the continuing characterisation of Wallander and in this book, his daughter Linda, who is about to join the police force. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it went all too fast.
"A good read and recommended!"
Highly recommended. Whilst the plot isn't sufficiently obscure to be a true mystery and sometimes the characters appear to have taken 'stupid pills', the book and characters are sufficiently engaging to hold interest throughout. The characters are reasonably well drawn and if you are familiar with the TV series (not so much the Kenneth Branagh version, rather the Krister Henriksson version) then the places, people and surroundings spring into life.
First audio book that I have listened to that has made me want to listen to another in the series. Bit disappointing that there aren't more of them on Audible.
The reader (Sean Barrett) - apart from having two or three 'fluffs' remaining in the recording - reads the book fluently and is a joy to listen to. Very compelling.
Buy and listen to with confidence!
"Before the Frost"
With all due respect to the previous reviewers who praised the book highly, I have to say I hated it and found it dull. depressing and couldn't wait for it to end. In fact was very annoyed to have wasted one of my precious credits on it. Maybe being fans of the TV series helps: I adore Kenneth Branagh and think he's a brilliant actor, but despite his presence did not like the Wallender series. Perhaps it's a Swedish thing re depression......
"Wallender's daughter comes of age"
I was sorry when this story finished it was so enjoyable. Superbly read and very exciting - quite a detailed story with loads of twists and turns. I shall listen to more Wallender's in the future, he is so human.
"Good story but ending could be better"
The story had a good pace.
The ending seemed a bit rushed, as if the author had run out of ideas.
Sean Barrett has a great voice and really brings anything he reads to life.
Never enter the the woods alone!
Great series of books just a shame this one lacked a bit in it's ending.
The only down side to this I'd there is only one of the Wallander books to go for me. Fantastic plot wonderful characters.
"A bit disappointing"
I generally enjoy Henning Mankell's books but this one fell a little short for me. I was expecting a typical Kurt Wallander storyline but this one featured his daughter Linda as the major character and I found it somewhat disappointing. The narration by Sean Barrett was as good as ever but I was left feeling that the story was just a bit too contrived.
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