After listening to a more current Kurt Wallander mystery, I bought this with the intent to start this series from the beginning. I have been going th..Show More »rough "Harry Bosch withdrawl" and Wallander has become a great addition as a very enjoyable detective series for me. I find Wallender different from Bosch; he is a little easier to relate to as a real person with real life issues and daily problems. He does not solve this crime brilliantly, but rather with hard work, capable help from his colleagues (which added even more interesting characters to get to know,) trial and error, but, of course, with a true talent as a detective.
The mystery was great, and had no "first book" feel to it. Some writers truly evolve in their writing skills, to the point that the earlier books are not as well written as the later ones, but none of that here. Menkell started with a bang! The plot was complex, interesting, and suspenseful. I really wanted to keep listening to it, even when I had to turn it off.
Unlike many detective mysteries, where the reader is introduced to potential killers in some fashion before the end of the book, Menkell kept us as much in the dark as to the killer(s)' identitiy as Wallander, which gave me the feeling that I was working right along with Wallander as to what to do next, and really brought me into the story.
I like Dick Hill, and I enjoyed him here. I prefer a narrator who puts some drama into the reading of a book, yet I did not think he went over the top. I found him very easy to listen to, and to also keep the voices of the characters distinct from one another. All-in-all it was very enjoyable, authentic, and I definitely plan to read more of the Wallander series.
My interest was piqued when I read on the audible just released lists about Swedish author Henning Mankell. I read the publisher's summary and though..Show More »t they looked interesting. I'd never read a Swedish author before, that I know of anyway, and thought why not give it a try. I've always found the Baltic history intriguing so decided to give Dogs of Riga a try as my first one. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and getting to know Kurt Wallander. It was a fun listen with with plenty of plot twists and turns. Henning writes a good story. I enjoyed hearing the descriptions of life in both Sweden and Latvia. You wonder sometimes what the citizens of both countries think about life there and it appears to have its challenges. I will look forward to listening to the other Mankell books on Audible.
What a great book. The story is well constructed and is arranged against a backdrop of the political landscape of South Africa in 1990's. What a fant..Show More »astic detective story. Cannot wait to hear the next "Kurt Volander" story.
I feel like I've just finished an Henning Mankell trilogy; Dogs of Riga, White Lioness, and now The Man Who Smiled. I must admit I enjoyed them all. ..Show More » I guess now I"ll have to go back to his first book and then hope that the later Wallander stories show up on Audible. In Man Who Smiled, the author again delves into the human side of Kurt Wallander and he has many of the same feelings we all do, at least I know I do. I always thought the weather in Sweden would suck and in reading these books that's affirmed unless you like living somewhere where it's foggy, rainy, cold a good portion of the time. The mystery flows pretty well, too, sometimes it seems the story moves slowly as the investigation plays out but Mankell does make the story interesting. Sometimes you think what is Kurt Wallander doing but it does make for an interesting tale.
What I love about Mankell's characters is their depth. I never wonder why someone behaves the way they do - their actions arise from the sense of real..Show More » personality that Mankell endows them with.
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 ..Show More »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 often expect to be entertained with a good mystery, but my expectations save for a handful of writers usually end right there. This is my first Man..Show More »kell novel, and I'm savoring the prospect of now reading more.
The book is atmospheric and touching, the plotting deft and this is no mean task since lesser writers would have held the reader captive with the gruesome and grisly torture and carnage that send the book's protagonist on his detecting mission.
The character development is superb, this book transcends the genre classification of "mystery" and is, rather, a novel and a fine one in the best sense of the word.
The narration was also strong, and in the end the book made me reflect, gave me pleasure in describing landscape, a father-son relationship, and police team relationships, and finally entertained, I could not stop listening. An excellent read, I look forward to making up for last Mankell time now!
This was my first listen to a Kurt Wallender mystery, and I enjoyed it so much that I will now be going back and getting them from the beginning. Man..Show More »kell does a fantastic job with character development, and the reader is really brought into the personal side of all the characters, especially Wallender. The one thing that distinguishes his mystery writing about a police investigation is that he makes it real. There is no sugar coating on the talents of the investigators. They make mistakes, they struggle with dead ends, they break down with fatique and personal issues. They are human. It's great to read about the "cowboy" cops such as Harry Bosch or the super-human heroes such as Jack Reacher or Mitch Rapp. But is was refreshing to read a story that had such a strong ring of realism. Mankell created a police mystery story with a different kind of view of real crime solving.
I wondered if some of the questionable decisions were intentional, or if Mankell didn't do exhaustive research, or if the Swedish police just aren't as advanced as the US in terms of forensics (for instance, it this book it took a week just to get a ballistics report back!) But, regardless, I had the feeling that I was in an authentic story, with humans who were not only talented, but also not flawless. It had a refreshing air of realism that made me feel that I was truly getting an undistorted picture of how a murder investigation would progress in real life. Mankell makes Wallender humble, and a strong leader, but also shows his human frailties and I came to truly like the character. Also, I love Dick Hill, always have, and he did not disappoint. He is one of my favorite narrators, and did a fantastic job with all the characters. Listening to him is comfortable.
Don't be reluctant to read this book because it is from a foreign author, in a foreign country. With the exception of a few colloquialisms, there was nothing different than would take place in any city in the US.Loved it!
I am a big fan of Henning Mankell. I liked this story but it was not my favorite of his. The story is a typical Mankell crime story with seeming dispa..Show More »rate events that are tied up in the end. The cast of characters continue to be well developed but for some reason I felt like the story was less cohesive than some of his others have been. I will continue to listen to his stories though and would encourage others to give him a try if they haven't already.
I really liked these stories. I agree with the other reviewers who have noted that they provide the early history of Kurt Wallander. The story calle..Show More »d "The Pyramid" is extraordinary. It reminded me of Fellini with the some of the images: his difficult and eccentric father and the latter's trip to Egypt necessitating Wallender to travel there to get him out of jail. Hard to explain unless you've read it, which I encourage you to do.
A troubled, troubling, stirring, well-wrought end to the Wallander cycle that has me wanting to read and listen to all of them again. I discovered th..Show More »is author on Audible and have savored each book. In this last novel, Mankell has succeeded in what so few authors seem to be capable of, closing his series subtly, beautifully, remaining true to his characters and yet also exploring his terrain with wonderful intuition and character insights, keeping the book moving with compelling twists and turns. Mankell has turned the book, Wallander, and the reader all on their heads and has the reader/listerner looking at everything within (the pages, the plot, the life) in a new way-- sad and glorious. How I will miss Wallander, and how grateful I am that I met him and his creator!
It seems a satisfying tradition of Scandinavian detective stories that both the human condition and the individual psyche are examined in them. In th..Show More »e Troubled Man, the plot concerns a disappearance of two people that seems linked to spying dating back to the Cold War. Increasingly emerging from the background is Wallander's attempts to understand what is happening in his body and brain as he ages. He also reflects on the events of his past life and the continuing, in fact growing sadness associated with them. The result is a disquieting meditation on ageing and the fears it evokes within us as well as Henning Mankell's usual compelling storytelling. I find myself continuing to think about this story long after listening to it. The narrator does it full justice.