From Publishers Weekly
In Mankell's stellar 10th Wallander mystery, the generational torch passes from father Kurt to his equally stubborn daughter, Linda, who recently finished her police training and is anxiously awaiting her first day on the job. But a seemingly random series of events jump-starts her career and enmeshes her and her father, along with Stefan Lindman, the detective featured in The Return of the Dancing Master
(2004), in a case with global ramifications. The book begins on a bizarrely disquieting note: someone is setting animals--wild swans, a farmer's calf--on fire. Then Linda begins investigating, unofficially, the disappearance of her friend Anna Westin. And the stakes for everyone are raised when Linda finds the ritualistically mutilated corpse of Birgitta Medberg, a local cultural historian. A complex (but wholly credible) narrative connects these events with a terrorist plot led by a survivor of the 1978 mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. As always with Mankell, the mystery is connected to larger issues--the decline of Swedish civility, of course, but also the danger of religious fundamentalism (the events are set in the weeks before 9/11)--but polemics never trumps suspense in this extraordinarily compelling drama. (Feb. 8)
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*Starred Review* Crime novelists always struggle with what to do when a successful series turns repetitive. Perhaps the wisest tack is to introduce new characters into the familiar milieu. K. C. Constantine and John Harvey have used this approach effectively, and now Mankell joins the group. Even before his superb Kurt Wallander series, starring the world-weary Swedish police detective, had lost much momentum, Mankell turned his focus to a younger cop, Stefan Lindman (The Dancing Master
[BKL Mr 1 04]); now he goes one step further by turning the star billing over to Wallander's daughter, Linda, a rookie patrolman beginning work at her father's cop shop in Ystad. But even before Linda shows up for her first day, she finds herself involved in one of Kurt's investigations. When the disappearance of Linda's former best friend appears linked to a grisly murder, father and daughter must quickly learn to interact as colleagues. This is a fine thriller on its own--the plot's tentacles stretch back to cult leader Jim Jones--but Mankell's real triumph is to stay focused on Linda, a rookie cop whose expertise and worldview are entirely different from her father's, while at the same time revealing new and fascinating aspects of the curmudgeonly Kurt's character. Crime writers eager to inject new energy into a series without losing the core of their books' appeal need only consult Mankell. Bill OttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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