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Faceless Killers: A Kurt Wallander Mystery | [Henning Mankell]

Faceless Killers: A Kurt Wallander Mystery

It was a crime of senseless violence. On a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse, an elderly farmer was bludgeoned to death, his wife left to die with a noose around her neck. As if this didn't present enough problems for Ystad police inspector Kurt Wallander, the dying woman's last word, his only tangible clue, were foreign. If publicized, they could be the match that would inflame Sweden's already smoldering anti-immigrant sentiments.
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Publisher's Summary

First in the Kurt Wallander mystery series.

It was a crime of senseless violence. On a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse, an elderly farmer was bludgeoned to death, his wife left to die with a noose around her neck. As if this didn't present enough problems for Ystad police inspector Kurt Wallander, the dying woman's last word, his only tangible clue, were foreign. If publicized, they could be the match that would inflame Sweden's already smoldering anti-immigrant sentiments.

With this case - unlike the situation with his ex-wife, his estranged daughter, or the young prosecutor who has piqued his interest - Wallander feels he has a problem he can handle. He quickly becomes obsessed with solving the crime before the already tense situation explodes, though it will require all of his talent to do so.

©1991 Henning Mankell, English translation ©1997 Steven T. Murray; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"An exquisite novel of mesmerizing depth and suspense." (Los Angeles Times)
"Mankell's work mixes compelling procedural details with strong social consciousness....A superior novel and a harbinger of great things to come." (Booklist)
"[A] brilliant U.S. debut....The author goes well beyond the narrow police procedural in creating a full-bodied Wallender and in casting light on the refugee problem in contemporary Swedish society." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (925 )
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Story
3.9 (509 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kathleen DANBURY, WI, United States 08-06-12
    Kathleen DANBURY, WI, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2007
    ratings
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    2
    1
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    Story
    "Can't stop listening"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. The main character is so human.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The mystery and the characters.


    Which character – as performed by Dick Hill – was your favorite?

    Wallender


    Any additional comments?

    I like the country of Sweden descriptions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelli Birmingham, AL, United States 05-27-12
    Kelli Birmingham, AL, United States 05-27-12 Member Since 2015

    Listen on dog walks, commutes and around the house. Welcome virtually any genre but southern fiction holds a special place in my heart.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Immensely Flawed Wallander is Intriguing"

    Because I watched the Wallander PBS series prior to reading this book, I was stuck with the image of Kenneth Branagh as Wallander. That's not a bad thing but probably impacted my opinion of that character. Mankell does an excellent job developing Wallander as an immensely flawed police detective and his story really helped glue this mystery together for me. I was not, however, as intrigued by the mystery itself and I found myself a little disappointed as the book came to an end. The story had not stayed with me from the PBS series (possibly a forewarning that the book may not engage me). I do plan to continue the series as I'm curious about Wallander and his future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Wolcott, CT, United States 05-07-12
    Diane Wolcott, CT, United States 05-07-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Not Quite...."
    Would you try another book from Henning Mankell and/or Dick Hill?

    Not as intriguing as Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and this writer is compared to Stieg Larrson but this novel at least doesn't come close to that. It's a good listen, though the characters just aren't as appealing, I didn't find myself unable to stop listening. Just in the middle of the pack, not overly good or bad.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    didn't have one, that was the problem, none of them caught my imagination or inspired my symphathy.....


    What aspect of Dick Hill’s performance would you have changed?

    He has a unique way of phrasing that I often found disquieting, it's as if he runs out of breath.


    Could you see Faceless Killers being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    I will try later novels by this writer but I don't see him reaching the same level as Stieg Larrson. It's unlike I'll eagerly await his next book as I do with my favorites!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Auburn, CA, United States 04-27-12
    Patricia Auburn, CA, United States 04-27-12

    pjlyon

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Little Whine With Your Mystery"

    I liked the way the author introduced our main mystery and interwove other cases making quite a basketweave out of the book, but I did get tired of the constant whinning of our main protagonist. My wife left me, I drink too much, my daughter avoids me, my father is nuts, and on we go. I like reality when I read (or listen), but all dark and no laughter gets boring after a while.

    Dick Hill did a credible job with his narration. He did a good job of finding the voice of Kurt Wallander, and I enjoyed the resonance his voice gave to the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan Houston, TX, United States 04-23-12
    Jan Houston, TX, United States 04-23-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Is this a children's book?"

    I don't know, maybe I wasn't in the mood, but this title seemed very juvenile to me. I don't know if it was the author's fault or the narrator's or mine! I turned it off after one hour and said "Ugg, I've wasted another credit."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    04-23-12
    04-23-12 Listener Since 2009
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    "What a disappointment!"
    What would have made Faceless Killers better?

    The book did not get you into the characters. I never identified with any of them, they, like the book's title were faceless. The main character and most supporting characters all sounded the same. A better narrator might have helped. Simaon Vance for instance. Overall, I would not recommend this book.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    The Millenium Triology...again.


    What aspect of Dick Hill’s performance would you have changed?

    Voices all sounded the same.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Faceless Killers?

    Most.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richheimer México, Mexico 04-23-12
    Richheimer México, Mexico 04-23-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "RR"

    Having previously listened to later Wallander novels, "Faceless Killers" comes in as a bit dull. The performance is awful, with few differences in tone and intonation between some characters, and apparent voice disguising tricks (like placing a handkerchef over the microphone) that are too obvious and unrefined.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kay in DC Washington, DC United States 03-05-12
    Kay in DC Washington, DC United States 03-05-12 Member Since 2012

    Kay

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    "Love Makell"

    I found Mankell after reading "The Girl ... " trilogy by Stieg Larsson. Went looking for other Swedish thrillers. I wouldn't so much call the Kurt Wallender series thrillers. More police procedurals, but that doesn't do them credit. As it turns out, I like them more than I like the Larsson books. Far more character development and examination of cultural issues than the standard cop stories. I read the latest Wallender story first. Now I will work my way through the series. My husband also has become a fan. In a few months, we are going to Denmark and intend to take a side trip to Ystadt, Sweden to see Wallender's haunts. The performance is also excellent. Mankell's works may not be great literature, and I enjoy great literature as well. But they are great reads without being simplistic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Toni LAKE SHERWOOD, CA, United States 02-14-12
    Toni LAKE SHERWOOD, CA, United States 02-14-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Faceless Killers: Deliciously satisfying"
    Would you listen to Faceless Killers again? Why?

    Perhaps at a later date but because Henning Mankell is so prolific, there are many of his books I have yet to read. The Kurt Wallander series is exciting and I look forward to moving on, sequentially, through every one of these books and to watching the Wallander character develop.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Henning Mankell has humanized detective Kurt Wallander by allowing him to be somewhat flawed and vulnerable. The realistic interaction between all the characters, coupled with natural dialogue, reinforces the storyline so it seems completely plausible. This story is set in the early 1990s so the communications, the technology and the overall pace of life is a fraction less frantic and uncensored than the life we know today. It may be one reason that the discovery of two dead bodies in a life raft on the open sea is marginally less shocking to the 21st century reader than it might have been a little more than 20 years ago.


    What does Dick Hill bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    There is no question that Dick Hill's interpretation of every character enhances the listener's experience on many levels. Mr. Hill is an extraordinary reader who distinguishes each personality by a nuanced speech pattern and subtle rythm, making the listener feel like an eavesdropper on the actual conversation.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I'd love the luxury of listening, uninterrupted to the entire book... or the entire series for that matter. The great advantage of Dick Hill's reading is that it is both exciting and natural, so if I have to stop listening and start again later, I don't feel the need to


    Any additional comments?

    The entire Kurt Wallander series is entertaining, exciting and interesting. You will love this intelligent and completely believeable sleuth. The mysteries are just that... mysterious and perplexing. These are murder mysteries so there is the expected violence but it is generally contained in the opening chapter and not of the extremely graphic nature one frequently finds in other works in this genre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy 02-13-12
    Judy 02-13-12
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    4
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    "Good Story, very poor narration"
    What would have made Faceless Killers better?

    I had to constantly adjust volume because Dick Hill's narration would not be clear. Would not purchase a book narrated by him.


    What didn’t you like about Dick Hill’s performance?

    Characterizations were poor and very difficult to understand. Modulation of voice extremely poor.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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