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Preferred the TV series to this adaptation
on 21 April 2012
This novelisation of the TV series perfectly illustrates why some stories are suited to their original medium, and why they don't necessarily translate comfortably to another format. Which doesn't mean that fans of Nordic noir novels will be disappointed by this book: far from in. In fact, if you didn't watch the 20-part TV series then I suspect you may well enjoy this book more than I did.
David Hewson is an accomplished author of crime/thriller fiction, and I've read and enjoyed many of his other books. But this one left me cold - worse; it irritated the life out of me. That's because I was so involved with the TV show; so enthralled by its plots twists and character development and relentless pacing. But I found that what worked on TV was far less effective in print. Hewson attempts to give us some insight into what the characters are thinking, investigators and suspects alike. But when you progress to later chapters and dark secrets are revealed, their earlier behaviour comes over as incomprehensible. This is less of a problem if you're watching 20 hours of television spread over long winter months. But if you read the book fast (it's a whopper, but the writing style is so spares that it's pretty easy to scamper through) then all the inconsistencies mount up until it was hard for me to suspend any disbelief. I also couldn't match Hewson's descriptions of the characters in the book to the people I `know' from the series. His version of Lund seemed to have lost all the nuance of Sofie Grabol's performance - which is weird, because normally books add depth which films and TV programmes can't then live up to.
Normally, I try really hard to `only review the product' in isolation and *not* compare it to original source material. So if I watch a film that's been adapted from a book then I try not to think of the book, but judge the film on its own merits. I set out to treat the book of `The Killing' in the same way, but failed. That's not a criticism of the author - it's more an acknowledgement of how successful the TV series was, and how real it became for me. If you've not watched it, then I suspect you'll find this book much more enjoyable than I did.