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Interesting Story Which got Lost in there Somewhere
on 14 September 2011
Published in the recently established tradition of Scandinavian crime stories translated into English, Anger Mode has a complex and well thought out plot. The author lays down a marker at the beginning with the death of a young girl in a motor accident. The story then moves on several years with three very violent crimes committed by court officials which it seems may be related as they are so completely out of character.
The basic plot is interesting if somewhat improbable, but I did not find this a particularly easy book to read. This is partly because there is a lot about the interaction between the different parts of the justice system - the local police, SAPO (the Security Police), The National Crime Squad, The Prosecutors Office and court officials. I imagine this is all fine and meaningful if you are Swedish and understand how it all works, but I found the constant jockeying for position and political shenanigans between the various parties, which fill many pages, rather tedious without adding very much. In this respect it seemed to me that it would have been better to rewrite this book for the English language market rather than do a straight translation since the story line is good.
I was also not entirely convinced about the translation as I think it is likely that this book is much more readable in the Swedish original version. One thing I did find quite amusing was that the translator clearly had not been on a political correctness course. At one stage he refers to `jungle bunnies' whilst he fairly consistently refers to some Saudi Arabian gentleman as either ` men with beards in nightshirts' or towelheads!
I think there is little doubt that this book, the first of a trilogy, is inspired by the success of the Stieg Larrson Dragon Tattoo trilogy. In fact, probably somewhat tongue in cheek, the author refers to the unlikely heroine of those books, Lisbeth Salander at one stage. However, I remember reading The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo and being captivated with the story telling and finding it very hard to put down. I am afraid that I did not find Anger Mode like that. It took me quite a while to read, and it was one of those stories where I wanted to complete the book, but I had no great enthusiasm to find out what was coming next. I felt there was a good story in there struggling to get out, but constantly getting bogged down.