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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dogs of Riga, Henning Mankell - The Policeman who came in from the cold
This is the second of Henning Mankell's novels featuring Swedish Detective Kurt Wallander. Two mysterious bodies are washed up on a deserted Swedish beach. The trail leads to pre Soviet collapse Latvia, and a deep conspiracy in the paranoid world of a police state of which Wallander has no comprehension. Taking his investigation to Riga, he is like a fish out of water,...
Published on 8 April 2010 by Victor

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In which a dogged Scandinavian detective goes 'Le Carre'
Rather different to the first Wallander novel, this one took me by surprise by venturing into Le Carre territory involving our dogged detective in an international conspiracy in Latvia - so less of a police procedural and more of a spy thriller.
It starts off with two bodies in a life-raft, who turn out to be Latvian. When the Latvian major who comes to Sweden to...
Published on 22 July 2008 by Annabel Gaskell


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dogs of Riga, Henning Mankell - The Policeman who came in from the cold, 8 April 2010
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Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dogs of Riga: Kurt Wallander (Paperback)
This is the second of Henning Mankell's novels featuring Swedish Detective Kurt Wallander. Two mysterious bodies are washed up on a deserted Swedish beach. The trail leads to pre Soviet collapse Latvia, and a deep conspiracy in the paranoid world of a police state of which Wallander has no comprehension. Taking his investigation to Riga, he is like a fish out of water, trying to find the truth in a world of lies. On his own in a strange world, I was reminded of the atmosphere of a Le Carre novel, such as `The Spy Who Came In From The Cold'. There is a sense of paranoia running through the book, with Wallander unable to trust anyone while completely in the dark about what it is that he is actually involved in.

Mankell is a fine writer on many counts. He manages to construct clever plots and believable mysteries, showing the police procedural side with fascinating detail. Kurt Wallander is a well written protagonist, with many personal flaws and a difficult private life. In the hands of other writers these might seem like annoying characteristics brought in solely to make the character interesting, but as written by Mankell they seem just right. Finally, Mankell writes with a great feeling for atmosphere. He contrasts the free and open Sweden with the dark and paranoid Riga with consummate ease. There is a sense of moodiness in the books, a dark, heavy feeling which pervades every page, you feel as though you are suffocating under it, then every now and then there is a breath of fresh air, you take a gulp then dive back into the dark and murky world.

I loved this book, a great read that really made me think, educated me and, most of all, entertained me with a gripping tale. Highly recommended!
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Atmospheric Journey, 9 Jan 2003
This review is from: The Dogs of Riga (Paperback)
Of the two 'Kurt Wallander' novels I have read, 'The Dogs of Riga' is the weaker: 'Faceless Killers' has a more compelling plot, and a more interesting narrative. However, 'The Dogs of Riga' is still a very good book. The ending is slightly cluttered, with Mankell pushing credibility a little, but the novel as a whole is an excellent portrait of a determined Swedish Police detective who happens to be a little unlucky and a little unhealthy.
'The Dogs of Riga' is basically a Police Procedural detective novel and a no-details-ignored, everything-included study of a middle-aged man going through a variety of problems, whether they be medical, personal, or career-related. We may not aspire to be like Wallander in all respects, but the character earns the respect, admiration, and - at times - symphathy of the reader. Mankell weaves the most mundane details of Wallander's life and police investigations into a narrative which is always compelling. And he is astute not only with regard to character: there is a superb sense of geographical place, time, and politics in these novels. And this sense is nuanced, and not in any way simplistic. If anything, Mankell paints the world in too realistic a way: it is so plausible and real that reading about certain aspects of it can be depressing.
Recommended, although 'Faceless Killers' is the first novel, in terms of Wallander's chronology. After reading 'Faceless Killers' and 'The Dogs of Riga', read 'Sidetracked' and 'The Fifth Woman', in that order.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 5 Dec 2009
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This review is from: The Dogs of Riga: Kurt Wallander (Paperback)
I have just read this in one long run during a very long day of train journeys. I found it absolutely riveting. I love the fact that Wallander is an ordinary, imperfect man. He tries to do the right thing but doesn't always manage it. As the story progresses we can see him become more and more mentally and physically exhausted. When he gets too tired he drinks too much and almost mucks things up, pulling things back at the last moment. The setting in Latvia-with its atmosphere of menace and not being able to fully trust anyone is fascinating.It doesn't matter that the Iron Curtain has come down-there are still plenty of countries like this around. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unusual adventure for Inspector Wallander, 23 April 2010
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Bluebell (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dogs of Riga: Kurt Wallander (Paperback)
I've only recently discovered this splendid Wallander series of books and have been reading them out of chronological order so some of the consequences of this story were revealed in a book I'd already read The Man Who Smiled but this didn't spoil my enjoyment of an exciting narrative. Henning Mankell has created an interesting and complex man in Wallander and has so far avoided his stories falling into a predictable pattern other than that there's usually a paging-turning climax in which Wallander is pitted against the baddies and often as not he is operating outwith accepted police-protocol. As with the The White Lioness much of The Dogs of Riga, as the title implies, is set out of Sweden and, although there is a crime at the centre of the latter book, it is more a thriller than a detective story with Wallander acting unofficially in Latvia trying to sort out a covered-up murder that he no longer has authority to investigate and so is completely out on a limb and vulnerable. It's a very atmospheric book and gets over the claustrophobic and soul-destroying life for ordinary people in a totalitarian state.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Growing Quality, 27 Jan 2005
This review is from: The Dogs of Riga (Paperback)
I was surprised by a previous reviewer's comment that they found Dogs of Riga unengaging - I found it totally compelling. I do think that there are production glitches - sloppy editorial work on Vintage's part which seriously interfere with the readability of the book - but that aside Wallender is a very engaging, somewhat Rebus-esque hero. In this volume he finds himself sucked almost powerlessly into the decaying world of the collapsing Communist regime of Latvia. I enjoyed Faceless Killers, the previous volume, but I think Dogs of Riga is a dramatic step up in terms of sophistication. You can feel the author inhabiting Wallender's skin more fully with every page. Excellent stuff, I say!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great yarn, 8 Dec 2009
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I. A. Wright "Ian Wright" (Didcot, Oxon, England) - See all my reviews
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It's always best to read or listen to the Wallander stories in chronological order. However, that's not entirely necessary, which is just as well when one doesn't know the sequence.

This Wallander tale, from Henning Mankell, is very entertaining. I like the absence of glitz, the thoughtful pacing, and the natural, realistic flaws of the characters. What I didn't appreciate on the CD audiobook was the carelessly sloppy Americanized pronunciation of Swedish names, which took away a lot of the enjoyment of the story.

If you know nothing about Swedish pronunciation, the Dick van Dyke mangling of names won't irritate you, and you will surely enjoy the audiobook to the full. Otherwise, be prepared for frequent teeth-gritting moments... or buy the book, instead.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Riga with love, 10 May 2011
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Mr. J. Gordon "Avidfan" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Yet again Kurt has himself wound up in a spiders web, full of emotions that drag you through horrible crimes, laced with love, hate, entombed in plots that twist and turn and throw up surprises by the bucket full. Pulled like a magnet to Riga, to help the police clear the muddy waters surrounding the murder of a police officer that he knew only briefly. He becomes steeped in drugs,smuggling, and an underworld of resistance against the corrupt goverment and police state.

A cracking read, great plot, that is fast and furious in places, dark and evil in others. Sit back and enjoy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another slightly different Wallander mystery, 23 Feb 2011
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This review is from: The Dogs of Riga: Kurt Wallander (Paperback)
As always, excellent plot development and very real characters - I have now read all the Wallander mysteries and miss having any more to read
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good holiday read, 25 Aug 2010
This review is from: The Dogs of Riga: Kurt Wallander (Paperback)
One of the earlier Wallender novels. Gives a very good insight into Swedish attitudes in relation to the the liberation of the Baltic states in the early 90s. Fast moving plot line although Wallender seemed put himself in harms way alot for a solitary policeman. Some of the narrative had the feel of a spy novel. A good read
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting insight into Latvia at the end of the 80's, 12 Oct 2006
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DubaiReader "MaryAnne" (Rowlands Castle, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dogs of Riga (Paperback)
When a life raft is washed up on the Swedish coast, carrying two frozen corpses, Kurt Wallander is called in to investigate. When its origin is traced to Latvia in the Eastern Bloc, Wallander hopes to pass the case over to their detectives and move on. Needless to say this doesn't happen and he ends up travelling to Latvia to help with the investigation. So far , so good.

It's after he returns from Latvia that events start to become a bit unbelievable and Wallender turns into Superman.

This book was very different from the only other Mankell novel ("Firewall") that I've read, as "The Dogs of Riga" turned into more of a political adventure than a crime novel.

This emphasis initially annoyed me, because of the vague, unformed references to Latvian politics. Ironically, as the picture became clearer, it was this aspect that eventually gave the book its greatest interest.

In the end what most frustrated me was the way a well trained, experienced detective threw himself into a crazy, mad-cap sceme to rescue Latvia on the basis of a brief infatuation.
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The Dogs of Riga: Kurt Wallander
The Dogs of Riga: Kurt Wallander by Henning Mankell (Paperback - 1 Jan 2009)
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