Faceless Killers (Kurt Wallander Mystery)

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9780099445227: Faceless Killers (Kurt Wallander Mystery)

One frozen January Morning at 5 am, Inspector Wallander responds to what he expects is a routine call out. When he reaches the isolated farmhouse he discovers a bloodbath. An old man has been tortured and beaten to death, his wife lies barely alive beside his shattered body, victims of violence beyond reason. The woman supplies Wallander with his only clue: the perpetrators may have been foreign. When this is leaked to the press, racial hatred is unleashed. Kurt Wallander is a senior police officer at Ystad, a small town in the wind-lashed Swedish province of Skane. His life is a shambles. His wife has left him, his daughter refuses to speak to him, even his ageing father barely tolerates him. He works tirelessly, eats badly and drinks the nights away in a lonely, neglected flat. But now winter closes its grip on Ystad, and Wallander, his tenacious efforts closely monitored by the tough minded (and disarmingly attractive) district attorney Anette Brolin, must forget his trouble, and throw himself into a battle against time and xenophobia.

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Review:

A new world had emerged, and he hadn't even noticed it. As a policeman, he still lived in another, older world. How was he going to learn to live with the new? . . We live as if we were in mourning for a lost paradise, he thought...

It could be said that as a policeman, Kurt Wallander, Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell's award winning creation, isn't much cop. He eschews the meticulous and the scientific in favour of his hunches, which all too often lead up blind alleys. He drinks too much, then drives. He doesn't get enough sleep. And to cap it all, his wife has left him and his daughter doesn't speak to him.

Faceless Killers is the first of the acclaimed Wallander novels. Set in January 1990, in a frozen landscape and against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Europe, this is a bleak novel that deals with the thorny issues of immigration and racial hatred. Wallander investigates a brutal double murder at a remote farmhouse in which the only possible clues are the whispered words of a dying woman and a freshly fed horse. When this limited evidence and its implications leak to the press it stirs right wing activists into action.

At times Wallander seems too much like the traditional hard-drinking, hard-living, hard-boiled detective of old, but he is more than that. He is a truth seeker, trying to make sense of his rapidly changing world, his method happens to be detective work, and it is this search that lies at the philosophical heart of the novel.

-- Iain Robinson

Review:

" An exquisite novel of mesmerizing depth and suspense." -- "Los Angeles Times"
" An especially satisfying crime novel, like those of such past masters as Georges Simenon, Nicholas Freeling, and Sweden's own Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo." - "The Wall Street Journal
"
" Intelligent, moving and topical, this is a thriller of the very best kind." - "The Times" (London)
" A well-crafted police procedural, the story moves along at a brisk pace and comes to an exciting climax." - "St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"

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