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71 Reviews
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best police and crime series you can read
This is the 5th book in the Kurt Wallender series and in my view it is the best so far.

What makes a Mankell book so special is the mix of plot, suspense and characterisation of the main characters but in particular Wallender.

In this story Wallender's private life is on the up. His daughter comes to visit him and their relationship so bad in...
Published on 14 July 2007 by Scully Bloke

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as others
I am a great Henning Mankell fan but I must confess I thought this too slow and too long. One of the problems in this type of book when you are given the answer quite early on as to the identity of the killer, is that it then becomes obvious from the clues and yet Wallander cant see that. I felt like screaming at him what he was missing. He would then go off on the...
Published 17 months ago by dixie dean


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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best police and crime series you can read, 14 July 2007
By 
Scully Bloke (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is the 5th book in the Kurt Wallender series and in my view it is the best so far.

What makes a Mankell book so special is the mix of plot, suspense and characterisation of the main characters but in particular Wallender.

In this story Wallender's private life is on the up. His daughter comes to visit him and their relationship so bad in previous novels is now strong. He plans a trip to Italy with his father and he looks forward to the holiday with his new love Baiba.

This is all in complete contrast to the investigation that he heads up, that of multiple violent murders and a suicide of a young girl.

What makes these books special is that you follow Wallenders thought process as he churns the facts, his suspicions and theories. Can he link the murderers, is his investigation heading in the right direction or is it sidetracked by normal police process.

I never rush a Mankell novell. I read every word as there is something to be revealed in nearly every line.

The best police and crime series you can read. It puts the others in the shade.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Wallander Outing, 10 July 2009
By 
J. Milton - See all my reviews
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I first hear of the Wallander series of novels through watching the BBC adaptations. I began at the start and quickly arrived at Sidetracked, the fifth Wallander novel. Sidetracked happened to be one of the three books adapted for TV so when I began reading I was already familiar with what happens in the book. However, this did not spoil my enjoyment of the book.

Sidetracked goes back to the bread and butter of police procedurals, which is by no means a bad thing. Gone are the days of international mischief that have peppered previous novels. Wallander and his team of well-established characters are involved in two cases, which at first do not appear to be related and are committed in the vicinity of Skane - a series of murders involving scalping and the gruesome suicide of a young lady.

There is also a greater insight into Wallander's personal life. His relationships with members of his family begin to warm and his love interest - Baipa - gets a greater mention in this book, which is welcome.

Overall, an excellent Wallander outing. It's easy to see why this book is award-winning
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Mankell, 25 May 2004
By 
Androo (UK) - See all my reviews
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Until I went to Ystad recently, I had no idea what an idyllic and perect small town it is - all cobbled streets and half-timbered cottages. If there's one thing Mankell misdescribes in the Wallander novels, it is the sleepy atmosphere of Ystad. But I guess the idea is that the shocking murders that Inspector Wallander investigates are all the more shocking against this backdrop where in reality there must be next to no crime.
That aside, this is cracking stuff: gruesome murders, fascinating characters, blind alleys, and that typical rush at the end when everything finally falls into place. All the Wallander novels are excellent - this one is probably one of the better ones.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars warm soul of swedish policeman, 10 Feb 2005
By 
Carlos Vazquez Quintana "cvq" (Linares- Spain) - See all my reviews
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Novels by Henning Mankel that have as protagonist to inspector Kurt Wallander you can opine are police books. "Sidetracked" is one of the best, dealing with the theme of a psychopathic killer.
But I personally find the author uses the hook of mystery to expose a big amount of questions so important if not more that the criminal plot. We can begin with the personality of Wallander, a policeman nothing usual, too much sensible for so hard, cruel facts he think has to face, although he overcomes his personal limitations when necessary, but at a considerable personal cost, drinking enormous amounts of coffee and breaking rules and ordnances. For that, in this novel, Wallander lets subconsciously to be sidetracked to avoid the horror he suspects from the beginning. From his police station of Ystad, a small village of South Sweden, the crimes Wallander has to solve, serve an excuse to expose a background of social and politic disarrangement rounding the chaos, details very notable as Swedish society is seen from outside as calm and very equalitarian, although this cases have frequent international implications that go much more far from Sweden. Psychology, ideology, politics and sociology are in this books as relevant as crimes and action. All that it's an engineering piece not easy to ensemble, and some of his novels are better achieved than others, and suppose even can disgust to readers which don't want more than a thriller or disagree with the general thesis of the author.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars read them in chronological order, 14 Nov 2011
By 
I hope I can help readers read Wallander's books in the right order:
1. Faceless killers
2. The dogs of Riga
3. The white lioness
4. The man who smiled
5. Sidetracked
6. The fifth woman
7. One step behind
8. Firewall
9. The pyramid
10. Before the frost (first Linda Wallander book)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tantalising puzzle for overworked hero Wallender, 17 July 2003
By 
Huck Flynn "huckleberry" (northern ireland) - See all my reviews
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The Wallender series is almost uniformly strong if you ignore the rather far fetched "Dogs of Riga" and Sidetracked features the same relentless procedural investigative detail of Faceless Killers, One Step Behind and Fifth Woman. Why would an unknown young woman of foreign origin set fire to herself in a cornfield - Wallender and his team are under pressure once again to unravel the many tangled threads. Blind alleys and false trails stand in their way but progress is made painstakingly against a background of Swedish society in transition from socialist state to modern lawless global economy. Wallender's own health and relationships are also frustrating obstacles but add realism to the plot and he earns your respect and empathy. A satisfying crime thriller despite an almost complete absence of relieving humour or sexual tension. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing murder mystery on a par with Caleb Carr., 27 July 2001
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This review is from: Sidetracked (Panther) (Paperback)
This was an unputdownable book. I don't like murder stories as a rule, but this one was fantastic. It is a terrific translation from the Swedish and keeps a 'cool' style all the way through. You can guess the 'who' long before you get the 'why'. The characters are believable and the story line scary. Try it and see.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swedish crime writing has a new master, 10 Mar 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Sidetracked (Panther) (Paperback)
Swojwall and Wahloo wrote the exceptional Martin Beck series in the 1960's.I never thought they would be surpassed for social comment and a potrait of Swedish society, as well as being excellent detective stories. Well Henning Mankell is the new master with this fantastic police procedural, winner of the CWA Gold dagger.Kurt Wallander is an interesting detective, Morse with a family, a sense of his own limitations, and a conscience about the inequalities in society. In this book he investigates a series of seemingly unconnected brutal murders committed by a crazed serial killer. We know the motive and later in the book the killer which makes the investigative trail even more fascinating. A very enjoyable read I am certainly going to get the rest of the series.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced, deceptively weighty entry in the Wallender stakes, 25 Mar 2009
By 
Jon E (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sidetracked: Kurt Wallander (Paperback)
"Sidetracked" is the fifth novel in Henning Mankell's best-selling Wallender series and also one of the most acclaimed. Although it clocks in at just over 500 pages, it's nevertheless a breezy, page-turning read from Mankell, who seemed to have fully hit his stride with the dogged detective by the time this was first published in 1995.

The story begins with two devastating events that rip into the tranquil midsummer reverie of Skane in southern Sweden. The first, the suicide of a girl who burns herself to death in a field of rape, is actually witnessed by Wallender himself and will haunt him through the rest of the story. The second is the brutal slaying and scalping of a former government minister that sends shockwaves through a country that is distracting itself with Sweden's progress in the World Cup Finals. It's not clear if or how these two events are linked, but when a second prominent citizen is murdered in a similar manner it becomes clear, at least, that a serial killer is at large, plunging Wallender and his team into a race against time to stop him killing again.

As ever in this series, Mankell's attention to the details of the police procedural are quite mesmerising, and by now he has effortlessly mastered the art of weaving into the narrative the ongoing dramas and trivialities of Wallender's personal life without skipping a beat. In fact, this is a supremely well-paced novel, building to a crescendo of tension that is enhanced rather than diminished by the fact that we know the identity of the killer from a fairly early stage. By revealing more than we might expect, Mankell is able to highlight the flashes of intuition, borne of years of experience, that guide Wallender's hard graft and enable him to discover crucial connections where none could reasonably be expected to exist. For the plot that Wallender uncovers is not simply the freak but isolated violence of a deranged killer, but a sinister web of corruption that involves people-trafficking and sexual exploitation and implicates some of the most privileged members of Swedish society. Enthusiastic readers of Mankell's late compatriot Stieg Larsson may like to compare and contrast the similarity of themes and widely different narrative methods found in the work of the two authors. Certainly "Sidetracked" pre-figures and overlaps with the social concerns of Larsson's work in quite interesting ways.

A strong case could be made to readers new to Wallender to start here, though personally I have preferred to read the series in chronological order. The earlier novels are not the best, but the biography of the central character develops in subtle and touching ways as you get to know him. He's not a particularly glamorous or charismatic leading man, but he has a humanity and a modesty that makes him a most engaging and authentic hero.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively readable, 20 Nov 2002
By 
gwi "GWI" (Brighton, Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sidetracked (Panther) (Paperback)
If you need to escape into a good detective story from time to time, Mankell is flavour of the year. Tired of Patricia Cornwell? Mankell’s Inpector Wallander, a middle-aged detective with a social democratic conscience, is the antithesis of the forensic scientist or the Hollywood gumshoe. Beneath the easy prose lies a fearsomely deceptive storyline guaranteed to engulf the reader at warp-drive speed. The political metaphor of Sweden's threatened social democratic consensus provides a suitable arriere fond. I’ve only read one, and there are apparently nine more … a real treat.
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Sidetracked: Kurt Wallander
Sidetracked: Kurt Wallander by Henning Mankell (Paperback - 20 Nov 2008)
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