The acclaimed author of the Kurt Wallander mysteries, writing at the height of his powers, now gives us an electrifying stand-alone global thriller.
January 2006. In the Swedish hamlet of Hesjvallen, nineteen people have been massacred. The only clue is a red ribbon found at the scene.
Judge Birgitta Roslin has particular reason to be shocked: Her grandparents, the Andrns, are among the victims, and Birgitta soon learns that an Andrn family in Nevada has also been murdered. She then discovers the 19th-century diary of an Andrn ancestora gang master on the American transcontinental railwaythat describes brutal treatment of Chinese slave workers. The police insist that only a lunatic could have committed the Hesjvallen murders, but Birgitta is determined to uncover what she now suspects is a more complicated truth.
The investigation leads to the highest echelons of power in present-day Beijing, and to Zimbabwe and Mozambique. But the narrative also takes us back 150 years into the depths of the slave trade between China and the United Statesa history that will ensnare Birgitta as she draws ever closer to solving the Hesjvallen murders.
©2010 Henning Mankell; (P)2010 Random House
This wasn't bad, it wasn't great either. It is written in the typical Swedish style, very precise and tight. However, so many individuals are introduced and the author goes into such detail on so many people that I mistakenly thought several were going to play a greater role in the book. The detective, Vivi, for example. We go into surprising depth on characters that end up playing very minor roles. There are also too many settings. We bounce from rural Sweden to urban Sweden, Beijing to Reno, Nevada to Denmark, back to Beijing then off to two different African countries. It was just too big a bite to take. This could have been a great book if it was scaled back, both in characters and locations. Also, much is made of the mugging in Beijing, but not really resolved.
Avoid this and read something else by Mankell. This book is a loose collection of stories that meanders and bores. Save your time and money read something else.
I rarely rate a book with 5 stars. This one is an exception. A history novel of USA, Sweden, and China to the present. Just proves again that greed,man's inhumanity to man,politics,family, and the law make a great novel.
.I kept waiting for it to get better. Just when there should have been a climatic crescendo nothing more than a ho hum yawn occurred. The story premise is intriguing but never really got my attention. I'm looking forward to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
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