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The Terrorists

(Martin Beck Police Mystery #10)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,695 ratings  ·  204 reviews
An 18-year-old woman is accused of a bank robbery she never intended to commit. Later, a producer of pornographic films is found murdered at the home of his mistress. Meanwhile, Martin Beck is placed in charge of Swedish security ahead of the visit of a US senator whom a group of international terrorists is determined to assassinate.
Paperback, 324 pages
Published August 12th 1977 (first published 1975)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  2,695 ratings  ·  204 reviews

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May 21, 2016 rated it liked it
The Martin Beck saga ends with Sjowall and Wahloo’s 1975 novel The Terrorists.

Swedish police inspector Martin Beck’s career began to be chronicled by the talented pair of writers in the 1965 novel Roseanna. The Terrorists was not complete when Per Wahloo died in 1975 and Maj Sjowall finished the last few chapters alone.

Quirky and with a personality all its own, this follows a meandering path between loosely connected sub-plots with the main plot following Beck and his team assigned to protect a
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
rating for the series as a whole, now that I'm finished with the last installment,

Over the years, more than one person had wondered what it was that made Martin Beck such a good policeman.

A legitimate question, given the enduring popularity of this series of ten police procedural novels written 50 years ago and still considered among the best in the field. For the authors, it is a rhetorical question, aboundantly answered in the actions of their lead character:

"... a systematic mind, common
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ki hope, amber
Written in 1975 by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, The Terrorists A Martin Beck Police Mystery is about us right now.

It is about the homegrown terrorists we make through our capitalist greed, our ever increasing inequality, our casting aside of those who don't fit into our neat ideas of a "normal" society.

It is about the ideological terrorists who fight for a cause that isn't ours with whatever tools are at their disposal, tearing apart flesh and bone with bombs, blasting holes into skulls with
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Sjöwall and Wahlöö were lovers. And they wrote books together. Apparently, during their collaboration, they always worked by writing alternate chapters -- and then corrected each other's chapters.

Wahlöö developed cancer and died in 1975, in Malmö, at the age of 48. The Terrorists was the final book of a projected 10 book series. Sjöwall has said that this volume was written almost entirely by Wahlöö, as he was dying -- in a race to the finish line. It is one of the better ones of this
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery, sweden
I have not read from this classic series from the 70’s that pioneers what we now call Nordic Noir. I have been collecting them over the years for just the right mood to take the plunge with Stockholm police inspector Martin Beck. A crazy impulse led me to check out the library audiobook version of this last one of the series of ten. I didn’t suffer from getting a mature version of Beck, who has a largely administrative post with the homicide branch. The crime he faces here is a potential one. He ...more
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really needed to finally finish this series. The intended sense of despair and despondency of society going straight to hell that slowly grows from Roseanna through ten books in ten years until this point where people have finally decided to make a stand against the leaders who have brought this upon us was starting to make me feel like not bothering.

As Sjowall was dying of cancer during the writing of this entry the plot takes an even more melancholy tone, the idealism of the political
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A crack terrorist unit is hell bent on murder and mayhem in Stockholm. Between them and death and destruction lies Martin Beck and his colleagues. Can team Beck beat the baddies?

In a parallel story, a homeless teenage girl is trying to get to the US to reunite with the father of her baby. Society is arraigned against her. Capitalism does not look kindly on the innocent, the uneducated or the unskilled.

A fast paced thriller, crisp and compelling. Written in the 70s but very accessible. A bit
Nancy Oakes
The Terrorists is the tenth and final book in Sjöwall and Wahlöö's series featuring Martin Beck. In this installment, an unpopular American senator has planned a visit to Sweden, and Beck is chosen as head of the security team for the duration. The biggest worry is terrorist activity, and as Gunvald Larsson finds out while observing in a Latin American country, the terrorists do not play nice. While Beck is busy with trying to keep the would-be assassins from killing the Senator, he is also ...more
Sep 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in 1975, the primary plot follows the assassinations of high-profile political leaders around the world by an impenetrable organization of highly trained killers. Martin Beck reluctantly accepts the job of managing an inter-agency group to protect a visiting U.S. warmonging senator. There are two other plots, all of which are well orchestrated: a wealthy pornographer has been murdered in his mistresses' apartment and a young homeless, somewhat addled waif of a girl has been charged with bank ...more
Dave Riley
Apr 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Superb and a fitting ending the the Wahloo/Sjowall series of Martin Beck novels. Published after Wahloo's death from cancer in 1975 -- this novel is sharper than the earlier ones in its critique of Swedish society. It also templates the 1986 assassination of the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme.

That may be ironic -- but then that future conjuncture fostered Mankell's Wallander into existence.

Swedish crime fiction rocks!

Of all the crime fiction I've read these ten by Wahloo/Sjowall are the the
M.J. Johnson
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This is the final story in the Martin Beck series and it doesn't disappoint. I'm not an habitual reader of police procedurals, and discovered these stories completely by chance. The series remains good from first to last and doesn't run out of any of its energy. Its interesting cast of disparate characters avoids cliche and develops in a satisfying way, with each book providing a highly enjoyable reading experience. Naturally, I liked some of the stories more than others, but all ten are ...more
Ben Thurley
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fitting end to the excellent Martin Beck series, The Terrorists perfectly blends human-scale story-telling, suspense and action, and social commentary.

Gunvald Larsson, for whom readers now have a measure of respect and sympathy, takes centre stage as he travels overseas to learn about security measures to help Sweden prepare for a state visit by a controversial US Senator. The outcome of the trip is both grisly and grimly comic and introduces us to the terrorist group ULAG who will become the
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
The last one...

Sat Drama

This could be the best of them all, and sadly, the end. Just goes to prove that a series needn't deteriorate into dross. *looks pointedly at Cornwell's Scarpetta*

3* Roseanna (Martin Beck #1)
3* The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (Martin Beck #2)
3* The Man on the Balcony (Martin Beck, #3)
3* The Laughing Policeman (Martin Beck #4)
3* The Fire Engine That Disappeared (Martin Beck #5)
#6 MISSING! Oh Noes!!
3* The Abominable Man (Martin Beck #7)
3* The Locked Room (Martin Beck #8)
2* Cop
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyable, satisfying. I’m sorry it’s the last one.
The Terrorists (1975) by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö is the last book to feature Martin Beck who has been promoted to Chief of the National Murder Squad--much to his chagrin since the new post will entail a great deal of desk work and far less time in the field. But he gets at least one more chance for action when he (and his usual team) are detailed to provide protection for an unpopular American Senator in Sweden on a state visit. Terrorists plant a bomb along the route the Senator will be ...more
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
It's quite sad to read the last of the Martin Beck series and to farewell the weary policeman and his idiosyncratic crew. Did Sjowall and Wahloo foresee the role terrorism would play in today's world? Or did they just recognise that terrorism would overshadow other crimes and would become increasingly important as a threat to modern society?

The novel begins as Martin Beck is called as a witness for the legal defence of Rebecka Lund, an 18 year old single mother charged with robbing a bank. The
Thomas Strömquist
I know that many hold the final book of the Sjöwall/Wahlöö 'Beck'-series in the highest regard, but for me, the book was (in light of the preceding 9(!)) a bit of an anti-climax. No, I don't think that Maj Sjöwall writing a much larger part of this due to the illness and subsequent demise of her life- and author-partner Per was the reason for the book dropping a notch. I do think that Per's illness did. Please note that nothing about the final offering does not shame the series at all, but, ...more
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read all 10 books in this wonderful series, one after the other. What a joy to read. A police procedural set in 1960's Sweden, this has become the basis of modern police fiction. Martin Beck is not your typical 'cop'. He's miserable, has an ulcer, is unhappily married, with kids who don't understand him. The detective mysteries he's engaged in are varied and interesting - and (gasp) are not always solved with Beck in the lead -a real tribute to teamwork and the well-defined characters who are ...more
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good final entry in the Martin Beck series. I wish there were a few more of these to read!
Liz Mc2
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, audiobook
I gave up on my library getting the audiobook of this last in the Martin Beck series (they have all the rest, which I listened to this winter and spring) and bought it myself. It's the most political of the series, and interesting to read now when North Americans tend to view Sweden as an egalitarian socialist paradise (or I guess a socialist hellscape, depending on your politics). The Terrorists of the title could be the international organization carrying out political assassinations, or ...more
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My last of Martin Beck, for now (I haven't read the number 2 from the series yet cause I don't have that book). The anticipation and curiosity of Beck continues here, but honestly I miss Kollberg a lot. Luckily he was here sometimes so yeah!

The plot was okay. I was wondering why they had this Rebecka and Petrus cases firstly but then it all makes sense throughout the middle, the connection and the heart-rending truth. I actually like Miss Rebecka so much-- to me she was so pure and sincere, too
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german
My favourite of the series, full of action, tragedy, gloom, and also friendship, tenacity, and victory. I understand Per Wahlöö died shortly after finishing this book which may explain the preachy intensity where (his own) political opinions are concerned. According to which Sweden, state and society, should have reached rock bottom ages ago.

The terrorists, here to kill a really reactionary American senator (ring any bells?) for rather obscure reasons, are some ice-cold types, perfectly trained,
Judith Johnson
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wow. A wonderful book, the last of ten books by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. My list of things to do today has lain untouched on the kitchen table, as has the washing-up from breakfast AND lunch - I just had to know how the plot unfolded. I found I deeply cared about these Swedish policeman and assorted other characters, and also that I was very affected by the authors' anger about society and capitalism.

I know this is often said, but if you haven't read any of the Martin Beck novels, you are in
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2019
Quite a fitting close to a simply wonderful series. Witty and dark as ever, and with the critique of failing society even more sharp than before. There were two different passages where I’d have stood up and cheered if not for fear of waking someone nearby.

Beck is a literary creation of great worth.
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I laughed out loud several times during this, the last of Martin Beck novels. Perhaps it is because I have come to know the personalities and quirks of the men who make up the homicide division, including their pompous managers and higher-ups.

One refreshing element in these novels is the depiction of tense confrontational scenes filled with bravery, luck, error and confusion. Often, even talented detectives miss clues and in turn are maddened by bumbling cops who simply aren't up to the task.
Jan 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last of the superb Martin Beck novels, about a methodical police detective in Stockholm. Every one of the books has been wonderful, and Beck has come to be a beloved figure in my collection of crime fiction. This one deals primarily with the threatened assassination of an American politician on a visit to Sweden, but as always, the deeply felt concerns of the authors about social and political matters is at the heart of their story.
Kent Monken
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the tenth in a great series years before Steig Larson. it's a lot like the Swedish Ed McBain. You grow to know and sympathize with Beck one of the all time great detectives. Read all ten starting with Rosanna. I loved the series. I recommend this book to anyone who loves police procedural novels. Great characters and interesting plots. It's a very small world and we're doomed to repeat the same mistakes.
Ken Fredette
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What a good way to end a series. Solving all their mysteries. Having a good woman to be with in your old age. It can't get much better.
Mindy McAdams
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-boiled
All the characters in the series show up for this final episode, which starts out with a terrorist assassination in an unnamed Latin American country, to which Gunvald Larsson is a witness. Seeming a bit disjointed, the story moves on to a trial of an odd young bank robber, where Martin Beck is a witness, and to the murder of a porn-film producer in his mistress's home. Gradually the main act gathers momentum, as Beck leads a star-studded team assigned to preventing the assassination of a ...more
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Maj Sjöwall is a Swedish author and translator. She is best known for the collaborative work with her partner Per Wahlöö on a series of ten novels about the exploits of Martin Beck, a police detective in Stockholm. In 1971, the fourth of these books, The Laughing Policeman (a translation of Den skrattande polisen, originally published in 1968) won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America ...more

Other books in the series

Martin Beck Police Mystery (10 books)
  • Roseanna (Martin Beck, #1)
  • The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (Martin Beck, #2)
  • The Man on the Balcony (Martin Beck, #3)
  • The Laughing Policeman (Martin Beck, #4)
  • The Fire Engine That Disappeared  (Martin Beck, #5)
  • Murder at the Savoy (Martin Beck, #6)
  • The Abominable Man (Martin Beck, #7)
  • The Locked Room (Martin Beck, #8)
  • Cop Killer (Martin Beck, #9)
“Throughout the film the reporter kept up a ceaseless commentary in that eager, exalted tone that only American news reporters seem to achieve. It was as if he had - with enormous pleasure - just witnessed the end of the world.” 3 likes
“The corpulent, impotent Petrus casts pubescent girls in skin flicks so low-budget sex, from film to film, takes place “on the same old couch, which occasionally changed covers.” 0 likes
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