An investigation consists of a mass of voices, the sort you can hear, and the sort you can't. You have to listen to the soundless voices, Malin. That's where the truth is hidden. The snow covered all the tracks, as the killer knew it would. But it couldn't hide the victim, the man who now hung naked from a lonely tree on a frozen plain. Malin Fors is first on the scene. A 31-year-old single mother, Malin is the most talented and ambitious detective on the Linkoping police force, but also the most unpredictable. She must lead the investigation while keeping her fractured life on the rails. No one knows the identity of the dead man. Or perhaps no one ever wanted to know. When all the voices of the investigation have fallen silent, Malin can rely only on herself and her own instincts. And as she follows in the frigid wake of the killer, Malin begins to discover just how far the people in this small town are willing to go to keep their secrets buried.
©2011 Mons Kallentoft (P)2011 Hodder & Stoughton
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"Dark and Eerie"
I loved this book, I am a big fan of Scandanavian crime and this lived up to my expectations. It is a very dark, atmospheric book with excellent characters. Malin is a female detective battling with a complicated personal life whilst trying to solve a gruesome murder in the middle of a very very cold winter. The book was beautifully narrated by Lisa Coleman, her calm almost whispery voice was a total contrast to the subject matter, but for me it worked. I also loved the male narrator....that part of the book was a total surprise! I would definitely recommend this book!
"Highly recommended Swedish crime"
I downloaded this audio book as it was on Richard and Judy's book club list for spring 2012 - not always an entirely reliable list but I have come across some good reads through it. I was badly in need of a gripping crime listen as I have been struggling for the last month or so to find something. After listening to Midwinter Sacrifice I cannot wait for Mons Kallentoft's next book. The plot is tight and moves along at a good pace, the characterisation is excellent and I was really drawn into the life of the main character. The description of a
Swedish winter is superb and perfect listening for this time of year. The narration too is excellent and Lisa Coleman is definitely one of my favourite narrators - her voice is mesmerising.
I just need to find another crime listen to match this now!
"Great new Scandanavian writer!"
I loved this book - lots of surprises, great characterisations and a humanity sometimes missing from Henning Mankell and co. The reading was also excellent.
My only quibble is that one (subsidiary) plot line is not resolved at the end of the book. The author asks, "Do all mysteries have to be answered?" ..Um, yes. We read these books is great part because they give us a sense of resolution missing in the real world. Just bugged me, but not major enough to detract from overall book. I will certainly be buying more from this author.
"Another Good Swedish Mystery"
I like the Swedish mysteries in general and thought I'd try a new (to me) author. This was a bit different from others in that it went more into the thought processes of the characters, even of the dead. It was at times both philosophical and poetic. After a bit of a slow start, I was captured by the story line and the characters.
I liked the detective inspector Marlin for her insightful policing, her dealing with her own struggles, and her tenacity when working on an investigation. She's an excellent detective. But in a way, I also liked Rachel, a completely unlikable person and mother figure, but the author did a terrific job of making Rachel real. You can feel the power she has over her sons and their families....quite a frightening and complex person.
Lisa reads with expression and clarity. She makes the characters individual and she really brings acting into the story giving the listener a way into the visual aspects of it.
I'm no good at tag lines at all, but I suppose one could be: A gripping mystery tears apart a town and a family.
This was a very visual book, full of excellent description of both characters and landscape. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will look for others by Kallentoft.
Against a backdrop of a very cold Swedish winter, a bizare murder is investigated by detective Malin Fors, a single mother trying to balance a hectic professional life with home life. She is a convincing character, fallible and full of worries about work, lovelife, her daughter and the choices she has made. More of a police procedural than thriller, Kallentoft delves into the human bonds that define our existense with a dark, bleak, meandering style that may not be everyone's cup of tea. This story really is just as a much about the telling as the tale being told and if you are looking for a fast-paced thriller then this will be frustrating. The narration suits this darkness very well. And although I normally dislike the trick of the dead victim taking over parts of the narration, the narration of the victims words by another narrator is spot on.
I was taken quite by surprise at the beautiful writing style and having just said how I enjoyed the narration, I do think I might read the next novel just so that I can savour the beautifully written prose. Am looking forward to finding out how things progress with Malin Fors and maybe after reading the second novel, I'll be back for a listen to the the third!
I didn't like this book at all. A pet hate of mine is when the female narrators try to deepen their voices to read any male narration! It sounds so unnatural. I really didn't like the dead body talking... it was freaky!
Worth a try as they were on sale and I have found so many Scandinavian Authors and books to be excellent, so was bound to get one i didn't like at some point.
"So slow I gave up"
The description sounded great and I love crime / detective thrillers... However, I couldn't really get into this as the plot is so slow and the characters don't really come to life. There's much better Scandi detective thrillers out there.
I chose this Scandinavian thriller because I have enjoyed other similar titles. It only goes to show how important it is to have a narrator who differentiates the various characters and has light and shade in her voice. This narrator has a monotone delivery which detracts from the story. What a shame!
"Pretentious & contrived"
Bought this as I've read, listened to and really enjoyed a lot of scandanavian detective fiction and I was sorely disappointed in the book & the reading. The narrator's voice is pleasant enough, though she takes a deep breath before she pronounces Swedish place names, what I really object to in the reading is the gimmicky use of tinny 'down the line' telephone effects. In the book the main character is manipulative, controlling and I don't know if I'm more concerned that the author is male & he thinks this is how real women think & behave or if the author is female & thinks this is normal. The corpse talks. I persisted in the hope that the book might reach a satisfying conclusion but at the point the author critisises american films & pours scorn on the idea that anyone other than an idiot would enjoy the solving of a mystery I started to get a sinking feeling, which was confirmed. It's back to Harlan Coben & Arnaldur Indriadson for me. We miss you Stieg Larsson.
"A decent story, needs some room to breathe."
The story makes good use of the Nordic setting, providing a range of settings for it's events. The 'troubled' family around which much of the plot takes place is a little hackneyed, but suits it's purpose. The Police have their limits as to what they can do, but the resourceful or lucky detective is able to move forward. The voice of the dead man is a device being used more often, but as ever for me, I'm not sure why. A slight change of pace for a moment, yes, but no added enlightenment or plot strand.
Lisa Coleman does well in providing different voices. The (I'm assuming) editing of the narration allows little time to draw breath, which is an increasing fashion. Why can't we have time to take in what is happening or has happened? That's the joy of a book, why can't the pace of the telling allow us the same?
Whilst the story and performance offer positives, the overall experience is not quite at the top.
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