Customer Reviews


83 Reviews
5 star:
 (49)
4 star:
 (20)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grim, grumpy but gripping
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...
Published on 8 Jan 2004 by Martin Myers

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wallander's mid-life crisis
Surely, the quality of Henning Mankell (HM)'s oeuvre is uneven. Books rooted in Africa are his most passionate creations, but not all are great reads. The same applies to his 10-book Wallander-series and a string of other crime novels. Most are entertaining or thrilling, some are memorable and brilliant, and a few disappoint. After completing this tiresome, overlong 8th...
Published 15 months ago by P. A. Doornbos


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grim, grumpy but gripping, 8 Jan 2004
By 
Martin Myers "martinmyers3" (Muenchenbuchsee near Bern, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Firewall (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. I was a little disappointed with "Dogs of Riga" and "White Lioness" simply because they seemed to veer away from police procedural and into thriller territory. Firewall is more like "The Fifth Woman" and "Sidetracked". The reader gets to see the story mainly from Wallander's point of view but there is also some things seen from the criminal's eye, to put the reader slightly ahead of the police, but still not in the whole picture. You can never be sure where the investigation is going to lead to. Despite what I said earlier there's plenty of action too.
I also think that Mankell gets the mix of Wallander's private and professional life about right. There's enough to make the detective interesting as a human being but without being too much of a diversion from the meat of the book. As usual Wallander spends most of the book tired, bad-tempered and at the end of his tether and has very little time for a private life anyway. This case has a bit more office politics in it than in previous novels.
In general, the book seems very realistic, although I would say that artistic licence has been stretched a bit in a few places. Some things are never explained, which in some way adds to the realism because I'm sure in real life cases are not as neatly wrapped up in a bundle as conveniently as they are in most mystery stories. However I'm not entirely convinced by the criminal's behaviour at certain points. These are only minor grumbles. I see no letting up in the quality of the overall series with this entry. I find it really hard to compare these works to any other detective fiction availabe at the moment. Wallander might be a bit of a misery, but I'm keen to see what the future holds for him. I eagerly await the next translation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Firewall, Henning Mankell, 4 Aug 2004
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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. There's a warmth in the team which surrounds Wallander, and the way they work together. He doesn't have a particularly antagonistic boss, or any colleague he particularly dislikes. They all play their part, they all play their role in a cohesive policing team, and it's a joy to watch it as it works. Mankell knows that otherwise his series may be just TOO bleak and depressing, so the team exists in a happy unity which is far more realistic.
As you may have guessed, I adore this series. Wallander is a superb protagonist, and while just now I said he was the stereotypical loner, in all honesty he isn't. He's actually completely different to his counterparts Bosch and Rebus, etc. Instead of being the attractive loner, he is REAL, he is HUMAN. He gets angry properly (rather than Rebus would), like a child - in Firewall his frustration becomes such that he snaps and throws a chair across a colleague's office. There isn't a single investigator like him.
Do yourself a favour - read this series. Don't start here (Faceless Killers is the first). It isn't for everybody, but serious fans of crime fiction cannot afford to pass it by.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Makell's best, 11 Feb 2010
By 
M. R. Bury (Beckenham, Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A novel full of twists and turns, 21 Jun 2009
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).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 22 May 2009
I love all the Wallender series I feel just like him but without being a copper. Great read, can't for the next one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 25 Sep 2006
By 
Ross Maccabee (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Firewall (Mass Market Paperback)
This was my first Mankell book and i couldn't put it down. Excellent pace, great plot, intriguing characters VERY well written. I'm now reading the White Lioness (written a couple of years before) and you can tell that Mankells writing has improved slightly in this time...... future books, i'm sure, will be even better.

A MUST READ BOOK
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Firewall, Henning Mankell, 7 Aug 2004
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Firewall (Mass Market Paperback)
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. There's a warmth in the team which surrounds Wallander, and the way they work together. He doesn't have a particularly antagonistic boss, or any colleague he particularly dislikes. They all play their part, they all play their role in a cohesive policing team, and it's a joy to watch it as it works. Mankell knows that otherwise his series may be just TOO bleak and depressing, so the team exists in a happy unity which is far more realistic.
As you may have guessed, I adore this series. Wallander is a superb protagonist, and while just now I said he was the stereotypical loner, in all honesty he isn't. He's actually completely different to his counterparts Bosch and Rebus, etc. Instead of being the attractive loner, he is REAL, he is HUMAN. He gets angry properly (rather than Rebus would), like a child - in Firewall his frustration becomes such that he snaps and throws a chair across a colleague's office. There isn't a single investigator like him.
Do yourself a favour - read this series. Don't start here (Faceless Killers is the first). It isn't for everybody, but serious fans of crime fiction cannot afford to pass it by.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wallander's mid-life crisis, 29 May 2013
By 
This review is from: Firewall: Kurt Wallander (Paperback)
Surely, the quality of Henning Mankell (HM)'s oeuvre is uneven. Books rooted in Africa are his most passionate creations, but not all are great reads. The same applies to his 10-book Wallander-series and a string of other crime novels. Most are entertaining or thrilling, some are memorable and brilliant, and a few disappoint. After completing this tiresome, overlong 8th police procedural about a whining and paranoid Kurt Wallander (KW), author HM shelved him as a character for > 10 years. [But also gave him a superb cameo role in a much better crime novel starring KW's daughter Linda in 2002.]
In `Firewall`, KW (50, long divorced) is an annoying, depressed book character with no friends, close colleagues or companions. Despite dieting, he is still a secret diabetic and becoming forgetful and prone to acting impulsively. This book is pure Nordic gloom, not a pleasure to read given its size and convoluted, poorly researched plot.
Twenty pages from the finish, this reader still does not know what disaster the thriller foretells, despite all the self-doubt, self-pity and other feelings of the hero. What is the conspiracy that killed at least three out of more than a handful of people in this book? Whatever the conspiracy is really about, upgraded somewhere in the book to have a worldwide impact and to be devastating economically, is for readers to enjoy. It must be something totally devious, brilliant or silly...
This thriller starts energetically with a man found dead in front of a cash machine, and with two wayward girls (14, 19) confessing to killing a 60-year old taxi driver. Then, strange things begin to happen in a police procedural with KW and his team working long hours. A key question is: does KW listen to his instincts and inputs from his staff and makes the right decisions?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just gets better and better, 20 May 2013
By 
joc66 (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Firewall: Kurt Wallander (Paperback)
I'm working my way through the Wallander books in order, and this one ranks amongst the best in the series. The story begins with the death of a man near a cash machine, while in a separate incident, two young girls are arrested for the murder of a taxi driver. The characters and setting will be reassuringly familiar to those who have read the earlier books, and I would recommend reading the series in order because Mankell does refer to previous events in the later books. Wallander himself is aging although his health seems to have stabilised after his battle with diabetes in One Step Behind: Kurt Wallander: Kurt Wallander, Volume 7. However, he continues to be baffled by the developments in modern Swedish society, and in this case specifically, the vulnerability of so many of its key institutions to cyber-crime. Wallander has more personal vulnerabilities too which are brought to the fore in this story in both his personal and professional relationships. Wallander himself is of course the flawed central character and in Mankell's hands he rises above the stereotype that he could so easily have become. Police investigations in Ystad are very much a team effort, and fans of the books will know that "meetings" of the investigating team are a common feature. The other characters such as Hoglund, Nyberg and Martinsson are well-drawn and the changing dynamic between them prevents the series from becoming static. This is an excellent installment in an superb series that just keeps getting better and better.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GRIPPING!, 23 Feb 2013
By 
Ms Alison Baxter (Toowoomba, Qld Australia) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Firewall: Kurt Wallander (Paperback)
I am a huge fan of Henning Mankell's. I recommend you read all the books in order, but start with The Pyramid as Mankell sets up the Wallander character and his early career and marriage. Then read them all in order. They are all not-put-downable! But this one, FIREWALL, was even more gripping! Fantastic writing. Great story. Mankell's a Master.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Firewall: Kurt Wallander
Firewall: Kurt Wallander by Henning Mankell (Paperback - 6 Dec 2012)
3.85
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews