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Starred Review. First published in Sweden in 1994, Mankell's terrific fourth Kurt Wallender mystery opens with the kind of startling image typical of this internationally bestselling series (Firewall, etc.): a lawyer, driving home through the fog, stops after he sees "a human-sized effigy" propped on a chair in the middle of a deserted highway. Gustaf Torstensson gets out of the car to investigate, is hit from behind and was "dead before his body hit the damp asphalt." The police accept the assailant's claim that it was an accident, but when Torstensson's son, Sten, is shot dead just two weeks later, the brooding Wallender, who's on sick leave and vowing to retire from the Ystad police force, decides to pursue the killer and resume his career. The chief suspect—a powerful, globe-trotting Swedish businessman who's the smiling man of the title—leads Wallender on an exquisitely plotted search for motive and evidence. Dark and moody, this is crime fiction of the highest order. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Swedish crime writer Mankell has taken U.S. publishing by storm over the last decade, launching a genre-altering invasion of his fellow Scandinavian mystery authors and (with other Europeans such as John Harvey and Andrea Camilleri) reinterpreting the notion of the hard-boiled hero. No longer the strong, silent, stand-up guy of American fiction, the new European hero, led by Mankell's Kurt Wallander, faces the horrors of the modern world with a sagging spirit, nearly overwhelmed. Lately, though, Mankell has rested Wallander, focusing instead on other cops in and around Ystad, Sweden, including Wallander's daughter, Linda, the star of Before the Frost (2005). Now the series returns to Wallander but backtracks in time. The Man Who Smiled, written in 1994, was the fourth in the series but is only now appearing in the U.S. It finds Wallander on the verge of quitting the Ystad police force; then a friend who had asked for his help is killed, and the would-be retiree is compelled to go back to work. The case that unfolds, involving a the head of a multinational corporation who traffics in the selling of human organs, opens yet another window on the unimaginable horrors of modern life, but this time Wallander responds with new resolve. Devotees of the series will be thrilled to pick up this missing chapter in the ongoing saga, but it is a bit disconcerting to keep the chronology straight. Still, any new Wallander novel--in whatever order--constitutes a major event in crime fiction. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I love the Kurt Wallander books, so I am not without bias, however when compared with the rest of the Wallander series, this is not the best. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Reader in Seattle
Would not use any of the descriptions given by you for the book. I am still getting used to Mr. Mankell. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Belle
I can't get enough of Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series. I've had to slow down because I've gone through them so fast that I have only a few more to read and then must go on... Read morePublished 1 month ago by S. Warfield
The ending is false and overdrawn and obviously written for a possible movie,Published 1 month ago by jean b. naas
Loved the book and I'm a huge fan of the Wallendar books, I want to read them all.Published 1 month ago by Linda
This is my second time around for many of the Kurt Wallander series books by Henning Mankell. First soft covers now Kindle. Read morePublished 1 month ago by mole
First, if Amazon ever again sends me a request to rate that includes questions about violence and sexual content, I will refuse to rate. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Leslie Levy