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Disappointing for the series' fans: tedious as a stand alone novel
on 16 April 2012
I really enjoyed The Killing 1 on TV, at least up to about episode 13 at which point my addiction was tempered by developing irritation at the mounting implausibilities and red herrings which began, it seemed to me, to be generated more for thrills than for character and/or narrative purposes. (I think the second series was overall, better, because not so artificially stretched out.) Still, both TV series of a very high standard.
David Hewson has attempted to follow the series very closely and, in a sense, I think this is what makes the book such an irritating experience, perfectly illustrating some of the differences between a visual medium and books. (Despite claims for new insights etc these strike me as relatively minor features, though to be fair the author comes up with a more plausible and satisfying alternative ending.) The rapid cutting, short scenes and relentless pace presented in the hour long segments of the TV version becomes irritatingly staccato in print, and there is, at 610 pages, a LOT of print. It is VERY dialogue heavy, almost exclusively 'functional' dialogue which tells us things rather than revealing them, and the descriptive elements often read like film script character directions rather than fully imagined scene and character drawing. Hewson seems to me to take the flesh OFF the bones, so to speak, leaving, for this reader at least, a skeleton, something less than a novel and a mere shadow of the series it tracks.
The Killing was never boring, but for me this is. For those who enjoyed the series possbly despite some reservations, this is a similar dish without any of the seasoning, so why read it? For those who haven't seen the series, I can't really imagine why you would be tempted.