The dedicated work of the police force seems to be leading nowhere, and with each passing day, the likelihood of another murder grows. But then Beck remembers someone - or something - he overheard.
©1996 Random House, Inc.; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Hauntingly effective." (New York Times Book Review)
"These books are cream to crime buffs." (Cosmopolitan)
While not my favorite, all 10 novels in the Sjowall/Wahloo Martin Beck detective series are part of the exceptional ground-breaking evolution of police procedural s. As the current popular authors who do the intros for the audio versions all note, these novels, including The Man on the Balcony grow with time and have influenced and delighted at least two new generations of readers and writers.
The Man on the Balcony may not stand on its own as an exciting or riveting novel, but in the context of the series it carries the main characters forward and supports a unique mood that is hard to characterize in a brief review. There is suspense, but it is muted by the irony, complex protagonist and crew of cronies and coworkers, subtle dialogue, descriptions of the pathetic state of affairs in the Swedish Police Force and society, struggles to find meaning, etc. All in all it is a work of art that may require some time for appreciation.
I can fully understand why another reviewer only gave it one star. It is not surprising, that from the middle of the series, a seemingly weak and anti-climatic ending could be disappointing; actually, it was just part of the beautiful ,sad, sympathetic, unfulfilled, cathartic ‘not with a bang, but a whimper’- like point. One can certainly see many influences, from the detective series side, if you liked the Ed McBain 87th precinct novels, you will probably love this.
Despite his poor work giving voice to the children in the piece, I can't help loving Tom Wiener's voice when he reads these books. There are narrators who simply become the voice of a series for those who hear them, and Wiener is that for the Martin Beck stories. I know he's not everyone's favourite, but there is something in the booze soaked, nicotine gravel of his tone that feels right to me.
Like is probably not the correct word, but what most interested me was the reflection upon attitudes in the 60s to the attitudes today. There are things that happen in the book, decisions that Beck and Kolberg make that -- in the context of a Western nation in the 60s -- completely make sense, but that today would send our young social justice warriors ascreaming. People did things differently back then. There were different priorities, even when it came to crime, and it is a good reminder of where we were and how far we've come.
Again, I don't think I can judge Wiener's narration fairly since I love it so, but if there is anything Wiener excels at, it is his pacing. He is easy to follow, keeps the story rolling, and has a perfect way with moving us through the plot.
There was no extreme reaction from me, but more a slow nod of satisfaction.
This is a fascinating entry in the Martin Beck books, but if you've not read the first two before you find yourself here, stop! Stop and go back to Roseanna. Then you will be where you want to be, and when you reach here you will have a greater appreciation for the story.
The entir book
Tom Weiner gets you into the story, and keeps you there. He is a gifted
This book began interestingly enough, with detailed information about all the characters which was unnecessary due to the fact that the ending of the book answered no questions about any of the character information given and was anticlimatic. I thought that the ending was going to be great and as drawn out as the rest of the book, but BOOM! It was over....just like that. Is there a sequel? Is there something I'm missing here?
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