David's Reviews > Faceless Killers

Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell
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's review
Jul 12, 2012

did not like it

The story starts at a great pace, but soon slows down and dies. It drags on and on. There is no surprise, no peak.

It's written like a police report, not a story. It gives you hundreds of little details that are not needed anywhere further down the book. On and on, dates and times, changes of weather, changes of temperature, of which significance I couldn't see.

The main character always does something at a full hour, like 5 am, or 7 pm, or shortly before the hour or shortly after the hour. Never until 5.13 or 7.24. That's very unusual, because normally people do things at less constraint times.
For example, he discovers that he is hungry at 4 pm. There's an exception: once he finishes something at 8.30.
There are about 45 exact time specifications in the book, and most of them are not significant.

First I thought that the point is to follow the story in "real time", with no undescribed gaps, that's why we get this tight time keeping. It is like that in the beginning and it makes the reading quite thrilling. But later in the book this is abandoned, there are gaps of several weeks, but we still get to know that after 3 weeks the guy did something at 4 pm.

The story includes a thread about the main character's father. But why? What for? There isn't a single point of intersection between the father and the crime. It's just an arbitrary distraction from the main story. It's there just to write something about the time in between the events of interest. If it was a sequence of random characters the reader would not loose anything from the main story.

The translation reads odd. I'm not a native English speaker, but I feel that many of the phrases are just not being used in daily English. The translation feels very technical, it reads like a manual or a report.

The story doesn't have a point. The resolution of the crime is completely arbitrary, random. The story doesn't lead to it. The story is about things that have very little to do with the resolution. There is no idea, no surprise, no point to take away.

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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Natalie I completely agree about the writing. I keep hoping it was a translational problem and not the writer. I'm so confused by the popularity of this series.

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