From Publishers Weekly
International bestseller Nesser makes his U.S. debut with this classy and rewarding whodunit, which won the Swedish Crime Writers' Academy Prize for Best Novel in 1994. Chief Inspector Van Veeteren, a veteran of 30 years of police work who appreciates fine food and drink, reluctantly cuts short his vacation to help the police chief of the remote town of Kaalbringen and his small crew investigate two ax murders. When the killer claims a third victim and the town's best police investigator disappears without a trace, Van Veeteren, who has left only one case unsolved in his long career, intensifies his hunt. The contemplative inspector believes that in every case a point is reached where enough information has been gathered to solve the crime with "nothing more than some decent thinking." The trick is knowing when that point is reached. Thompson's smooth translation makes this worthy mystery readily accessible to American readers. (Mar.)
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*Starred Review* In the 10 years since the appearance of the first Henning Mankell novel in the U.S., Scandinavian crime writers have been arriving on these shores in steadily escalating numbers. The invasion continues with the U.S. debut of the internationally acclaimed Nesser. Like Mankell's Kurt Wallander, Nesser's Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is certainly world weary, the horrors of twenty-first-century crime weighing heavily on his twentieth-century shoulders, but there is also more than a little Maigret in the Stockholm sleuth. Both sides of his personality are on view here, as Van Veeteren is called away from vacation to help out in distant Kaalbringen, where an ax-wielding serial killer appears to be on the loose. Relying on intuition and charm, the inspector slowly ingratiates himself with the residents of the insular community and bumbles toward a solution, much in the manner of Commissaire Adamsberg, another Maigret descendant, in Fred Vargas' Paris-set Have Mercy on Us All
(2005), also a late--arriving U.S. debut from a European mystery star. No reader of hard-boiled crime fiction should miss the Scandinavians, and Nesser immediately vaults to near-Mankell status. Let's hope Borkmann's Point
, which won the Swedish Crime Writers' Best Novel Award for 1994, is only the first of a steady stream of Nesser imports. Bill OttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved