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Faceless Killers (1991)

by Henning Mankell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Kurt Wallander (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,5411781,712 (3.58)410
It was a senselessly violent crime. On a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse, an elderly farmer is bludgeoned to death and his wife is left to die with a noose around her neck. And as if this didn't present enough problems for the Ystad police inspector, Kurt Wallander, the dying woman's last word is foreign, leaving the police the one tangible clue they have. It also could be the match that inflames Sweden's already smoldering anti-immigrant sentiments. In this case, unlike the situation with his ex-wife, his estranged daughter, or the beautiful but married young prosecutor who has piqued his interest, Wallander finds a problem he can handle. He quickly becomes obsessed with solving the crime before the already tense situation explodes, but he soon comes to realize that it will require all of his reserves of energy and dedication to solve.… (more)
Recently added byAMGIV, jo.mil, private library, Count_Zero, sdprikrylova, Ken_Roger_Riggs, bookhoernchen, TerjeT
  1. 122
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Ronoc)
  2. 40
    The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell (Ronoc)
  3. 00
    The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (MissBrangwen)
  4. 00
    Because of the Cats by Nicolas Freeling (ehines)
  5. 00
    The Locked Room by Maj Sjöwall (ehines)
    ehines: For an American like I am, Sweden is an almost mythical land--a sort of soft-porn socialist paradise. Both these books let you in on a very different side of Sweden. More real, but not offputting.
  6. 00
    The Black Angel by John Connolly (Gmonti)
    Gmonti: O cualquier otro libro de H. Mankell, aunque no tan negro no fantástico. También pueden disfrutar de Cell o la saga de La Torreo Oscura de Stephen King
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» See also 410 mentions

English (152)  Spanish (7)  Dutch (4)  French (4)  Italian (4)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Basque (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (178)
Showing 1-5 of 152 (next | show all)
Please note that I gave this book 1.5 stars, but rounded it up to 2 stars on Goodreads.

So I have to say that I was overall very disappointed with this look at Kurt Wallander. I started watching the BBC show and liked the character and stories a lot. Besides the same last night and backstory here and there, the two versions have very little in common. The only reason why I gave this 1.5 stars was that it was interesting to see how crimes are investigated in another country besides the US and the UK which seems to be where most crime books I have read take place.

Wallander is a police investigator working in Ystad, Sweden. He is called into investigate an assault and murder at a farm house. The elderly woman manages to say the word "foreign" which leads the police and others to suspect that whoever broke into this farm and killed these two people were foreigners. This was written during the 1990s and apparently at the time a wave of anti-foreign sentiment was rising in Sweden. A lot of illegals and those claiming asylum came to Sweden to resettle which left a lot of Swedes angry and hostile towards them. Wallander and his team are doing their best to find out who the murder or murderers or before anyone else gets hurt.

So book Wallander sucks a lot. We find out that his wife has left him before the story begins. His only daughter, Linda, is partially estranged from him and his wife. Frankly I am still baffled about that, Mankell does not really give you enough details to find out why Linda is acting the way she is. Heck he doesn't give you enough details to find out why his wife leaves Kurt besides her saying that he will understand one day.

Kurt is a failed opera singer who joined the police force against the objections of his artist father. That was enough to have me slightly interested in the character. But besides a few asides thrown here and there, it didn't seem like he was really into opera besides mentioning titles here and there and saying he was going to go and see a show. The first opera I saw blew me away and I remember the singing, the costumes, etc. Also for someone who wanted to be an opera singer, Kurt seems to like to stay in the shadows and not be the certain of attention. It says several dozen times how much he hates giving interviews to the press so the whole character felt like a contradiction up until the end of the book.

Also I hope you like hearing about what alcohol Kurt is drinking and how his diet seems to cause him to have diarrhea a lot. Seriously, there are mentions of him on the toilet a bunch. I just shook my head. I started to even wonder at his appeal since he does not seem to be that smart. This is a straight police procedural with a lot of dumb luck involved to catch the perpetrators.

Wallander's characterization flip flops all throughout this book too. He mentions a few times his feelings on foreigners in Sweden and he shows that he is xenophobic. But then sometimes he is not and is angry at how very little the refugee agencies seems to be doing. He meets the new prosecutor in the office a married woman that he decides he is in love with after meeting her once and disliking her (no I am not kidding you). He pretty much transfers his affections he has for his soon to be ex wife onto this other woman and there is a really gross scene later in the book where he manhandles and comes onto her. But apparently sending her flowers the next day was enough for all to be forgiven. Blech.

The writing felt stale and repetitive after a while. I don't know if that was part of the translation issue or what. But I was sick of reading about how cold it was everyday and how the sky looked. Based on this book Sweden sounds like it is always cold, wet, and lonely.

The flow of the book was glacial. Seriously. It feels like there is nothing happening for a good portion of the book. There were a dozen red herrings throughout this book and when you get to the final reveal, I was ultimately disappointed with it.

The setting of Sweden was a nice change of pace for me to read about. But I think I will have to check out some other authors because based on this, this version of Sweden is not one I want to go to.

I read this for the 12 Tasks of the Festive Season, Task the Second: The Silent Nights:
( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Ugh.

Maybe this book is dreadfully translated...or maybe it's like Ikea furniture. Mostly you end up with a bunch of bits that don't make sense. It's a popular theory in Australia that Ikea furniture is some sort of revenge upon people who live in sunlight. Maybe Henning Mankell is a plot to get the people who escaped the Ikea trap.

We all over here prefer more Abba and less bad furniture and miserable books please. ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Ugh.

Maybe this book is dreadfully translated...or maybe it's like Ikea furniture. Mostly you end up with a bunch of bits that don't make sense. It's a popular theory in Australia that Ikea furniture is some sort of revenge upon people who live in sunlight. Maybe Henning Mankell is a plot to get the people who escaped the Ikea trap.

We all over here prefer more Abba and less bad furniture and miserable books please. ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Ugh.

Maybe this book is dreadfully translated...or maybe it's like Ikea furniture. Mostly you end up with a bunch of bits that don't make sense. It's a popular theory in Australia that Ikea furniture is some sort of revenge upon people who live in sunlight. Maybe Henning Mankell is a plot to get the people who escaped the Ikea trap.

We all over here prefer more Abba and less bad furniture and miserable books please. ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
"Kurt Wallander stieß die Tür mit dem Fuß auf. Es war schlimmer, als er es sich vorgestellt hatte. Viel schlimmer. Später würde er sagen, daß es das Schlimmste war, was er je gesehen hatte. Und dabei hatte er weiß Gott schon eine Menge gesehen." Ein altes Bauernpaar ist auf seinem Hof ermordet worden. Nicht nur das Motiv der Tat liegt völlig im Dunkeln, vor allem deren furchtbare Brutalität irritiert die ermittelnden Polizisten um Kurt Wallander. Und dann hatte die alte Bäuerin, kurz bevor sie im Krankenhaus starb, den Beamten noch einen letzten, seltsamen Hinweis gegeben ... (Klappentext)
  Fredo68 | May 14, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 152 (next | show all)
Mankell was developing not only the characters but his own style, here, which is not nearly as polished as some later works..Faceless Killers is a worthwhile read for those who've come to the Wallander series late, perhaps through the recent BBC series with Kenneth Branaugh, or as a re-read for long-time series fans. Since most of the tension in the book comes from the characters, not the mystery they're solving, even knowing the ending doesn't take much away from this very solid book.
 

» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mankell, Henningprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mannila, MarkkuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murray, Steven T.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Polet, CoraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puleo, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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He has forgotten something, he knows that for sure when he wakes up.
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...Wallander realized he was not alone in his feelings of uncertainty and confusion at the new society that was emerging.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Sinopsis de la contratapa: En este histórico primer encuentro con sus lectores, el inspector Wallander debe resolver un caso casi tan complicado como su vida personal. Mientras procura desenmascarar a los despiadados asesinos de una anciana que ha muerto con la palabra "extranjero" en la boca antes de que los prejuicios raciales latentes en la comunidad desaten una ola de violencia vengadora, Wallander debe enfrentar el abandono de su esposa, la hostilidad de su hija, la demencia senil de su padre y hasta su propio deterioro físico a causa del exceso de alcohol y comida barata y la falta de sueño. Wallander terminarán por hallar la inesperada solución del caso, pero sus problemas familiares no acabarán con este libro. Por no hablar de los de su país, arrojado a una nueva era en la que, como cree el inspector, "la inquietud aumentará bajo el cielo".
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