Fascinating and astute, Sidetracked is a compelling mystery enhanced by keen social awareness.
©1995 by Henning Mankell; English translation ©1999 by Steven T. Murray; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Connoisseurs of the police procedural will tear into this installment like the seven-course banquet it is." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Full of emotion yet cleanly written, apparently straightforward yet fraught with intriguing revelations, Mankell's latest mystery is strongly recommended." (Library Journal)
"Mankell's meticulously detailed descriptions of the inspector's investigation, and his often lyrical portrayal of Wallander's struggle to rearrange his thought processes in order to catch the criminal, are masterful." (Publishers Weekly)
Daily Dog Walker and LONG Silicon Valley commutes, so I gulp through and love lotsa books, especially literary fiction and Mystery.
I've read and listened to Mankell's Wallander novels entirely out of order now but it hasn't mattered one bit. Each book is a novel unto itself, and almost each one bears the reader on a journey into real dimensions of human struggle -- whether the protagonists, the antagonists or the supporting characters or all of the aforementioned.
Sidetracked is one of my favorites, I'd almost encourage someone who hasn't read Mankell to read this one or "The Fifth Woman" first -- both are so resonant. Two of the earlier books -- "The Dogs of Riga" and "White Lioness" are very good, but not superb. This one -- is superb. This novel, like "The Fifth Woman" takes what on surface could be an utterly implausible series of horrendous murders and makes the murderer sympathetic or compelling while giving the reader a fully-realized, flawed but deeply sympathetic policeman and his family-- his daughter, his father -- but also his police family who become important and endearing as well.
I feel like I've become the Chief Member of the Henning Mankell Fan Club but in my mind this series encapsules what great books are -- riveting, but memorable, fully-realized characters, books that make you think, and think, and think some more. I've said in previous reviews that these novels transcend genre writing, and they do. For those who love police procedurals, these are among the best; for those who love literary fiction, these again, are among the best.
I like the Swedish author Mankell quite a bit, although I have to take a break between books, as I always do with serials. The story plays in a "real time" sense, sharing with the reader the frustration of a complicated crime investigation. With Wallander (protagonist) you ask yourself, why would anyone want the job of the underpaid, overworked, not really appreciated outside the office guy? Then you get your answer played out in a suspenseful, provoking, well written, and lots of other good adjectives, story. I'm a pretty picky mystery book reader/listener, and the book is well-tooled enough to get five golden stars....if you like police procedurals.
This is my third Mankell mystery and I have to confess that I am pretty much addicted. Sure, some things don't make sense in the end and you have to suspend disbelief here and there, but even so, you can't stop listening and I sat in my car more that once not wanting to turn off the story and get out, I just had to find out what happened next! I love the brooding self-reflective characters and its obvious that Steig Larson is a knock off of Mankell only more gruesome. Dick Hill has a rather monotone voice and it can be a little weird in the begining, but after a bit you don't react to it. I just downloaded my next Mankell mystery, I want to hear more!
This is another great story about a very depressive detective. Unfortunately, Dick Hill seems to be the narrator for all of the Wallander novels. He's fine when speaking like a real man, but he slips so easily into an infantile, nasal voice when speaking for just about everyone except Kurt Wallander, which ruins them as real characters. His female impersonations are a joke for the same reason. I'm afraid I'm going to have to default to the written word for the most recent four books in the series. I can't stand Hill any more!
I love this author, love his "lawman". This book is as great as all the others. Great plot, great characters. Once I start a Mankell I can't stop until done. Love them all!
The mix of crime&politics&skin business story somehow didn't catch my attention. You can easily FF without loosing a context, narration seems too pathetic, detective Wallander's indecisiveness in his personal life is frustrating and not very believable. After listening to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I was hoping to get similar 'Nordic' experience here, but I was disappointed.
This is one of the first in the series and I liked it much better than the later ones. This one was much more up beat and you didn't feel like he had to drag himself where ever he needed to go.
This review could actually apply to any of the Wallander novels read by Dick Hill. First, I would say that, being a Brit, I tend to prefer a British narrator for British and non-US novels. It's not a prejudice, and it certainly doesn't always apply. It's just what I'm used to, I suppose.
Dick Hill is exceptional. I have to say that sometimes I find his pronunciation a bit odd; for example, "calm" is pronounced to rhyme with "comb." However, that's a trivial point. His performance is outstanding. He reads at exactly the right pace, capturing the mood of the story and the idiosyncrasies of the characters without flaw. I look forward to more of his performances.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.
I listened to this book over a period of three months. There was never any question of not finishing it, but I found it really easy to set it aside for something more compelling and come back to it only when I had a lull in my listening menu. This despite the fact that the lead detective in the case struggles with his constant dread of failing to solve the crimes before another diabolical murder is committed. Perhaps because we are clued in to the identity and agenda of the killer quite early on and allowed some measure of sympathy for him (there is never any question of its being a female), I never shared Wallander's angst about the case. As a result, it was easy to maintain some distance and simply wander along with Mankell's characteristically expert storytelling-- measured and filled with mundane but telling detail. As always, his characters were superbly drawn in a myriad of evocative and beautifully observed moments, and the crimes involved were grisly and fascinating. But there was simply nothing gripping about the progression of the storyline--at least for me.
In addition, the singsong, somewhat monotonous vocal inflection which Dick Hill uses for the narration, while not entirely inappropriate to the Swedish setting, also made it easier to walk away from the story and take a prolonged break from time to time.
If you are an admirer of Mankell's writing, you will not regret using a credit for this installment of the Wallander series, but you may find that in this one you are more involved with the detective's relationships with his family than with the apprehension of the killer.
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