Friday, March 16, 2012

Faceless Killers

Faceless Killers (Wallander, #1)Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An elderly couple is robbed and brutally murdered and it's up to police inspector Kurt Wallander to find the killer or killers. Can Kurt act on the meager information he has available and solve the case as his private life disintegrates around him?

On the heels of reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire, I decided to branch out and try a couple more Swedish crime authors. Faceless Killers is the first such book to fall into my hands.

Faceless Killers isn't a happy book, much as its title indicates. It's bleaker than a visit to an insurance office, mostly due to poor Kurt Wallander and his life.

The mystery is an intriguing one and delves into the secret life of one of the victims. The mystery is not of the solveable variety but that's ultimately not that important. My main attractions to Faceless Killers were the glimpse into Swedish society and Kurt Wallander himself.

The fact that one of Wallander's clues is that the killer is a foreigner thrusts the reader into a world of refugees, racism, and red tape. There are false leads and I have to admit I wasn't sure what was going on in the investigation part of the time.

And that brings us to Kurt Wallander himself. He's no super-hero unless lonliness and not having anything go right in his personal life is a super power. He's getting older and fatter, his wife left him, his daughter is a stranger, and all he has is his job. Instead of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, what I was primarily reminded of when I read this was John Lutz's Alo Nudger series starring a similarly sad character.

Faceless Killers is a good police procedural story. It's pretty bleak and moves a little slowly for my tastes but is still a good read. I'll give it a 3, possibly upgrading to a 4 somewhere down the line.

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