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The Terrorists: A Martin Beck Police Mystery (10) (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Paperback – July 27, 2010


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Frequently Bought Together

The Terrorists: A Martin Beck Police Mystery (10) (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) + Cop Killer: A Martin Beck Police Mystery (9) (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) + The Locked Room: A Martin Beck Police Mystery (8) (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 2 edition (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307390888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307390882
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Rendered with crisp, elegant prose and tension so thick the reader could crack a tooth.”—Dennis Lehane, from the introduction 
  
“Of all the Sjöwall/Wahlöö books, The Terrorists be the tightest in organization and the most suspenseful.”—The New York Times

"One of the most authentic, gripping and profound collections of police procedurals ever accomplished."--Michael Connelly
 
“Lively, stylistically taut . . . Sjöwall and Wahlöö changed the genre.”—Henning Mankell
 
“The Sjöwall-Wahlöö style and stories are dramas that expose fascinating truths about modern life.”—Chicago Tribune
 
“The most superb new police mystery writer of recent years has been the tandem Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Sjöwall and Wahlöö are still the best writers of police procedure in the world.”—Birmingham Post
 
“The whole series has an immediacy to it that is both honest and awesome. These are the kind of books you can’t help but read in one sitting.”—Minnesota Daily
 
"The [Martin Beck] series has maintained such a degree of excellence that comparisons are near impossible."--Minneapolis Tribune

Language Notes

Text: English, Swedish (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The last book of The Story of Crime series is the funniest as well as the saddest.
Roadshow1
Reading this now, I haven't changed the view I had then _ the Sjowall/Wahloo series was among the best written detective series ever.
Dave Goldberg
Beck's motivations and actions seem very out-of-character, the plot is ridiculous, and the writing is unusually poor.
daveklein222

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig VINE VOICE on August 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
That quote, from Swedish science-fiction writer Sam Jerrie Lundwall, seems an appropriate frame of reference not only for "The Terrorists" but for all ten stories in the Inspector Martin Beck series. It struck me as I was reading this final book that the portrait that Sjowall and Wahloo has drawn is one of a society teetering on the edge of a fine line between Utopia and Dystopia.

Set in 1975, The Terrorists finds Inspector Martin Beck placed in charge of a Swedish inter-agency anti-terrorist group. Its purpose is to foil what the intelligences services have determined is an assassination attempt against a visiting U.S. Senator. Two other story-lines flesh out the novel: a wealthy pornographer has been murdered in his mistresses' apartment; and a young homeless, somewhat addled waif of a girl has been charged with bank robbery. Any additional detail would likely include spoilers so I'll just not for the record that the plot lines work admirably well together and kept me interested throughout.

In previous reviews of books in the Inspector Beck series I've noted that two things attracted me and kept me interested in the series: the well-drawn characters of Inspector Beck and his colleagues and the setting, Sweden from 1965 to 1975. The Terrorists is no exception on either count. However, in this case Sjowall and Wahloo's last look (Wahloo died shortly after the book was finished) at Swedish society was disturbing and moving.

Sweden in the 60s and 70s was in the midst of transforming itself into a social-democratic state based on the principles of egalitarianism and social welfare/justice for all. But, despite being committed socialists, Sjowall and Wahloo saw the dysfunction, social disruption and despair brought about by this transformation.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Larry Dunn on January 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although it has been several years since I read this book, it is the culmination of a great series that is part mystery, part social commentary and part satire. All of the Martin Beck mysteries are good and should be read in order beginning with Roseanne and ending with this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Patto TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
Sjöwall and Wahlöö called the Martin Beck series The Story of Crime. This book is the perfect climax to their ambitious fictional undertaking. It deals with terrorism at all levels.

On the personal level, we witness the murder of a filthy rich producer of porno films. He's been a kind of one-man terrorist against young girls, luring them into nasty roles in his movies. Sjöwall and Wahlöö clearly relish the irony of hunting down a murderer who, in fact, has done society a favor.

Then we meet a victim of state terrorism. A young mother named Rebecka finds life impossible in Sweden's welfare state and falls into terrible trouble.

On an international level, we follow the assassinations of high-profile political leaders by a seemingly unbeatable organization of highly trained killers. Beck reluctantly accepts the job of safeguarding a likely target of this terrorist group. A U.S. senator, a reactionary warmonger, is about to visit Sweden. Again we have the irony of protecting the undeserving against monsters equally terrible.

The diverse subplots are quite well orchestrated, offering the reader lots and lots of tense moments, as well as some high comedy.

I'm fascinated by the fact that, although Sjöwall and Wahlöö are Marxists, they've created Martin Beck - a humane, intelligent, complex individual with no visible political agenda.

To my mind Beck transcends ideologies - quietly and effectively doing his job - and especially transcends the Marxism of his authors. On the surface he's the ideal worker, yet he thinks for himself and sidesteps authority far too often to be a mere worker bee.

I suggest reading this series entire and in order, along with a friend, as I've been doing with my husband. We've really enjoyed discussing the character of Martin Beck and debating the worldview of Sjöwall and Wahlöö.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dave Goldberg on October 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read most of these _ although not this one _ about a decade after they were written 40 years ago. Reading this now, I haven't changed the view I had then _ the Sjowall/Wahloo series was among the best written detective series ever. Certainly, they were the inspiration for the current boom in Scandanivian crime fiction, but much more for, say, Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallender series than for the cartoonish (cinematic) works of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo.

All the Sjowall/Wahloo books were snapshots of Swedish society in the 1960s and '70s but none as much as this one, filled with Dickensian characters and finishing as an indictment of a failed attempt at socialism _ they seem to prefer communism that really seems to be a more utopian version of socialism than the Soviet system.

But forget the politics. Take the snapshots of Sweden and simply take the superior mystery writing _ and you've got ten of the finest police procedurals ever written. Yes, there is a school that can be called Scandinavian mystery writing, but it's more typical _ and more graceful _ in these novels than in the Larsson version. An aside: I recent finished a British version of Nesbo's "The Leopard,'' (Norway rather than Sweden) and it was almost unreadable, including 50 pages alone on a himan-induced landslide that has endless pages of human suffering. I notice the soon-to-be released U.S. version is 75 pages shorter. It could be trimmed by another 75 pages and that wouldn't be enough. By contrast, the Sjowall/Wahloo books are tight, pithy and to the point.

Most of all, they're about people. Enjoy the Larsson/Nesbo action all you want. I do. But those are comic books. These are novels.
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