©2003 Laurie Thompson; (P)2000 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Henning Mankell is as brilliant as ever. The book has deeply flawed characters, a ghastly murder, and a depressed detective. What more could you ask for?
I would recommend this audio book to those of you who love to hear more of a favorite author: Henning Mankell.
The pondering, the internal thinking, the people who are unsure, the forceful people, the quiet, and the detailed problem solving and wallowing.
No, I loved Dick Hill, who narrated many other Mankell books. This narrator was great too, just a bit less character is given to the players.
Great story. In keeping with Mankell's style.
I have just discovered this author and love his work. This is not part of his Wallander series, but I think it has compelling characters nonetheless.
A real disappointment. I finished listening to the whole book but only because I paid for it. Redundant,repetitive chonically of events. Okay, I got it ....don't keep rehashing it. Does NOT compare to Stieg Larsen as noted in some reviews. Characters especially the protagonist are very shallow and Stephan is too self pitying and whining. Not worth your time or money.
I give this novel a second star only because its ending is exciting.
Before that, it is s-l-o-w and depressing and only partly because detective Stefan Lindman has cancer. He is self-involved, treats his faithful girlfriend badly, and, according to the text, has no close friends. Cheerful characters are few and far between. In the one happy marriage portrayed, the spouses live apart. If this is Sweden, it's a gloomy place. The cancer functions as a plot device to account for Lindman missing some obvious clues.
The history portrayed in this book is almost laughably wrong. For example, the author has a Nazi character exclaim, "Those [bleep] socialists!" The author either doesn't know or hopes his readers won't know that "Nazi" is short for "Nationalsozialistische," or National Socialist. He has Swedes going to fight with the Nazis because they oppose Bolshevism -- when the difference is that Bolsheviks were international, not national, socialists. Stalin differed from Hitler mainly in lacking the means to pursue wars of conquest.
One is tempted to believe that the author deliberately distorts history because he also deals in despicable stereotypes. Anyone concerned about unfettered immigration is deemed a racist crypto-Nazi. Never mind that illegal immigrants in Europe largely have the same pale skin as the natives.
A minor annoyance is that the translation is British ("lorries" have "bonnets") but the narrator is American. Thus he pronounces the Brit term for cel phone "mobil," not "mob-eye-l," and a certain measure of distance "kil-oh-ME-ter" instead of "kil-AH-met-er."
The plot was passable enough to keep me listening until I reached that exciting ending. If you don't care to spend hours with a morose protagonist, however, give this novel a pass.
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