Synopses & Reviews
When retired policeman Herbert Molin is found brutally slaughtered on his remote farm in the northern forests of Sweden, police find strange tracks in the snow — as if someone had been practicing the tango. Stefan Lindman, a young police officer recently diagnosed with mouth cancer, decides to investigate the murder of his former colleague, but is soon enmeshed in a mystifying case with no witnesses and no apparent motives. Terrified of the disease that could take his life, Lindman becomes more and more reckless as he unearths the chilling links between Molin’s death and an underground neo-Nazi network that runs further and deeper than he could ever have imagined.
"Mankell, known in this country for his Kurt Wallander police procedurals (Faceless Killers; The Dogs of Riga), sets this intricate, stand-alone tale of murder and intrigue in the vast pine forests of north-central Sweden. Stefan Lindman, a 37-year-old policeman in the city of Boras, sees his life, both professional and personal, as absolutely ordinary. Then he discovers a strange lump on his tongue; it's cancer, and his life changes dramatically. At the doctor's office he picks up a discarded newspaper and reads that former colleague Herbert Molin has been murdered in the northern forests. Because Lindman needs to take his mind off his upcoming cancer treatment, he decides to investigate Molin's death. As the details of the crime come to light, Lindman realizes he never knew the real Molin. The plot involves the secret world of Nazis, both past and present. The prose can be cold and spare, at least in translation: 'There was a smell of paint in the house. All the lights were on. Lindman had to bow his head when he entered through the door.' The unrelenting Lindman turns out to be an innovative investigator, though those seeking fast-paced action rather than meticulous introspection will be disappointed. Secrets are slowly and methodically teased from the evidence, and by the satisfying end readers with a taste for the unusual will find Lindman, and the mystery he solves, not in the least bit ordinary. (Mar.)Forecast:While Mankell's books are big sellers all over the world, Americans seem to have a problem with the austere qualities of his prose and his heroes, and the rather bleak atmosphere that pervades much of his work. Those qualities, plus the hero's depression over his cancer, are much in evidence here and will likely keep numbers down." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Mankell weaves a mournful spell through all his mysteries by adopting a calm, dispassionate tone that artfully underlines an abiding humanism for psychic as well as physical suffering." The Boston Globe
"Spellbinding...Mankell fascinates." Los Angeles Times
"The pressure mounts, with unpredictable dead-ends and beguiling about-turns. The uncertainty makes the reader alert to every nuance, suspicious of everyone....Mankell [is] the Nordic king of European thriller writers." The Observer(London)
"Gruesome enough to satisfy any gore-loving mystery reader." The New York Times
"[Mankell] is an expert at writing about logical action and reactions....Nothing can spoil the enjoyment of this superbly crafted mystery." Orlando Sentinel
About the Author
Internationally acclaimed author Henning Mankell has written numerous Kurt Wallander mysteries. The books have been published in thirty-three countries and consistently top the bestseller lists in Europe, receiving major literary prizes (including the UK’s Golden Dagger Award in 2000) and generating numerous international film and television adaptations. Born in a village in northern Sweden in 1948, Mankell divides his time between Sweden and Maputo, Mozambique, where he works as the director of Teatro Avenida.