Roderick Hart's Reviews > Firewall

Firewall by Henning Mankell
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's review
Sep 05, 2010

really liked it
Read from September 05, 2010 to March 12, 2011

The title gives an indication of the content. Due to his unexpected death, a man conspiring with others to bring down the global financial system comes to the attention of the police. They find a computer at one of his two addresses but Wallander’s sidekick, Martinsson, who is well up on computing, soon realises the firewall on this one is beyond him. At his suggestion, a youthful hacker, Modin, is brought in to help, and Modin gradually manages to penetrate the system and shed some light on what might be going on. However, Wallander learns that Martinsson has been undermining him with their boss with a view to taking over. He believes, rightly or wrongly, that Wallander is no longer fit for the job any more.

There are other associated deaths, though as usual with this author the connections between them are difficult for the police to figure out. And, also as usual, Wallander often feels that explanations are frustratingly close but just beyond his reach. This is a frequent occurrence in Wallander novels – possibly too frequent – and the following is but one example.
'When he opened his eyes it was with the feeling of being very close to an explanation, but he couldn’t seize hold of it.'
(Vintage Edition, p301)

There are attempts to discuss the state of Sweden and the world beyond it, but there is only one key idea, which is that we are all more vulnerable to certain types of crime now than in the past: for example, sabotage of the electrical supply system (which occurs early on in the book), and cyber attack via the internet on the military or financial systems.

One aspect of this novel is worth considering. One man, a resident of Ystad, is planning with others to bring down the global financial system and this catastrophe would be triggered by a simple act. Where? You’ve got it. Ystad! How likely is that? Answers on a postcard please – I don’t know the answer to the question.

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