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Sidetracked (Kurt Wallander #5)

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,963 Ratings  ·  578 Reviews
Fourth in the Kurt Wallander series.

In the award-winning Sidetracked, Kurt Wallander is called to a nearby rapeseed field where a teenage girl has been loitering all day long. He arrives just in time to watch her douse herself in gasoline and set herself aflame. The next day he is called to a beach where Sweden’s former Minister of Justice has been axed to death and scalpe
Paperback, 432 pages
Published May 13th 2003 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sometimes when you discover a new author -- even when your first exposure to their books doesn't blow your mind -- you see the promise of something fantastic, and you keep reading.

I've been reading many authors with that goal in mind: Ian Rankin (for the last few months) and Stephen King (for most of my life, with perpetual disappointment) and Nick Hornby (for a decade and a half) and Philip Palmer (for a couple of years) and Miriam Toews (since last summer). Only one of those authors has deliv
Apr 13, 2014 Harry rated it it was amazing
Book Review

We all get sidetracked, it's a human condition and a decidedly reactive one. The looming question, of course, is: sidetracked from what? Mankell asks this question in this, his 5th in the Wallander series. The subject is Kurt Wallander. Kurt's goal is to capture a heineous serial killer on the loose in Ystad, Sweden. This is his job as a police officer. For most writers this is enough to confidently concoct a plot that would satisfy most crime readers, but not for Mankell. In the trad
Mr. Gottshalk
May 17, 2015 Mr. Gottshalk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deceptively long at 350 pages with a small font, the terrific detective saga took longer than I thought, but satisfied throughout. What I like the most about Wallander is that he is very human, and not just another cop on a case. We can relate to the complexities of his personal life, while at the same time follow his brilliant and sometimes hard-luck scramble to find a psychopath. I am now officially a fan of the Kurt Wallander series. Although the Swedish characters and settings are a mouthful ...more
Apr 12, 2008 Agnieszka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
This has been my first book by Mankell and there is going to be more. Not only because I love crime novels, but also because the book was simlpy a great page-turner, one-day read. I could not stop: eating, drinking, sleeping were not the part of my daily routine any more.

Inspector Wallander makes mistakes, gets sidetracked and so what? This only adds excitement to the story even more so as there is a mad serial killer at large. As I believe telling a plot of a detective story spoils the whole f
Jan 20, 2010 Briana rated it liked it
This was the very first Wallander book I ever read. While it started out rather gripping (any time a person lights themselves on fire in the middle of an open field, you have my attention) but I felt that it got a tiny bit slow, just as all the Wallander books do. I mean, most of them are pretty straight forward police procedurals. To be quite honest, the only reason that I keep coming back to Henning Mankell's stories is because I like Kurt Wallander so much. The stories themselves don't seem t ...more
Oct 15, 2011 Dorothy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of police procedurals and of Swedish mysteries
Reading this book, I found myself really wishing that Inspector Kurt Wallander would get some professional help. The man is so depressed that it makes me depressed just to read about him.

Not that he doesn't have plenty of reason to be depressed. His personal life is a mess. He's still grieving for and missing his friend and mentor who died years before. He feels inadequate in his work and there are other stresses in his job as his department faces a budget crunch and possible staff reductions. T
Apr 30, 2016 Donna rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
This is my first novel by Henning Mankell. He's a Swedish author, so I expected a little more cultural inserts, but there didn't seem to be any. But in spite of that, I liked this. It felt well thought out and I was glued to it. It wasn't a whodunit, because that was revealed early on. But it was about connecting recent deaths in the area, that seemed unrelated.

The characters were great too. I did the audio and Dick Hill did a great job with the narration and I think that helped with my impress
Τι κοινό μπορεί να έχει ο Γκίστοφ Βέτερστεντ, ένας πρώην υπουργός Δικαιοσύνης, ο Άρνε Κάρλμαν, ένας έμπορος έργων τέχνης, ο Μπγερν Φρέντμαν, ένας κλεπταποδόχος και ο Όκε Λίλιεγκρεν, ένας οικονομικός απατεώνας; Πέραν του γεγονότος ότι βρίσκονται δολοφονημένοι από τσεκούρι και χωρίς σκαλπ... Το αστυνομικό τμήμα του Ίσταντ, με επικεφαλής τον Κουρτ Βαλάντερ έρχεται να δώσει απαντήσεις. Η πορεία των ερευνών δε βαδίζει όπως θα έπρεπε καθώς το ένα χτύπημα ακολουθεί το άλλο. Έχουν να κάνουν με έναν seri ...more
Bill Krieger
Jun 28, 2012 Bill Krieger rated it really liked it
This is an outstanding read: smart and funny. It's as good a Wallander book as I've read. Wallander is his old self-deprecating, frazzled self. He's worried about his daughter and his Latvian girlfriend and Sweden's decline and, oh yeah, there's a serial killer loose in Ystad. And Wallander has to catch him before European summer holiday.

This intense focus on "holiday" was odd. I couldn't tell if Mankell was making fun of it, or just reflecting the reality of living in Sweden. I mean, Wallander
Michele Weiner
Feb 28, 2010 Michele Weiner rated it really liked it
I started out praising this series because it was gentle, like Agatha Christie. But it didn't last. Kurt Wallander ran into his first serial killer, and boy was he crazy. In this book, I couldn't help but notice that many Swedish men pee outdoors. You need to make an appointment to do your laundry in an apartment building. And did you know that Swedes eat pea soup on Thursdays? Ah well. Sweden is disintegrating despite their best effort to build a kinder and gentler nation --a perfect nation as ...more
Feb 18, 2009 Keonaona rated it liked it
I had heard about Henning Mankell's Wallander series, but it wasn't until I saw a BBC miniseries (with Kenneth Branagh as Wallander) based on three of the later novels that I decided to start reading the series from the beginning.

The first episode I saw was based on Sidetracked, so this is the first time where I knew the entire story before I started reading the book. Yet the book and film have significant differences, and I see how what are ultimately different storylines work for their medium.
Oct 08, 2008 Ed rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Detective literature fans.
Recommended to Ed by: John Gregory
This offering by Swedish author, Henning Mankell, featuring Inspector Kurt Wallander, is difficult to categorize.

Is it a Mystery? It's mysterious in the sense that there are many surprises along the way but it's not really a classic Mystery because reader knows who the killer is long before Wallander does.

Is it a Police Procedural? Sort of since the reader is privy to how the police go about their work but only to highlight Wallander's thinking.

Is it a Thriller? Wallander is targeted by the kil
Mar 07, 2009 Kathleen rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I'll have to agree with the Guardian reviewer who said that Henning Mankell is Sweden's greatest export since flatpack furniture. Currently, my grading numbed brain can exclusively handle murder mysteries, and Henning Mankell is one of my favorites of this genre. Inspector Kurt Wallender is so very human -- he struggles with his weight and drinks a little too much, he neglects to wash his dishes and worries about his adult daughter, Linda. But in his slow, plodding way, he puts his insights to w ...more
Jan 20, 2013 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-suecia
Esta série é daquelas que se aprende a gostar.
No primeiro livro que li – “Assassino sem rosto” – detestei Kurt Wallander, o dectetive e personagem principal. Dei-lhe um segunda oportunidade graças a uma amiga que o adora e recomenda. Em boa hora o fiz. Hoje, quase ouso dizer que não gostei dele por ser uma personagem demasiado humana...
Em cada romance Henning Mankell foca uma determinada situação, muitas vezes aparentemente enfadonha, de uma forma que nos cativa e envolve.
Este é o quinto da sé
Aug 09, 2012 AC rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
This is an excellent Wallender book, very carefully and intricately constructed. That the book works so well is quite a feat since there is no mystery as to who the murderer is. Mankell avoids melodrama, even when the opportunity offered itself, and continues to develop and deepen several key characters. He is a patient writter, and 420 pages is a lot to ask for from a reader of genre - hence, the missing star. But my interest never flagged. Mankell fans should appreciate this one, if approached ...more
Apr 19, 2015 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
My favorite Wallander book so far in the series. Mankell touches on human trafficking but it doesn't overwhelm the book like his forays into other social ills have done in previous books. This is mostly a Wallander story. He is still unsure of himself (and his car license, and his laundry) but obviously in full police mode throughout. He's even nice to his father. There is something missing here that I've come to expect, though. The scenery isn't dreary winter, it's summer holiday. The police ev ...more
This one felt a little phoned-in, plot and character-wise. Also, it was summer in Ystad, and I missed the cold, windy, dreary, dark Skånean winters of earlier books. Third, I'm not a fan of introducing the killer at the outset (though his identity isn't revealed until halfway through). It dissipates rather than enhances the drama. The only mystery was whether the killer would come after Kurt and Linda.

The third star is because I enjoy reading about Wallander's laundry dilemmas.
Sep 08, 2015 Inês rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Depois de um livro anterior menos conseguido, o detective Wallander regressa no seu melhor. Adorei.
Thomas Strömquist
Following the poor #4, where Wallander got involved in South African politics (yes, really!) and the abysmal #5, where he faced off with a Skåne super-villain (don't ask...) he in book #6 is confronted with a serial killer (...)

To my surprise and joy, Mankell pulled this one off quite nicely and it is a enjoyable police story that I recommend to fans of such.
Joe  Noir
Jan 27, 2015 Joe Noir rated it really liked it
This was my first Mankell novel. It will definitely not be my last. I enjoyed this book.

A beautiful young girl commits suicide directly in front of Wallander.

Someone is killing men with an axe, and scalping them.

Wallander is a fascinating character who has moments of depression, makes mistakes, and he has hunches that don’t pan out. He spends more time thinking things over and discussing them with his team than other mystery novel protagonist. He is compassionate and tries to be kind to people.
Jul 28, 2015 Babete rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um policial forte!

(Feira do Livro 2015)
I've been reading Henning Mankell's Wallander series since I picked up The Return of the Dancing Master at an airport. I like the dry, serious, battle-scarred detective who is bewildered by an increasingly unfamiliar Sweden where bad things, really bad things, can happen. His uneasy personal relationships provide an interesting dimension to his personality. I particularly like the portrayal of his feelings about his father and his daughter - one turning back into a child, and the other growing i ...more
Jun 09, 2012 Eugene rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
I began reading Sidetracked after we had started watching the British television productions of Mankell's Wallander books, with which I immediately connected. Wallander is a skilled detective but less skilled at managing his life. He struggles with his relationships with his father and his daughter. He's divorced, and during Sidetracked, is more or less in a relationship with a woman living in Latvia whom we never actually meet. Aside from solving murders, he's quite dysfunctional. He can hardly ...more
Hilary G
Having recently said that I didn't like Harry Hole as much as Kurt Wallander, I thought it was only fair to do a closer comparison, so having just read a Jo Nesbo, I read a Henning Mankell. I thought this was necessary because I have watched so much Wallander on TV (the British series with Kenneth Branagh and the even better original series with Krister Henriksson), I could have been influenced and made an unfair comparison. Having read Sidetracked, I am happy to confirm my impression that Walla ...more
Laura Tortorelli
Dec 30, 2011 Laura Tortorelli rated it really liked it
The title doesn't quite make sense with the story -- maybe it has some kind of double meaning in Swedish? -- but it accurately describes my experience of reading this book. I was in the process of reading several other books, as well as, you know, living my life, but I was completely sidetracked from all these other projects in order to read this book as quickly as possible. This was my first Mankell, and it is elegantly done, with a protagonist you don't love or hate, he's just a real guy. This ...more
Nov 15, 2014 S. rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
Suspenseful psychological thriller. The killer is someone to sympathize with, but his deranged recipe for trying to achieve an admirable goal is indeed insane. Still it would have been great if it worked, especially since his victims are hardly people eligible for any nobel-human-being prize. In the second half his choice of victims starts to stray a little off, which jacks up the suspense.
I could have done without the side love story, but I guess the author needs that to keep some strands runn
Sep 23, 2013 Rosa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
El quinto libro de la serie Wallander está a la altura de sus predecesores. Es una historia escalofriante con asesino en serie incluido en la que el lector siempre va por delante del equipo de investigación pero sin tener siempre toda la información. Las pesquisas y los caminos mentales del inspector se exponen con una claridad asombrosa y el conjunto es magnífico. Los fragmentos en los que la narración toma la perspectiva del asesino son un poco turbadores y están muy bien pensados, desvelando ...more
Jan 23, 2015 L rated it it was amazing
I love it when genre authors address contemporary social issues! The mystery does not suffer for the sake of the social relevance, which is worked in, not overplayed. Mankell is subtle and just SO good. And,mixed in with everything else, the book hits a pleasurably dark note. If you haven't read it, you have something to anticipate.
Lars Guthrie
Oct 02, 2009 Lars Guthrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost at the level of numbers two and three, the fifth of the Kurt Wallander series doesn't shift outward as those did (to Latvia and South Africa) but inward on Wallander as he is somewhat successful in overcoming his demons. To me, the villain seemed slightly improbable, but as Kurt keeps pointing out, it's an ugly world out there. Despite that, this one ends on a surprisingly hopeful note. Mankell is just the greatest. I started reading these as a stopgap while waiting for my hold on Stieg L ...more
Sidetracked by Henning Mankell is the fifth book of the Kurt Wallander series set in contemporary Sweden. It's midsummer and the Ystad police are each looking forward to their vacations. But when a serial killer begins a rampage, no one can take time off. They work around the clock to try and stop the killing spree. The first two victims are wealthy, the third is not, and the police try in vain to find a connection linking them. The book is written in thriller form (chapters in the killer's poin ...more
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Henning Mankell 13 76 Apr 15, 2014 03:11PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please combine 3 144 Jul 11, 2012 05:41AM  
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Henning Mankell was an internationally known Swedish crime writer, children's author and playwright. He was best known for his literary character Kurt Wallander.

Mankell split his time between Sweden and Mozambique. He was married to Eva Bergman, Swedish director and daughter of Ingmar Bergman.
More about Henning Mankell...

Other Books in the Series

Kurt Wallander (10 books)
  • Faceless Killers (Wallander #1)
  • The Dogs of Riga (Wallander #2)
  • The White Lioness (Wallander, #3)
  • The Man Who Smiled (Wallander #4)
  • The Fifth Woman (Wallander, #6)
  • One Step Behind (Wallander, #7)
  • Firewall (Wallander, #8)
  • The Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries (Wallander, #9)
  • The Troubled Man (Wallander #10)

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“Among all the nonsense, mistakes, and bad ideas we come up with, maybe some truth will sneak in.” 3 likes
“I will baptise her," he said. "You have walked a long way for something you believe in. In our day that is rare. People seldom walk long distances for their faith. That's why the world looks the way it does.” 0 likes
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