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on 20 March 2017
Great buy
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 September 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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.
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VINE VOICEon 12 October 2011
Anger Mode, one of the welcome batch of books from Sweden being published in the UK this year, is certainly packed with themes and incident. The novel begins along traditional lines - a car accident is described in the first chapter on a road near Uppsala. The action then shifts to Stockholm and to the jaded, 30-year veteran police detective Walter Grohn - a cop who breaks all the rules of procedure and political correctness to get his man (or woman), and who gets away with it because his boss is pretty lazy and knows that, by protecting Grohn from censure, he will keep his department looking good, statistics-wise. In addition, Grohn is in mourning for Martine (presumably his wife) and is prone to constant headaches.

There are many apparently disparate elements in the first half of the book. A liberal judge is incensed by an hour-long delay to his train and attacks the taxi-driver who is driving him home from the station. A couple of hoods break into a journalist's apartment to try to find an incriminating video. A teenage girl infuriates her frayed mother by skipping school - instead the girl goes with a friend to someone's house to smoke dope - but is injected with an unknown cocktail, leading to bizarre and tragic consequences. Grohn attempts to investigate these crimes but they seem curiously motiveless - a rookie profiler-cop, Jonna de Brugge, is assigned to him as a partner but despite some sharp repartee and small advances, they are getting nowhere when another judge phones the police to say he's murdered his wife in a jealous rage.

SAPO, the state secret police infamous to readers of crime fiction from Sweden*, steps in to take over the investigation of these crimes. Grohn is unable to prevent this from happening because he's under investigation for cutting corners on a (successful) drug bust he's just undertaken - the success being due to his unauthorised access to the drug squad's list of informers. Grohn collapses in pain and is carted off to hospital for an operation. Undeterred by his suspension and his illness, he begins to put several pieces together when he discovers (by an amazing coincidence!) that the burgled journalist is in the bed next to him. He's convinced that the SAPO theory of the crimes is completely wrong, and sets out to solve the case by any means he can, aided and abetted by his couple of reluctant accomplices and, later, an equally reluctant computer-hacker who happens to "owe" him (he even admits to himself that he's "read his Lisbeth Salander").

Despite the stop-start nature of the narrative - in which many characters are sketched, then disappear - the author gradually exerts quite a grip on the reader, as he cleverly brings together two entirely distinct plots and weaves them inextricably together. It's simple to guess the motivation for the crimes, but by his constant switching of chapters describing what his core half-dozen characters are doing, the author keeps up the pace and suspense effectively. He is particularly strong in his implicit condemnation of SAPO, whose chief investigator Martin Borg enters the case determined to pin the crimes on Islamic fundamentalists. Borg constructs a theory entirely based on his own preconceptions and by playing on the concerns of his superiors and the prosecutors ostensibly directing the investigation, goes to increasingly desperate extremes to deliver post-hoc evidence that will support his edifice. What then happens is a cataclysmic event that forces the two main stories in the book together and adds in more variants and twists to the mix. There is also a fascinating contrast between the high-tech, well-resourced SAPO approach and the illegal, shoestring operation run by Grohn from hospital.

Anger Mode is first of a trilogy, so there are a few ends left hanging in the air which the author presumably picks up in future volumes: time will tell. (A couple of these are rather clumsily introduced in the final few pages). It's an exciting and satisfying read, though the staccato style and the regular introducing and then dropping of characters needs a bit of acclimatization. I also find it rather weak when a plot depends on mystery drugs with such 100 per cent accuracy in their actions - not only that but also hackers who use "magic", albeit well-described, to be able to get into inaccessible databases. But this is definitely a book with something to say about our society, with plenty of humorous and telling asides: I enjoyed it very much, particularly Grohn's ability to stay one step ahead of all the games, not least in running rings round bureaucrats and other important non-entities. I'll certainly be reading the next two books when they are translated.

*For equally unflattering depictions of SAPO, see The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson, Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End by Leif G. W. Persson, Misterioso by Arne Dahl, Three Seconds by Roslund-Hellstrom, and (tangentially), The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell.
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VINE VOICEon 21 September 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Cynical middle aged Swedish detective Walter Gröhn is assigned a young partner,Jonna de Brugge from the Special Investigations Unit, RSU, and together they investigate a series of mysterious murders by members of the Swedish judicial system.

This started off okay, but soon lapsed into cliche, I'm afraid. Experienced, cynical, maverick detective - check.Young, naive,by the book, assistant - check. Weirdo computer geek - check. Devious, right wing, morally corrupt SWAT chief - check. Oddball criminals - check. There are more, but I won't go on as it might give away the plot, but having read a fair bit of Scandanavian noir all I can say is that this increasingly resembled a kind of compendium of various plotlines and characters from more original novels.

It's okay, readable, although not the most fluent translation I've read, unless Stefan Tegenfalk is really quite so clunky a writer, which I doubt.Of the Scandanavian novels I've read I would say I was most reminded of the Stieg Larsonn books, which I didn't like and Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen, which I loved,although the writing is much more pedestrian than the latter.

Overall,I'd say if you like the Larsonn books you might like this, but fans of Mankell, Indridasson, Nesbo and Lackberg might find too little character and too much unrealistic plot driven action.I recently read Midwinter Sacrifice by Mons Kallentoft which I enjoyed far more and which manages the balance between plot and character much better.This is the first part of a trilogy and the book ends with several unresolved plotlines, but I'm afraid I have no desire to read the next two books to find out what happens.
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VINE VOICEon 11 October 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Anger Mode by Stefan Tegenfalk is the first in the Walter Grohn trilogy of books set in Sweden. Walter Grohn is a criminal detective who becomes involved in a series of brutal killings. Together with his assistant Jonna fe Brugge, who works in a special investigations unit within the National Police, Grohn unravels threads that lead back in time and may link to the Swedish justice system. Obviously there is alot more to the plot than this brief synopsis. The author Stefan Tegenfalk has created an intersting character in Walter Grohn and I look forward to reading more of his cases in future books. The plot is well thought out and the narrative moves at a good pace. All in all an enjoyable Swedish crime novel. I'm looking forward to the second part of the Walter Grohn trilogy.
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VINE VOICEon 16 September 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Whilst there is nothing essentially wrong with this novel, the writing style feels far too dry and even the action sequences are uninteresting. The premise is ridiculous and the plot feels a little too suspended in fiction to be based around the framework of a detective novel that references real police departments and methodology.

Walter is an anti-social lone-wolf (aren't all the best detectives?!) and of course he can't make any progress on 'the case' until he is suspended from duty - it's all a bit cliché. Despite this the relationship between Walter and Jonna de Brugge is well written and really conveys a decent partnership and at several points the book really keeps the pages turning; the problem is that there are long periods in between these points where the story drags - I had to literally will myself to press on, a continual struggle between the urge to finish the book and my complete lack of interest in the outcome of the story. Not a good sign considering this is the first book in a trilogy...

All in all - well written, the talent is definitely there, it's just an uninteresting story suspended far too heavily in the impossible.
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on 15 March 2013
Much as I love Scandinavian crime novels, the ubiquitous grumpy, single, elderly, maverick, male, more or less unwell cop story is getting a bit well worn, especially when the shadowy secret service are thrown in for obligatory good measure (gratuitously thrown in here). That said, the premise of the story was new to me and intriguing, more time spent telling the back story, the killings, more about the killer and the investigation would've made for a better read - instead of the equally trite and tried and tested sub plot involving Islamic extremists which, shock horror, they turn out not to be, that seemed to be there purely to remind us that we're all basically islamaphobic and need to be gently reminded, with sledgehammer subtlety, that actually not all Muslims are card carrying terrorists! It could've been so much better, the sequel's set up already, so there may be a hope for salvation, I'll await your reviews to see if it's worth dipping my toe in again though!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 June 2012
This was one of my few remaining paperbacks now that I've moved to Kindle. I haven't picked it up before because I thought it might be rubbish as the Kindle price is only 85p. How wrong can you be? This is a great book and well worth the paperback price so it must be the Kindle bargain of the year.
There is no point in reviewing the plot or characterization as other reviewers have done it better than I possibly could although I have one more comment. The novel is set in Sweden but I don't see it as particularly "Scandinavian" and I think most crime readers would enjoy it. I don't think comparisons to Stieg Larsson are particularly apt as this is a police procedural, not a civilian investigation.
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VINE VOICEon 11 December 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I like reading the Swedish offerings we now get following the success for other writers. We meet slightly miserable detective Grohn who is paired up with Jonna who is younger and very different to him. There seems to be lots of character development which I like but also lots of angles and threads which become a little confusing as you get halfway through. The SAPO step in to take over part of his investigation and of course he thinks they are wrong. I won't ruin the end but there is a lot left open and this makes it perfect for a trilogy.
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VINE VOICEon 27 December 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book started well, the story was gripping and moved along nicely. Unfortunately, by the middle, I was less interested in how it would end, especially when I discovered it was the first of a trilogy.

For hardened crime thriller fans, I think this is a good read. I'm not one though, so I won't be recommending it.
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