Saturday, October 06, 2012

Faceless Killers

I was all geared up to hate this novel.  For the first 200-odd pages, it just kept dragging. Wallander (the detective) has silly and implausible exploits, makes some somewhat astute guesses and expects to get a medal for it, is mad at his father, and drinks liquor and coffee.  Unlike Kalle Blomqvist of the Girl with the blah blah blah novels, he does not even think to complement his bottomless cups of joe with equally endless generic sandwiches.

But by the end, the author wraps things up nicely and twists things around in an interesting way. (plot spoiler coming) Because the farmer who's the victim of the novel's initial murder made a bunch of secret money back during WWII doing some profiteering, the reader is teed up to expect that the deep repressed sins of the past have revisited him and gotten him killed. This and other red herrings confuse the police team from Ystad quite considerably, but in the end the solution to the puzzle is much more mundane. Wallander impresses by being dogged and sticking to it long enough to figure it out, and the fact that he pulls out of a post-marital breakup slide into drink, burgers, stubble, and stench and sleeps with the hot though married pinch-hit prosecutor even as his colleague gets prostate cancer and his dad works through a touch of dementia somehow works.  Life goes on. Cops solve mysteries. Scandinavians sleep around.

So it's OK, even technically accomplished in a way, but not compelling.  I'll probably read another one, but not soon.

No comments: