Avid's Reviews > Faceless Killers

Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell
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's review
Jan 17, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, good-opening, mystery, nordic-challenge-2011, part-of-series, read-in-2011, the-new-author-challenge-2011
Recommended to Avid by: JoV
Read from January 15 to 16, 2011 , read count: 1

After I enjoyed reading The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson, my friend JoV recommended that I try my hand at other Scandinavian crime fiction novels. We got talking about it and she introduced me to Nordic Challenge 2011 and I took it up in order to read more Nordic crime fiction. I had no clues what books to read and again, JoV came to the rescue. She recommended some famous novels and authors and I picked up the first novel in the Wallander series.

Faceless Killers shows Kurt Wallander, a policeman in Sweden, solving the case of double murder of a farmer couple, who are brutally murdered in their farmhouse. The novel starts with a very interesting plot - the run up to the crime, the fear of the farmer who discovers the crime, the mention of a horse which seems odd - the scene is set and you are eager to know who is the murderer.

Enters Wallander who is assigned to this case and you are already impressed with him. His wife has left him recently, his daughter refuses to talk to him and his aged dad does not appreciate him. While his personal life is in a turmoil, he needs to give all his energy to the case at hand. Wallander displays a passion for crime investigation and it somewhere rubs on you. You want to solve the case too!

The plot is interesting. The first few pages grabs the reader and has your complete attention. The sub-plots keep your interest piqued. Wallander's character is well etched and he is something you can identify with. The intentional interrupts to the crime story to give us a glimpse of Wallander's personal life comes as a welcome change to the pulse racing pace of the main plot.While the book has a promising start and maintains its pace and mood for almost half the book, it begins to get boring when the investigation hits a roadblock. The story loses its momentum and when Wallander finally reaches a turning point and gets a clue about the murderer, you no longer care. After this point, it's a simple run and chase story. The case is solved and you don't even realize it.

While reading a crime novel, the reader should suddenly realize who the culprit is - it should be like a a-ha moment, as it happens in some of Agatha Christie novels. But, that a-ha moment never appears in this book, which was a big let down for me. The book held a lot of promise, but was a disappointment. This does not discourage me from reading more of Mankell. I want to read a few more in Wallander series and see how they fair.

Faceless Killers was made into a 90-minute television edition and was aired on BBC. Now, that would be interesting to watch.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Kemper (last edited Jan 17, 2011 11:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kemper They've been airing those Wallander movies that the BBC did with Kenneth Branagh here lately, and I saw the Faceless Killers one a few weeks back. It was very well done.

Avid The book I read had Kenneth on the front cover. Isn't Kenneth Irish? Was he convincing as a Swedish policeman? I need to check if they are airing it here too. I am eager to watch it.

Kemper Anjali wrote:

It's kind of weird because they used English actors out of the UK to play the parts, but filmed it in Sweden and all the writing/signs is in Sweden. Branagh is very good as Wallander. He's got that broken down sad-sack thing down.

Avid An English guy in a Swedish setting? That will be something to watch. Are you into Scandinavian crime fiction? Can you recommend some more Nordic books for me, fiction or otherwise?

Kemper Anjali wrote: "Can you recommend some more Nordic books for me, fiction or otherwise?"

I've read a few, but I'm far from an expert. There's obviously the three Stieg Larsson books, which I loved despite some serious flaws. I've read the second Kurt Wallander book, Dogs of Riga, and it was good, too. However, I'd avoid Henning Mankell's The Man From Beijing. I couldn't believe the same guy who wrote Wallander wrote that piece of crap. I've heard good things about the mysteries by Maj Sjowall set in Sweden but have not read any yet.

If you like horror stories, Let The Right One In is incredibly creepy vampire story set in Sweden.

Avid I read Larsson's Millennium Trilogy and liked them too. That's what set me off on Nordic books. Thanks for the recommendations. I will try Maj Sjowall.

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