Saturday, June 30, 2007

Faceless Killer by Henning Mankell

Title: Faceless Killers
Author: Henning Mankell

Translated by: Steven T. Murray

ISBN # 0099445220

Publisher: Vintage

First Published: 1991

298 pages

Format: Paperback

Rating: 7/10

One frozen January Morning at
5 am, Inspector Wallander responds to what he expects is a routine call out. When he reaches the isolated farmhouse he discovers a bloodbath. An old man has been tortured and beaten to death, his wife lies barely alive beside his shattered body, victims of violence beyond reason. The woman supplies Wallander with his only clue: the perpetrators may have been foreign. When this is leaked to the press, racial hatred is unleashed. Kurt Wallander is a senior police officer at Ystad, a small town in the wind-lashed Swedish province of Skane. His life is a shambles. His wife has left him, his daughter refuses to speak to him, even his ageing father barely tolerates him. He works tirelessly, eats badly and drinks the nights away in a lonely, neglected flat. But now winter closes its grip on Ystad, and Wallander, his tenacious efforts closely monitored by the tough minded (and disarmingly attractive) district attorney Anette Brolin, must forget his trouble, and throw himself into a battle against time and xenophobia.

This one seemed to move at quite a sedate pace, but strangely I didn't actually mind, as the writing is so very fine and the characters and situation very real.

I could easily identify with Wallander and his problematic personal life and I enjoyed joining him in his investigations. There are red herrings and clues dotted about the place in a seemingly random order, with loose threads all over the place, but that is exactly what gives this its realism. It all comes together very quickly near the end, but in a way that feels very satisfying.


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