The Dogs of Riga – Henning Mankell

April 6, 2013

I enjoyed Henning Mankell’s first Kurt Wallander novel, Faceless Killers, for its realism and gimmick-free protagonist.  So, when I was having a tough week at work that put me in the mood for some absorbing crime fiction, I happily picked up The Dogs of Riga.  Unfortunately, everything that the first book got right, its follow-up gets wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

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Faceless Killers – Henning Mankell

February 2, 2011

Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

Faceless Killers stands out from other crime thrillers by avoiding gimmickry.  Its detective character doesn’t have the quirky genius of Sherlock Holmes, the try-hard edginess of Lisbeth Salander, or the hard-boiled wit of Philip Marlowe.  Instead, Mankell’s protagonist, Kurt Wallander, who goes on to star in eleven more stories, is an everyman, an experienced but unexceptional cop.

At the opening of the novel, his wife has left him, he is estranged from his daughter, and his father is going senile.  His borderline alcoholism and diet of hamburgers and pizza have left him with seven unwanted kilos that he repeatedly resolves to shed, only to fail due to the stress of his job.  Apart form his abilities to go without sleep for long stretches and take a few more knocks than the average person, there’s nothing extraordinary about him. Read the rest of this entry »