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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2011
I was hooked from the beginning by the wry, tightly written style and the descriptions of Newcastle (not the usual cliched grime and deprivation image of crime novels set in the north but quirky places like the Lit & Phil library). The fast-paced plot soon moves to Malmo in Sweden and as the story line rattles along, the author effortlessly gives a real feel for this city, the country and its people. Scottish Strachan is an intersting, likeable but flawed character with a self-depricating humour and it's through his eyes that we see Sweden. The detective Anita Sundstrom is a believable and engaging heroine - refreshing to have a detective as the main character who isn't either a drunk or male. The story grips right to the very last twist. I hope it's the start of a series and that we get to see Anita in action again!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2013
I really enjoyed this book - up to a point. All the way through I had a sneaking suspicion it might turn out like it did, but I thought we'd got past that and then..I got to the end. Initially, I thought the character was joking. I had to re-read the page a few times in case I had misunderstood. Unfortunately I hadn't. I was up for reading the second in the series, but now I'm not sure. Maybe a new author will take all our comments on board. Nobody likes to be made a fool of.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2013
I really enjoyed this book which had me guessing right until the very end. It is right up there with all the popular Scandinavian crime books (Wallander, The Killing etc...)but with an interesting UK angle to the story. If you like a good suspense crime thriller this is for you. I am now looking forward to reading the sequel 'Murder in Malmo'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Sweet but useless journalist Ewan Strachan works for a failing northern English newspaper, having recently been downgraded to working for the monthly lifestyle part of the operation. Strachan is lazy, thinking nothing of copying from elsewhere the articles he "writes" and not in the least able to summon up the enthusiasm for chasing scoops. Desperate to cling on to his job somehow, he attends a showing of an award-winning Swedish film because the director is an old undergraduate friend, Mick Roslyn, with whom he has lost touch. After the two make contact again. Roslyn, who has become a celebrity in Sweden, invites Strachan to Malmo for an interview for a feature, and Strachan manages to persuade his boss to pay for the trip.
On arrival in Malmo, Strachan is plunged into a nightmare when he turns up to do the interview and discovers the body of Roslyn's wife, the star of the film. The ensuing police investigation into this murder is mainly told from the point of view of Anita Sundstrom, an inspector who is highly competent yet who has to put up with sexism and discrimination from her boorish, sometimes less intelligent, superiors. Sundstrom and Strachan strike up a friendship, as the investigation continues down several avenues - could the murder be a crime of passion, a political conspiracy, the work of a deluded ex-serviceman, or an act of vengeance?
There is a lot of detail packed into this 200-page novel. The first section, introducing us to Strachan and his life in England, is too protracted, but the pace picks up once the action shifts to Malmo. The police investigation is told with confidence, the author ringing the changes as new information and suspicions continue to come to light even after initial leads look as if a quick solution has been found. Anita Sundstrom is an attractive character, divorced with a teenage son who is at university, a workaholic and domestically disorganised. Her friendship with Strachan, and indeed Strachan's visit to Malmo, provide the author with a wealth of opportunity to compare Swedish and British behaviour and culture, as well as providing the reader with a great deal of information about the history and geography of Malmo so that if you should ever visit this city, I recommend taking this book with you.
In the end, I felt that the author had been rather unfair in what he chose not to reveal to the reader earlier in the book amid a wealth of other details, for no apparent reason. All the lines of evidence about the mystery come to a climax at the same time to keep the reader guessing right to the end, which is cleverly done, but quite a few aspects depend on facts not having been checked thoroughly or last-minute back-story and revelations that are somewhat plucked out of the air. I do think the ending is something of a cheat, but even so this is a readable, entertaining debut novel; I hope that Anita Sundstrom will be assigned to more cases in future books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2013
To the detriment of this author, I came across this novel straight after finishing Liza Marklund's excellent Annika Bengtzon series with her intelligent plots and complex characters. This wasn't in the same league and had an amateurish feel to it. That said, having visited Malmo last year, I was interested in the descriptions of the city and got quite caught up in the mystery, although I found the characters rather unconvincing and McLeod's constant ramming down the reader's throat of Ewan Strachan's English self-deprecating humour and Anita's attractiveness rather irritating.

*SPOILER ALERT* Having read some of the other reviews here, I was prepared for a rather far-fetched twist at the end, but this - as another reviewer has already pointed out - was dishonest and almost childishly ridiculous. There were also quite a lot of typos throughout the book.

I have however started reading the sequel, 'Murder in Malmo', which is more sophisticated with better storylines, although MacLeod seems to go to even greater pains here to emphasize how good-looking etc Anita (Ok, I get the bloody picture - she's a sexy Swedish cop who isn't aware of how attractive she is, YAWN!). But I'm getting ahead of myself - that's an entirely different review...
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2013
A good twist only works if you get there through clever logic. It doesn't work if you deceive your reader, which is what happens in this book. The writer chooses to let us in on the inner thoughts of pretty much every character in the book, and then goes completely the opposite way. It's not clever, it simply doesn't add up. A pity as the book was quite readable. Won't be getting no 2 though.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 3 October 2013
At first I thought the book held promise - there were patches of excitement and the author did a great job in promoting Malmo. But the ending was very poor - it was as if the author had run out of ideas and just snatched a scenario from thin air.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2011
In this highly readable debut novel,Ewan Strachan is a mediocre
provincial journalist,who feels he can resurrect his ailing career,
when his editor allows him to travel to Malmo to interview Mick
Roslyn,an old university colleague,who has become a famous film
director in Sweden.
Roslyn's film star wife's dead body is discovered by Strachan,and
his stay in Malmo puts him at the centre of a murder investigation,
and he becomes a suspect.The novel them becomes a thrilling police
procedural tale,as the Swedish detectives turn from one suspect to
another.Meanwhile Strachan falls for the attractive female detective.
This is an enjoyable read with a vivid sense of place and a twist in
its tail.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2013
The story line flows at a steady rate keeping the reader interested. The characters are well described and believable in their actions making this a very readable book.I have also read the follow up book and now waiting for the 3rd book 'Missing in Malmo'
Very enjoyable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2012
I started reading this book not expecting too much, in light of all the scandinavian detective novels now available. however i was blown away , i could not put it down and the ending was totally unexpected. A brilliant debut novel cant wait for a sequel.
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