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on 4 November 2010
In the UK Ake Edwardson's Chief Inspector Winter novels are published by Vintage and are translated by Laurie Thompson. In the US and Canada they are published by Penguin using a number of translators. Unfortunately Vintage have published out of sequence and so far have not published the first two novels in the series, Death Angels (Chief Inspector Erik Winter Novels), and this one which is the second in the original Swedish. Both are available from Amazon as Penguin import editions. The fact that they are intended for the North American market is obvious from the translations as well as the cover prices only being shown in US and Canadian dollars. The Americanisation in the translation of Death Angels was a cause of great concern to many reviewers. Here it is much less noticeable, and not just because a lot of expressions like 'kitty corner' are creeping into UK English more and more. I think Per Carlsson has done a much better job than Ken Schubert did on the earlier book.

The translation is not the only area of improvement in this book over the first. There is a quantum leap in the development of the characters, particularly the lead, Inspector Winter. He may not be the finished article of the later books previously published in the UK, but is much more recognisable as such, which wasn't the case in Death Angels. In my review of that book I said it was probably for completists only. This is not the case here, The Shadow Woman is an excellent police procedural, which gives a lot of detail on how much work and hours go into following up leads and eliminating the irrelevant in an investigation. Add to the slog, Winter's intuition and instinct and it guarantees the pace is kept brisk. This despite the fact that the story stems from 1998, when there wasn't the proliferation of high speed internet and communication methods we have become used to in modern novels. At one point Winter finds himself working with the Danish police reviewing old case files from a time when interviews were recorded on Super 8 cine film. This all goes to show how technology has shaped investigation methods in recent years.

The story revolves around the finding of a young woman's body, with no identification of any kind. Pathology determines that she has had a child at some point and so the investigation team start trying to identify her and to be aware of the possibility that the child could also be a crime victim. While it is only a possibility to the police, the reader is aware that a child is being held by a group of men and wondering what has become of her mother. I am not always comfortable reading about children being menaced, but thankfully it never goes over into anything really nasty. There is one major twist in the plot, and at the first mention I thought there had been a mistake in the printing or translation. It is only as the story unfolded that I realised that it had been an early indication that not everything was as it first seemed.

The story is split into three parts, and the first chapter of parts two and three may have you wondering what is gong on, but of course it all makes sense in the end. I would have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone already familiar with Chief Inspector Winter, or as a good starting point to the series to new readers.

A word about the printing and layout of the book. It is in the format where there is no blank line between paragraphs, just an indentation of the first line of the new paragraph. The use of a drop shadow font for section and chapter numbers, I am sure is just a play on the novel's title, but the use of multiple emphasis methods for the first line of every chapter, i.e. bold, italic, upper case letters seems a bit overdone and gimmicky. Overall it gives the pages a ragged look, which is not the easiest on the eye
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on 28 June 2011
I was prepared to enjoy this book, as I am a self-confessed fan of scandinavian writers. But this one defeated me. Nothing wrong with the story, but I found the 'gonna' wanna' 'gotten' that littered all the conversations too irritating and distracting...all wrong somehow, and a bit too American. Maybe this time it was the translation that just didn't work for me; if I wanted to read Harlen Coben, I would.
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on 16 January 2011
Slow and steady: Sweden's youngest Detective Inspector seeks elusive clues in this slow, plodding police procedural about a murder victim that takes half the book to identify. Erik Winter, the dapper inspector who likes expensive clothing and cars, and finds it difficult to grow up to a maturity in relation to his girlfriend's desire for more permanence, is an intuitive, careful thinker confronted, in this second installment in a Swedish noir series, with almost no clues about the victim or murderer, other than that she has borne a child.

The plot switches back and forth between the present-day investigation and flashbacks, so the reader - this reader, at least - is at a loss as to where the story is at. It is confusing at best, yet interesting, from a psychological point of view. There are some idioms the translator obviously inserted into the text which have no obvious counterpart in Swedish.

Having struggled over a longer period of time to read the novel than would be devoted ordinarily to a book of this length, it is with ambivalence that it is recommended, solely on the basis that it is an interesting work.
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on 10 August 2015
An interesting read. I found the story a little confusing to begin with and l couldn't quite grasp which direction the plot was taking . However as l read on the plot took on a more intriguing path. By the end of the book l was hooked and took every opportunity to read it.The main character is interesting and very credible. The plot unfolds slowly and though not sensational it is gripping. I enjoyed this novel and intend to read more by the same author whose style of writing reminded me of P.D.James and Ruth Rendall.
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on 5 February 2014
Another download by this great author, I think I have all the "Eric Winter" ebooks now and am reading the last one at the moment. Hurry up and write another!!!
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on 13 May 2014
I think I started my love affair with Ake Edwardson by stumbling upon Dectective Winter - you won't be disappointed...
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on 20 May 2016
Good read and since passed onto a family member!
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on 9 December 2014
Thank you.
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