Synopses & Reviews
After successfully — but bloodily — dismantling a complicated hostage situation at a bank in the suburbs of Stockholm, Detective Paul Hjelm is faced with the requisite investigation by Internal Affairs. It is a potentially career-ending inquiry, but he is plucked out of it by the National Criminal Police commissioner, who drops him into an elite task force of officers assembled from across the country to find an elusive killer with a sophisticated modus operandi and even more sophisticated tastes.
Targeting Sweden’s high-profile business leaders, the killer breaks into their homes at night, waits for his victims, places two bullets in their heads with deadly precision, and removes the bullets from the walls — a ritual enacted to a rare bootleg recording of Thelonious Monk’s jazz classic “Misterioso.”
As Hjelm, his young, doggedly energetic partner, Jorge Chavez, and the rest of the team follow one lead after another in their pursuit — navigating the murky underworlds of the Russian Mafia and the secretive members-only society of Sweden’s wealthiest denizens — they must also delve into one of the country’s most persistent ills: a deep-rooted xenophobia that affects both the police and the perpetrator in a small nation that is becoming rapidly internationalized.
The first novel in Arne Dahl’s gripping Intercrime series — widely considered to be one of Sweden’s best — Misterioso is a penetrating, dark, and absorbing introduction to this acclaimed author’s world.
"Originally published in Sweden in 1999, the first in Dahl's acclaimed Intercrime trilogy focuses on the A-Unit, a freshly formed elite team of six mavericks and misfits from various police units. Typical is Paul Hjelm, who was about to lose his job for the unorthodox handling of a hostage situation. The author artfully fills in the disparate backgrounds of the other four men and one woman, each of whom emerges as a substantial, nuanced character. Plot, though, is not Dahl's strong suit. A less than compelling story line, full of Stockholm street names, leaves the reader floundering in clueless murders for too long, burdened with extended lists of possibilities that don't pan out and a lot of talk about corporations and their board members, some of whom are thought to be possible targets of the media-dubbed 'Power Murderer.' Eventually, clues come pouring in and the pace picks up. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A truly fine crime novel." The Advocate
"[A] superb police procedural....Dahl has created a brilliant character and a terrific story, and should that not be enough, this is a classic cop-shop tale of the old school." The Globe and Mail
"Arne Dahl's Misterioso is an endearingly dour procedural....[The] existential brooding is very much part of the novel's charm...most of the fun of Misterioso comes from the follow-the-power, follow-the-money games played by Hjelm and his associates. And while Dahl clearly sees detective fiction as having the ability to tackle hard-hitting issues of the day, the mystery's solution isn't lacking in good old-fashioned puzzle intrigue, either." Portland Mercury
"Misterioso is a unique and wonderful book. It is part mystery, part police procedural, part existential philosophy, and part comedy. There is something so distinctive about this book that it resists categorization....There is not a dull moment. It seems like the Scandinavians are having a true renaissance in crime writing and Arne Dahl is right at the top." Mostly Fiction
"Although this is Mankell’s turf, Dahl handles it differently but also very successfully. Mystery devotees who loved Mankell’s Kurt Wallander, and crime fiction ‘lifers’ who still treasure Sjowall’s and Wahloo’s Martin Beck, will want to add Paul Hjelm to their short lists of international favorites." Booklist (starred review)
"An exciting debut....Fans of hard-boiled detective and Swedish novels will enjoy this." Library Journal
"Thoughtfully haunting and sometimes beautifully written, the first of Hjelm’s cases to be translated into English is likely to resonate with readers of the Stieg Larsson trilogy." Kirkus (starred review)
"This is, without a doubt, one of the best Swedish crime novels of the year; well-written...and a chilling blow to the ways of contemporary society." Götesborgs-Posten
"Misterioso is a detective story you have to read; as a debut novel it couldn’t be better." Xzine
Following a complicated but successful dismantling of a hostage situation, Detective Paul Hjelm is facing the prospect of a potentially career-ending investigation by Internal Affairs. Instead, he finds himself dropped into a new elite team of officers selected from across the country, whose mission is to find an elusive killer who has been targeting Sweden’s business leaders. The killer’s modus operandi: two distinctive shots straight through the head, bullets carefully pulled from the wall — a nighttime ritual enacted with Thelonius Monk’s jazz classic Misterioso
playing in the background.
As Hjelm, his young partner Jorge Chavez, and the rest of the team follow one lead after another in a frantic search for the killer — navigating the murky world of the Russian Mafia and the secret societies of Sweden’s wealthiest citizens — they must also face one of Sweden’s most persistent ills: a deep-rooted xenophobia that affects both police and perpetrator.
Written with great energy, penetrating candor, and dark wit, and populated with characters whose motivations are as nuanced as they are unexpected, Misterioso is an utterly absorbing novel — an arresting introduction to this acclaimed author.
About the Author
Arne Dahl is an award-winning crime novelist and literary critic. He lives in Sweden.