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Faceless Killers: Kurt Wallander [Kindle Edition]

Henning Mankell
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)

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Book Description

One frozen January morning at 5am, Inspector Wallander responds to what he believes is a routine call out. When he reaches the isolated farmhouse he discovers a bloodbath.

An old man has been tortured and beaten to death, his wife lies barely alive beside his shattered body, both victims of a violence beyond reason. The woman supplies Wallander with his only clue: the perpetrators may have been foreign. When this is leaked to the press, it unleashes a tide of racism.

Wallander's life is a shambles. His wife has left him, his daughter refuses to speak to him, and even his ageing father barely tolerates him. He works tirelessly, eats badly, and drinks his nights away. But now Wallander must forget his troubles and throw himself into a battle against time and against mounting racial hatred.

Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger for Sidetracked.

Books In This Series (10 Books)
Complete Series

  • Product Description

    Amazon Review

    A new world had emerged, and he hadn't even noticed it. As a policeman, he still lived in another, older world. How was he going to learn to live with the new? . . We live as if we were in mourning for a lost paradise, he thought...

    It could be said that as a policeman, Kurt Wallander, Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell's award winning creation, isn't much cop. He eschews the meticulous and the scientific in favour of his hunches, which all too often lead up blind alleys. He drinks too much, then drives. He doesn't get enough sleep. And to cap it all, his wife has left him and his daughter doesn't speak to him.

    Faceless Killers is the first of the acclaimed Wallander novels. Set in January 1990, in a frozen landscape and against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Europe, this is a bleak novel that deals with the thorny issues of immigration and racial hatred. Wallander investigates a brutal double murder at a remote farmhouse in which the only possible clues are the whispered words of a dying woman and a freshly fed horse. When this limited evidence and its implications leak to the press it stirs right wing activists into action.

    At times Wallander seems too much like the traditional hard-drinking, hard-living, hard-boiled detective of old, but he is more than that. He is a truth seeker, trying to make sense of his rapidly changing world, his method happens to be detective work, and it is this search that lies at the philosophical heart of the novel.

    --Iain Robinson


    "An exquisite novel of mesmerizing depth and suspense" (Margo Kaufman Los Angeles Times)

    "Mankell is one of the most ingenious crime writers around. Highly recommended" (Observer)

    "Mankell is in the first division of crime writing" (The Times)

    "An excellent thriller" (Independent)

    "By far the best writer of police mysteries today" (Michael Ondaatje)

    Product details

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 763 KB
    • Print Length: 306 pages
    • Publisher: Vintage Digital (14 Feb. 2010)
    • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 009957182X
    • ISBN-13: 978-0099571827
    • ASIN: B0038AUYV4
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,857 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    More About the Author

    Henning Mankell has become a worldwide phenomenon with his crime writing, gripping thrillers and atmospheric novels set in Africa. His prize-winning and critically acclaimed Inspector Wallander Mysteries are currently dominating bestseller lists all over the globe. His books have been translated into over forty languages and made into numerous international film and television adaptations: most recently the BAFTA-award-winning BBC television series Wallander, starring Kenneth Branagh. Mankell devotes much of his free time to working with Aids charities in Africa, where he is also director of the Teatro Avenida in Maputo.

    In 2008, the University of St Andrews conferred Henning Mankell with an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in recognition of his major contribution to literature and to the practical exercise of conscience.

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Really Good! 15 Dec. 2008
    By Dot
    Format:Mass Market Paperback
    Faceless Killers is the first book in the Inspector Wallander series by Henning Mankell. It is like no other crime novel that I have read. It is set in Sweden and this is integral to the book; Mankell is describing the deterioration of the Swedish culture throughout his story. Wallander is shocked at the violent murders that have taken place; in many other crime novels these would have seemed expected and run-of-the-mill almost.
    Wallander as a character is a brilliant creation. In many ways he is the stereo-typical overweight, divorced police inspector. However, he is much more complex than that; you feel that his career has taken over his life yet he is still struggling to decide what life is all about and what he wants out of it. You get a real sense that he is not a detective that merely wants a result; he wants to try and understand why these brutal crimes are committed.
    I will definitely read the other books in the series, Mankell really draws you in but the book is so much more than a mere page-turner
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    23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it's that seedy Swedish bloke 2 Oct. 2010
    By John Williams TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    This was no great work of literature, and possibly lost something in the translation, but I give it five stars because it did exactly what I wanted it to, which was to keep me amused on holiday. I've long been a fan of the Wallander TV series (not Kenneth Branagh - the proper one) so I was intrigued to know what the original books were like, and thought it wise to start with the first one just in case I then wanted to read the rest. This book lived up to its expectations, with Wallander and his colleagues struggling with their sometimes dreary and difficult private lives whilst at the same time trying to solve gruesome crimes. The atmosphere of the long Swedish winter is captured perfectly. The book has a map of Skane, the area of southern Sweden where it is set. (All good books should have maps; saves me the trouble of digging out my atlas, which I otherwise feel compelled to do.) I enjoyed this book very much, and hope to read more of them. Perfect for that long flight.
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    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great booko 9 May 2010
    Excellent detective story. Mankel is a very good writer, and the translator seems to have done an excellent job as well. Gripping from start to finish, Mankel maintains the tension and keeps the pages turning with consumate ease. My first Wallender, and it certainly won't be the last
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read this year 5 Nov. 2011
    I'd already come across Kurt Wallander thanks to the excellent Kenneth Branagh series, but this is the first time I've picked up one of the original novels. Happily, I liked it so much that I'm all ready to go on a rampage and buy the rest of the books AND the two television series. I love it when that happens!

    The novel opens with the discovery of a horrific murder in the isolated farming community of Lunnarp. Called in by a terrified neighbour, Inspector Wallander arrives to find a mutilated and bloodied old man dead in his farmhouse bedroom. His wife is alive, but only barely, with a noose cruelly knotted around her neck. Armed with a host of confusing clues, uneasy hunches and the word 'foreign', repeated by the old woman on her deathbed, Wallander and his team must pull out all the stops to find the killers before the media storm around the case sparks a national wave of racial hate crime.

    I found the whole novel absolutely fascinating, and it was a great brain work-out. I couldn't stop mulling over everything that had happened so far, and every time I put the book down I was itching to get back to it again! I think it helps that the reader is basically inside Kurt Wallander's mind from start to finish, even though it's written in the third person. He's a thoughtful, clever, kind and immensely human character, with a fierce sense of justice and a touch of quiet vulnerability - the kind of cop every reader will be rooting for! I also liked that this was very much a procedural novel, rather than a forensic gorefest, and the way the Swedish setting really came to life on the page. Mr Mankell - you have another new convert! Highly recommended.
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    61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Wallender - a human cop 23 Dec. 2008
    Having seen Kenneth Branagh play Wallender on TV, I was intrigued to see for myself the original source. I'm not disappointed. The character of Wallender is nicely developed as an 'every-man' -a middle-aged man trying to do a difficult job that wrecks relationships, (I'm an ex-cop, and know that this aspect of the job is all too common) while trying to cope with the changes in society that seem always to be for the worst. As for the 'coincidences and luck' that lead to the eventual capture of the killers - that's how it is in reality. Someone remembers something that they thought was trivial, and it leads to a conviction. Cops spend an awful lot of time going up blind alleys, chasing false leads. It's worth remembering that criminals don't want to be caught, and often succeed in evading the law. So, for other reviewers to criticise the luck element in the story is naive. Well worth a read, but don't expect James Ellroy or Kathy Reichs.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    By John M VINE VOICE
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    This is the first book in the Inspector Kurt Wallander series. The story is largely a police procedural investigating a couple of murders in provincial south Sweden. The plot is quite a simple one made seemingly more complex by a series of red-herrings. It encompasses themes of illegal immigration and asylum into Sweden, and written in 1990 obviously anticipates the future political climate in this regard. Translated from Swedish, the story is told in a simple linear manner without any complex language. A very simple straightforward writing style which is OK for a book in the thriller/murder genre, but would be a little superficial in other genres. The procedure is detailed in swift and short sentences , in a rather 'Wallander did this, then Wallander did that' manner. Lots of characters and places with Sweidish names appear in a rapid manner and are difficult to keep track of. Wallander is an interesting character, in a somewhat Inspector Morse meets Rebus manner. Although I would read a further book in the series, this novel was definitely in the 'not good but not bad category'. Easy and undemanding (if you can keep up with all the Swedish names and places!)
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