Tony's Reviews > Firewall: A Kurt Wallander Mystery

Firewall by Henning Mankell
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's review
Jan 09, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction-crime-detection
Read in January, 2010

Mankell, Henning. FIREWALL. (1998). *****. Mankell places his Inspector Kurt Wallander right in the middle of a series of events that turns out to be more than the sum of its parts. It all starts out when a man falls over dead in front of an ATM unit near his home. The death was pronounced the result of natural causes. Next, two young girls send for a taxi from a bar. After they are in it, they kill the driver using a hammer and a knife. They are quickly rounded up and held at the main station, but the older girl, taking advantage of a lapse in security, walks out of the station and disappears. Her body is later found inside of a power sub-station, burned to a crisp – the cause of a severe blackout in large regions of Sweden. Wallander and his crew, following up on all of these events, are led to the discovery of a master plan that is intended to wreak havoc on all of the world’s major financial instutions, but the master plan is so well protected through the use of firewalls and clever encoding mechanisms that they cannot actually find out what the critical event will be or when it will occur. Wallander is thrown upon the necessary intelligence and savvy of a computer geek – and formerly convicted hacker – to help him make sense out of the impending cyberspace terror. What makes matters worse is that the leaders of this plot throw out clues intended to mislead Wallander and his men and go down the wrong pathways for long periods of time only to learn that their time and effort has been wasted. On top of all this professional activity, Wallander is faced with his own personal problems: he is still without a woman and lonely; he discovers that a once trusted colleague within his department is undermining his authority and credibility with other members of the team. The most cheerful part of this thriller is that it doesn’t occur in mid-winter when the snow is many feet high, but in the fall when all the Swedes have to contend with are the random blackouts caused by impenetrable fogs. This is likely the best thriller I have read so far from this author. Highly recommended.

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