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Faceless Killers (Kurt Wallander, #1)
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Group Reads > November 2014 - Faceless Killers

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message 1: by Melki, Femme Fatale (last edited Nov 01, 2014 05:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melki | 856 comments Mod
The winner of our first Scandinavian crime writers poll.

This is the first book in Mankell's famous Kurt Wallender series.

Ystad Police Inspector Wallander is a complicated man with a messy personal life.
He's now got to solve the murders of an elderly couple while dealing with tensions surrounding Sweden's anti-immigration sentiments.

This is a popular series and the book seems to have garnered mostly favorable reviews.


message 2: by Michael, Anti-Hero (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 279 comments Mod
awesome, I'm interested in checking this one

Missy | 3 comments I loved this book (and the series too). I hope everyone likes it as much as I did.

Lauren | 12 comments I am very excited to read this novel. I enjoyed the Swedish and British versions of the TV series, but I had not yet got around to reading any of the novels. This provides me with the perfect excuse to get started on the novels, so thank you!

message 5: by Brian (last edited Nov 02, 2014 12:29PM) (new)

Brian | 63 comments In my opinion, the books could to with a bit of trimming (the geography of locations must be enjoyable for natives or visitors, but otherwise...). The Swedish tv versions are by far superior.

Cyndi (bookchick64) | 54 comments Digging this month's choice. Already like Wallander.

message 7: by Melki, Femme Fatale (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melki | 856 comments Mod
I haven't gotten hold of a copy yet.

message 8: by Tom (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tom Mathews | 401 comments I read this a couple years ago and still vividly remember the beginning. Very stark and visual.

message 9: by Algernon (Darth Anyan), Hard-Boiled (last edited Nov 14, 2014 11:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 554 comments Mod
this was one of the first Scandinavian crime books I've read (I see on my shelves in March 2011) and the best result of the ecture is that it was a gate opener, pavig the way to other writers with a similar vibe and similar type of detectives. Before Wallander there was nly Peter Hoeg, after him I tried Per Wahloo & Maj Sjowall, Stieg Larsson and, last week, Jo Nesbo.

I wonder how much the pessimism, the stark writing, theblack humour for all these writers is a fashion choice or a much deeper personality trait, fed by the cold weather and long, dark winter nights.

message 10: by Charles (new)

Charles Algernon wrote: "I wonder how much the pessimism, the stark writing, theblack humour for all these writers is a fashion choice or a much deeper personality trait, fed by the cold weather and long, dark winter nights. "

If you go back to Martin Beck, as the series moves along Beck (and the others) get more sour and hopeless and are quite explicit that the problem is the condition of Sweden. The crumbling of the social welfare state as it was first imagined, the falling resources, the growth of individualism, other such stuff. The novels were conceived as a set and, to my knowledge, as a set were the first to engage in serious, extended social criticism. Most noir and hardboiled novels have passages or little sermons, and more recently some, like Wallander sometimes, devote themselves to something more than the depiction of problems, feeding off the tradition of the genre, but Beck was different and I think quite a few Scandinavian writers inherit that.

message 11: by Michelle (last edited Nov 15, 2014 10:12PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Michelle | 3 comments Interesting. I hadn't read any Scandinavian crime beforehand (not much crime full stop really), so I had little to compare with.

I had read a Lindqvist book, and it was kinda similar to that. The whole detached voice thing. Whether that is a translation element, or the author style, I don't know.

I enjoyed the book, with Wallander fitting the role of hapless, noirish, bit of a sap, downtrodden detective well. The self-doubt, oh my!

Of interest was the gender roles. While Wallander feels diminished by the ever helpful assistant Ebba (or something like that) and how thoughtful she is in contrast to how thoughtless he is, many of the female roles are either subservient or just plain "bitches". Maybe I wasn't paying attention.

message 12: by Charles (new)

Charles Most modern detectives are nebbishes with failed relationships. We want that. We don't want superheroes-- that's another genre. If the relationship is going to fail, and the detective is going to retain a shred of respect, then there have to be Factors At Work. The blame can fall entirely on the Significant Other, but this is a risky procedure nowadays if the partner is a woman. (Notice that this whole structure is ungendered -- it works whether the detective is male or female.) Anyway, it's a lot easier on the detective if he doesn't have a wife (husband) and kids underfoot, and for the writer, too.

Chris | 17 comments I haven't finished reading this yet, but I like how flawed Mankell portrays Wallander. I read The Man Who Smiled a few years ago, and I don't remember him putting Wallander's flaws so front and center. Really great stuff.

message 14: by Melki, Femme Fatale (last edited Nov 30, 2014 05:42AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melki | 856 comments Mod
Almost finished and I'm really enjoying this one, which surprises me since the best thing I can say about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is that it started to get a little interesting around page 400.

As Chris mentioned, I like that Wallander has so many personal problems to deal with. He reminds me a bit of the Continental Op in that he can take a licking and keep on ticking. (view spoiler) I also like that every day he is so busy, he ends up eating pizza, then vows that the next day he will start eating healthier.

I'm sure we've all done this... ***she says as she crams a doughnut in her mouth because making oatmeal was just too damned time-consuming***

Lauren | 12 comments I really enjoyed Faceless Killers. It had a slower pace, subtle wit and political undertone which is missing from many modern crime novels. In such a short novel, Mankell really helps the reader to get under the skin of Wallander and his complex family and personal life. I will definitely read more of the novels in the Wallander series when I have the time.

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