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Firewall (Kurt Wallender Mystery) Paperback – 1 Apr 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Press; New Ed edition (1 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843431734
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843431732
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.2 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,028,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Not too long ago, Henning Mankell was a well-kept secret, but his latest book, Firewall, will be received by readers worldwide with much fanfare, which is as it should be; Mankell is something special. Some of the initial resistance to Mankell's work might be understandable; like one of the greatest of all filmmakers, Ingmar Bergman, Mankell is from a country noted for Nordic gloom and the lazy-minded are not always prepared to go beyond stereotypes. Their loss: like his cinematic compatriot (Mankell is in fact married to Bergman's daughter), this is an artist of rare achievement.

Firewall continues Mankell's unvarnished portraits of modern life, in which society and all its institutions (not least the family) are on the edge. Here, his long-term protagonist, Inspector Kurt Wallander, moves into new area of crime: cyberspace. Various deaths have occurred: the user of a cash machine, a taxi driver killed by two young girls. The country is plunged into blackout by an electricity failure, and a grim find is made at a power station. What's the connection? Wallander finds himself on the trail of cyber terrorists with shady anarchic aims. But can his own malfunctioning team of coppers pull together to help catch them--or is there a fifth columnist in the police? Plotting here is impeccable, although Firewall may not be a prime entry point for those new to Mankell. But Wallander (here worried about his diabetes and failure to lose weight) is one of the great literary coppers: enthusiasts need not hesitate. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"The most impressive new voice in the genre since Ian Rankin" (Mark Lawson Guardian)

"Mankell could turn you to crime" (Daily Telegraph)

"Creepy detail that one shudders to believe is accurate" (DONNA LEON Sunday Times)

"Wonderfully bleak thrillers...somehow unremitting and gripping at the same time" (Independent)

"First class police procedural, written with a firm hand" (Independent on Sunday) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Martin Myers on 8 Jan. 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's hard to say what the attraction is about the Kurt Wallander series: They're not whodunnits; the stories can be as grim as the Southern Swedish landscape where they are set; there's no redeeming humour and the hero is just a normal policeman with no special quirks or character traits. There is nevertheless something remarkably compelling about them. The latest offering, Firewall, is no exception.
Inspector Wallander is a police inspector in Ystaad, Southern Sweden. As usual, he is in despair at what he sees as the gradual erosion of any sort of values in modern swedish society. He is confronted by an appalling example of this when two teenage girls are arrested for the brutal murder of a taxi driver and confess to the crime showing absolutely no signs of remorse. On the same evening a seemingly fit and healthy man drops dead in front of a cash machine, seemingly of natural causes. However, one of the girls escapes from custody and then there's another gruesome episode which seems to link the two events. The plot develops from here with Wallander attempting to piece together what really is behind it all.
The chronology of the series of novels is sometimes hard to follow as the books weren't translated in the order that they were written. If you haven't read any of these before then I would recommend that you start with an earlier novel. This one is actually set after Sidetracked, that is later than any that have so far been translated. The novels stand alone but there are references to events in earlier books. Nothing that spoils any plot however, but it is better to read them in the order they were written.
If you have read these books before then this one is back with what Mankell does best.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Aug. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'm now going to make a broad statement: Mankell's Wallander books form the best detective series that has ever been written. Ever. Michael Ondatje seems to concur, which is just lovely.
Firewall is the 8th full-length novel in the series, and also the last. In the next novel, Wallander retires and we follow the exploits of his daughter Linda, who has also joined the police force. Knowing it was the last was a great shame, because it is also, probably, the very best of this incredibly, astoundingly fine series. At the close of each chapter sadness broke over me like a wave. Wallander may not be the most cheerful company, but he is charming and the most endearing of current detective. Mankell's style is also part of the reason why every single sentence is so spellbinding. I can't say why, I don't know exactly what it is about the way he writes that is so special, but nor do I want to. Like seeing how a magician performs his tricks, that may spoil it a little.
Part of the reason why it's all so engrossing is Mankell's mixture of details. Indeed, he depicts a level of procedural detail that should be all rights be dull, but is instead riveting. The reasons for this a re two: Mankell's superb prose, and the very real impression he has created through the entire series that the crucial breakthrough, the information which might crack the case wide open, could come from absolutely anywhere, from the most mundane of tasks.
Also, it may be true that Wallander is somewhat the stereotypical loner (although like them all he has things about him which make him truly original), the police-force background is not at all stereotypical. Unlike many series where the cop seems to constantly go it alone, Mankell creates a unique sense of teamwork, that I don't think I've ever come across before.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. R. Bury on 11 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the eighth of the Wallander novels. As usual, Mankell builds and maintains the tension of his story through the twists and turns of an investigation into a series of deaths. Though another round of multiple deaths (if not serial killing) in the same area of Southern Sweden stretches credibility, the pace and cleverness of the writing win out. One of Mankell's recognisable devices is to use a lot of dramatic irony - the reader knows what Wallander is just missing in his investigation, and we read with interest (mostly) as he discovers the links which solve the problem. Wallander's musing on Sweden's putative societal breakdown (the end of the golden age of welfare and the rise of a more feral social fabric) leaves the reader not quite knowing where Wallander's politics lie. But this is all to the good - enough is left unsaid to retain interest in the undertow, as well as in the main plot of the novel. A very good read indeed - if you like procedural detective fiction.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By 80s kid on 21 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
The twists and turns come thick and fast in this book and the nearer you get to the end, the harder it is to put down. It's well written with very good descriptions and some wonderfully insightful lines and, you can't help feeling a degree of empathy with Wallender and liking his character. I would recommend reading Sidetracked before reading Firewall, as his demeanor and relationship with other characters, especially his daughter, will make more sense.

You would probably like this book if you like Inspector Wexford, Inspector Frost, that kind of thing. (Although Wallender doesn't have as much humour as Frost).
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