Fascinating and astute, Sidetracked is a compelling mystery enhanced by keen social awareness.
More mayhem? Listen to all of our Kurt Wallander mysteries.
©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)
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.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
I have watched some of the BBC series based on these books, but this was my first "reading" of one. The TV version is bleak indeed, and Sweden is portrayed as a really depressing place.
I found the listening experience to be more balanced. Because the book is not so entirely focused on Wallander and his demons, it presents a wider view entirely. The detective's frequent depression isn't so much the crux of the story as an intricate part of the puzzle.
"Sidetracked" is a great thriller. We know who the perpetrator is from nearly the beginning, so this is more a police procedural than a mystery. But it's also a really good study about the psychology and humanity of a seeming monster. It has really intense violence, but it also has great suspense, an interesting and varied cast of characters, and terrific writing.
Dick Hill narrates beautifully.
I'll seek out other listens in this series.
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.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
My impressions are mixed. It is a good story which is well told. While listening I was tempted several times to quit due to boredom. The plot simply moves too slowly. The issue was not the narration although Dick Hill was clearly not at his best. There is too much navel gazing by the author, too many words. I am torn between 3 stars and 4 stars. The last 90 minutes of the audiobook when the pace quickened caused me to rate the novel 4 stars. The finish is strong.
I can finally see why Stieg Larsson says he was influenced by Mankell. This one is dark, violent and sad. Det. Wallender is vaguely pursuing the suicide of a 17-year-old girl who set herself on fire when another case takes precedence involving a serial killer who scalps victims. An anger at social inequality permeates the book. Bechdel test: Barely passed. Grade: A-
Excellent narration by Dick Hill. I’m so glad he narrates the Wallender books. He captures well the angst of the characters.
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!
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
I'll not get another Kurt Wallander mystery… for a while, anyway. Everything about this book is competent. So competent that Henning Manekell and Dick Hill bring Wallander alive. And I don't like him much. As usual with northern Europe mysteries, there's a darkness poured over everything that's deeper and longer than a Swedish winter night. It seems to be a rule for these authors. That's not the problem. The thing is that making Wallander so human, he becomes a boring kind of human who I'd not even want to chat up at a cocktail party. I picture his skin, conversations, and feelings all in chilly shades of grey-blue. The story isn't boring, it's lead character though…
I gave the book four stars.. yet can't recommend it.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
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.
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!
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