Synopses & Reviews
The new thriller from the internationally bestselling author of the Kurt Wallander mystery series.
"It would be nearly two hours before he died. As if in a borderland of horror between the nagging pain and the hopeless will to live, he was taken back in time, to the occasion when he engaged the fate that had now caught up with him."
December 12, 1945. Nazi Germany lies in ruins as a British warplane lands in Buckeburg. A man carrying a small black bag quickly disembarks and travels to Hameln, where he disappears behind the prison gates. Early the next day, nine male and three female war criminals are hanged.
Fifty-four years later, retired policeman Herbert Molin is found brutally slaughtered on his remote farm in Härjedalen, Sweden. At the murder scene, the police discover strange tracks in the blood on the floor...as if someone had been practicing the tango.
Stefan Lindman, a young police officer on extended sick leave, hears about the murder of his former colleague and decides to investigate it himself. Lindman's inquiry becomes increasingly complex and dangerous as he uncovers the links between Herbert Molin's death and a global web of neo-Nazi activity.
"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.)
"With its expansive time frame and meticulous procedural details, the story (as translated by Laurie Thompson) has a density that demands and rewards intellectual involvement." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"While some over-the-top plotting keeps this series debut a notch below Mankell's best, his audience will surely approve the new guy too heartily to inflict a serious hit." Kirkus Reviews
"Mankell tells somber, deeply pessimistic stories about widespread hatred lurking below the multicultural surface, but at the same time, he never fails to find a rich vein of humanity deep within the perpetually furrowed brows of his troubled cops." Bill Ott, Booklist
"Mankell could turn you to crime." The Daily Telegraph (London)
"Mankell is one of the most ingenious crime writers around." The Observer (U.K.)
"Mankell is in the first division of crime writing." The Times (London)
"Better than all the Wallander novels, and that is certainly something." Aftonbladet
This is the new thriller from the internationally bestselling author of the Kurt Wallander mysteries.
About the Author
Internationally acclaimed author Henning Mankell has written 33 novels, including nine Kurt Wallander mysteries. He has also published novels for children and teens, and is one of Sweden's most popular dramatists. Born in 1948, Mankell grew up in the Swedish village Sveg. He now divides his time between Sweden and Maputo, Mozambique, where he works as a director at Teatro Avenida.
Laurie Thompson lives in Wales and has translated fifteen books from Swedish.