Faceless Killers (Kurt Wallander, #1)
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Faceless Killers (Kurt Wallander #1)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  29,104 ratings  ·  1,814 reviews
First in the Kurt Wallander series. Winner of the inaugural Glass Key Award.

It was a senselessly violent crime: on a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse an elderly farmer is bludgeoned to death, and his wife is left to die with a noose around her neck. And as if this didn’t present enough problems for the Ystad police Inspector Kurt Wallander, the dying woman’s last...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published January 14th 2003 by Vintage (first published 1991)
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Kemper
During one of my periodic efforts to prove to myself that I'm not one of The Great Unwashed, I watched PBS's Masterpiece Mystery series featuring the Swedish detective Kurt Wallander as played by Kenneth Branagh. (Yes, it had English actors playing Swedes and was filmed in Sweden. Just go with it.) I liked it quite a bit and since I also loved the The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I decided to read some more about these murderous Swedes. And now I'm really hooked.

Written in 1990, this book introd...more
Dan Schwent
An elderly couple is robbed and brutally murdered and it's up to police inspector Kurt Wallander to find the killer or killers. Can Kurt act on the meager information he has available and solve the case as his private life disintegrates around him?

On the heels of reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire, I decided to branch out and try a couple more Swedish crime authors. Faceless Killers is the first such book to fall into my hands.

Faceless Killers isn't a happy...more
Peter H. Fogtdal
Henning Mankell might be the most famous Scandinavian writer of crime novels in the US. May I humbly ask why? I can think of at least three Swedes and two Danes who are far, far superior. And let's not forget the Norwegians. Read Frederik Skagen for Christ's sake. I'm not sure he's been translated but he's brillant when it comes to the twisted mind of killers and rapists.

Actually, I don't like being hard on writer colleagues, but this book is simply not very good. The prose is flat, only two of...more
Lynne King
There's something about Swedish authors that both fascinates me and tugs at my heartstrings. Henning Mankell does indeed do that for me with his Inspector Kurt Wallander.

The air of suspense begins with the words:

“He has forgotten something, he knows that for sure when he wakes up. Something he dreamt during the night. Something he ought to remember. He tries to remember. But sleep is like a black hole. A well that reveals nothing of its contents.”

And this same suspense kept me utterly enthralled...more
notgettingenough
Ugh.

Maybe this book is dreadfully translated...or maybe it's like Ikea furniture. Mostly you end up with a bunch of bits that don't make sense. It's a popular theory in Australia that Ikea furniture is some sort of revenge upon people who live in sunlight. Maybe Henning Mankell is a plot to get the people who escaped the Ikea trap.

We all over here prefer more Abba and less bad furniture and miserable books please.
Eve
An avid fan of police procedural books and television shows, it was not shocking that I fell in love with BBC's Wallander series, starring Kenneth Branagh. Like the Inspector Lynley series, the hauntingly peaceful country settings play as key a role as do the main characters.

In a lonely Swedish farming community, an elderly couple are bludgeoned to death in their home early one January morning. Wallander, acting as temporary head of the department while his superior is on vacation, is thoroughl...more
AC
I ran across a reference to Mankell from someone on GR who said that crime-writing afficionados really like him.... but then, when I read some of the other GR reviews, I nearly tossed this one in the bucket. I'm glad I didn't! This is a first-rate -- a REALLY first-rate piece of genre writing.

It's 4.5 stars (maybe 4.75) -- and that because I'm getting more conservative in my old age... but its 4.5 from the five-side, not from the 4+ side...

Wallander is a tough, realistic, angst-ridden policeman...more
James Thane
This is the first entry in Henning Mankell's series featuring Swedish detective Kurt Wallander. When we first meet him, Wallander has a boatload of personal problems: he is recently divorced; he's estranged from his daughter; he's drinking too much; he has a lousy diet, and his father is showing signs of senility.

Against the backdrop of this troubled personal life, Wallandar is assigned to lead the investigation of the savage murder or an elderly farm couple. There is no apparent motive and ther...more
Brad
I remember a discussion I had years ago with a friend of mine about Jonathon Demme's film version of The Silence of the Lambs. We were both annoyed by the pacing of the film and joked that it was really the story of an FBI agent driving her car, with some dialogue thrown in to liven things up.

I felt a bit that way reading Faceless Killers, the first Wallander book by Henning Mankell. I don't know if it was only this first Wallander mystery (it's the first I've read too) or if it is a common them...more
Tea Jovanović
Sjajan švedski autor, najpre ga je objavljivala Narodna knjiga a sada Čarobna knjiga... Da ne govorimo o Kenetu Brani koji je presonalizovao britansku verziju serijala o inspektoru Valanderu... :) Za ljubitelje dobrih krimića... I da malo upoznate i Švedsku... :)
K.D. Absolutely
May 30, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
One of those books that I thought I would not like but ended up really liking.

I am not really a big fan of mystery whodunnit books but this one really hooked me from start to finish. The plot is not really focused on who the killer is but on the main protagonist and his life: aging, just divorced, daughter's not communicating to him, father's getting senile, getting fat, postponing his diet, drinking and driving and all of the other matters that make him human and vulnerable. Of course, you'd l...more
LJ
FACELESS KILLERS (Swedish Police Procedural)- G+
Henning Mankell – 1st in series
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard. English Translation, 2003 – Trade Paperback
Police Inspector Kurt Wallander is called to the scene of a particularly violent attack of an elderly couple on a small farm. The husband is dead but the wife, found with a noose around her neck, utters the work “foreign” before dying. Wallander becomes obsessed with solving the case before feelings against Sweden’s immigrants becomes violent.
*** A...more
g
Aug 30, 2010 g rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: cold
Do these get better? I flew through this first in the Kurt Wallander series, but the writing was squarely in the spectrum of unremarkable to outright you've-got-to-be-kidding-me. The police officers are barely differentiated (Wallander himself is the only one with any character traits to speak of, and he comes across as kind of a schmuck), and the book cries out for description and emotion. Not really psychological and only half-heartedly political, this novel strikes me as gratuitous and forget...more
Ben Loory
it was 15 pages before the end before anyone in the police department thought to follow the most obvious trail. i mean i'm not even trying to solve the case, i'm just lying in bed sick, idly flipping 250 pages, but i'm ahead of these people? pretty sad. in the meantime there's no suspense, the characters are dull, and the scenes are boring and poorly written. nice title, though, i suppose... can't imagine reading more of these...
Harry
Book Review

Faceless Killers, a 1991 novel and the first in the Kurt Wallander series, delves right into Mankell's favorite pet peeve: the changing political and social landscape of Sweden and in particular the influx of immigration and asylum seekers allowed into Sweden seemingly without barriers.

The plot arises like a Phoenix from this backdrop of which Mankell is a crucial source both personally and professionally as enlightening the world to such problems. It is no mistake that it is a Somali...more
Angela
My initial reaction to this book “Faceless Killers” was “Poor Kurt Wallander”!
Our introduction to the character of Inspector Wallander by Henning Mankell, was certainly unusual . As the hero of many detective novels after this story, he cuts a sorry figure - and yet, a realistic one. At the beginning of the novel, we quickly discover that Wallander’s marriage has finished, his daughter doesn’t want to have much to do with him and his father doesn’t appear to like him much either! However, despi...more
Margarida
Tinha todos os ingredientes para ser um bom policial... mas não consegui gostar! Não consegui ligar-me a nenhuma das personagens, não gostei do desenvolvimento da história e não consegui gostar da escrita! Ou se calhar é só da tradução... ou se calhar comecei pelo livro errado!... :(

"Comeu um hamburguer com guarnição. Comeu-o tão depressa que ficou com diarreia. Quando estava na sanita reparou que devia mudar de cuecas..." - pág. 34. Não havia nexexidade!

Ainda não é desta que fico fã da literatu...more
Gary
Really enjoyed this book.
Wallender is a really great character.
He is a flawed character,makes lots of mistakes.
He sticks at things though and finally gets there.
Really interesting to read as well as the crime story
you get involved in Wallenders personal life and he
comes across as a normal human being who just happens
to be a detective.
Very good and will read the rest of the series.
Tony
Mankell, Henning. FACELESS KILLERS. (1991). *****. An old farm couple living on the outskirts of Ystad are discovered in their house by their neighbors. The old man is dead – savagely beaten to death. His wife, also beaten, and with a noose around her neck, is close to death. When Kurt Wallander and his crew arrive they are appalled at the violence and bloodshed. The woman is rushed to the hospital, but cannot be safed. Just before she dies, she whispers the word “foreigner” over and over. Since...more
Jim
I had never heard of Henning Mankell before I purchased this book over a year ago. It sounded exotic, and I have a thing for exotic mysteries. Faceless Killers is the first of the Kurt Wallander novels, named after a detective in Ystad in the South of Sweden.

From the moment Wallander hears about the brutal murder of an old farmer and his wife, Mankell's story builds up speed as we see the entire police force involved. When the news that the murdered farmer's wife's last word was "foreigner" is l...more
Tracey, librarian on strike
I can't help but wonder if I would have enjoyed this book without Kenneth Branagh's careworn face in my mind's eye. Faceless Killers is a grim story – you wouldn't expect a cheery romp to be called Faceless Killers, after all – and the voice (whether the translator's or Mankel's) is spare and disengaged. The murders are particularly horrid, the landscape is bleak and growing colder, and so for that matter is Wallander's life. His wife has left him and he doesn't understand why and wants her back...more
Eyehavenofilter
A brutal murder if a seemingly innocent farmer and his wife left on the verge of death brings Wallander to the country side to solve this horrible crime. But who would do such a thing and then bother to feed the farmer's horse on the way out?
This just a perfect example of why I love this genre. It's cold up there in Scandinavia and every thing seems quick, sharp, and to the point. No flowery verses, or overdone strolling through the gardens here, if you know what I mean. Just down and dirty lyin...more
Linda
Mankell can write. Good character development, great plot, nice sense of place, appropriately gloomy atmosphere. I appreciated "visiting" Sweden and the information about Sweden's immigration tensions was interesting. Mankell's written a nearly perfect police procedural here. The plot is complex but not convoluted, the red herrings are not so much red herrings as the natural dead ends that occur in real investigations (I presume, anyway). Wallender is a good detective, but he's no phenom, so he...more
Marieke
I listened to the audio version and enjoyed the story very much. unfortunately i wasn't too keen on the narrator's attempt to create voices for the different characters. he was fine when he was reading straightforward narration or doing the voice for Kurt Wallander, but any other character either sounded drunk, idiotic, or possibly retarded (apologies if that word offends anyone), or they had a bizarre accent--suddenly someone would sound like an evil German, or like dracula, or italian. all in...more
Callista
Got interested in this because of the Masterpiece Mystery TV miniseries starring Kenneth Branagh.
Unlike the miniseries, the book is dreary and flat. The writing style is like bad imitation Hemingway, with its short, choppy sentences and frequent use of passive voice. Disappointing.
Lars Guthrie
Talk about a flawed detective. Kurt Wallander is more flawed than any of 'em. There's a near comic element to his exaggerated imperfection. He's an alcoholic depressive living alone after a failed marriage, clumsily inept and sometimes abusive with women, wandering around a chilly, barren Scandanavian landscape. But he's also persistent as hell, tries to do right by others, and is genuinely concerned about the direction Swedish society is going. Throw this idiosyncratic antihero into a police pr...more
ahdid
This was my introduction to Mankell. Reading Faceless Killers is an excellent way to dispell any myths about Sweden as a peaceful country where nothing bad happens. Not only is Mankell one of the greatest contemporary mystery/crime novel writers, he presents the dark side of modern Sweden that you wouldn't otherwise think about if you've never been. He's not afraid to describe murder scenes in the most detailed and bloody way possible, but read a couple of his novels and you may be desensitized....more
Graham
A short and succinct novel, the first in a long-running crime series by Swedish author Henning Mankell. FACELESS KILLERS sees a detective on the trail of a killer or killers who have committed a brutal double murder against a retired farming couple.

It's a bit of an odd read, because Mankell believes in brevity to the extreme. The writing is clipped, efficient and occasionally ruthless. Scenes which would have been long, set-piece sequences with other authors are dealt with in a few paragraphs. I...more
Nancy Oakes
Two elderly people living next door to friends they've had coffee with every day for the last 40 years wake up one night and hear a scream for help. The man goes over to their friends' home to find a veritable bloodbath and calls the police. Assigned to the the call is Kurt Wallender, and he discovers that the woman is still alive and before she dies, she says only one word: foreign. As Wallender gets more into the case, he realizes that he is going to have to play this very carefully amid risin...more
Patrick O'Neil
Ok, so I'm off on this Nordic detective binge. I'm blaming Stieg Larsson for starting me on it, but really it's probably due more to my recent Jo Nesbo addiction. And then there I was on the road and ran out of things to read. Desperate I succumbed to Amazon's eBook pimping and fell for their "customers who bought this item also bought" pitch and snagged Henning Mankell's Faceless Killers. Big mistake. Not only was there no killer missing a face (I'm friggin' joking) but the writing was a mess o...more
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Mysteries & C...: July Group Read: Faceless Killers 12 74 Aug 28, 2013 05:24PM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 9781565843417 3 49 Jul 16, 2012 10:53AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please combine 2 16 Jul 10, 2012 12:23PM  
Goodreads Librari...: 9781455108077 audiobook 2 145 Jun 17, 2012 07:04PM  
Scandinavian Crim...: A Look At Henning Mankell's Faceless Killers 1 20 Feb 20, 2012 11:43AM  
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Henning Mankell is an internationally known Swedish crime writer, children's author and playwright. He is best known for his literary character Kurt Wallander.

Mankell splits his time between Sweden and Mozambique. He is married to Eva Bergman, Swedish director and daughter of Ingmar Bergman.
More about Henning Mankell...
The Fifth Woman (Wallander, #6) Sidetracked (Wallander #5) The Dogs of Riga (Kurt Wallander #2) The Man Who Smiled (Wallander #4) One Step Behind (Wallander, #7)

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“Every time Wallander stepped into someone's home, he felt as though he were looking at the front cover of a book that he had just bought” 5 likes
“Justice doesn't only mean that the people who commit crime are punished. It also means that we can never give up seeking the truth.” 4 likes
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