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on 10 October 2016
Having read the authors Sweet Smell of Snuff, I have resisted these books up to now as I'm not a fan of the "Nordic noir" of Wallander, Borgen and the like, thinking them too morose and with long names like Ssmorgessolafssundberg, but this book was a blast. The author introduces you to Sweden and Malmö in particular through the eyes of a jaded Scottish hack stuck in a dead end job at a local rag of a paper in Newcastle. As a native of the North East of England myself, it made Scandinavian way of life and culture easily accessible.

A satisfying light comedic touch is peppered inbetween dark murder plots and conspiracies, a belter of a footchase and gunpoint stand off. Two main central characters are the aforementioned Journo and Insp. Sandstorm herself, a wholly believable and sympathetic, if flawed protagonist and they carry the book. It's a great whodunnit and I won't elaborate anymore than that - you'll just have to read it for yourself.

Downsides? Not much really: Possibly there were too many supporting policemen in the investigation squad that got confusing but that's being really picky and they will no doubt have more important roles in the next books.

The good news is there is another 3 books to read; they've been downloaded already and I'm already back in Sweden reading #2, Murder in Malmö. Recommended. 5 stars
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on 12 June 2015
This is an entertaining police-procedural, with a plot that is not particularly unique, but in a location that is more interesting than the usual UK or USA.

The plot carries the reader through at a rapid pace, with enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing almost to the end. Finally, when the murder seems to have been solved, there is an unexpected and stunning twist to the conclusion of the book.

Inspector Anita Sundstrom, of the Skane District Police, investigates the murder of a beautiful Swedish filmstar under the supervision of the overbearing Chief Inspector Moberg, with the help of experienced Inspector Nordlund and the hindrance of the reptilian Inspector Westermark.

The characters are believable, and compulsive, and the locations described so eloquently that readers would believe they were actually at the scene. I felt as though I could go to Central Malmo and immediately find my way around, and I could clearly visualise the oily Inspector Karl Westermark lusting after Anita and the growling, overweight, Chief Inspector Moberg sat at his desk with a burger or kebab in hand!

If I had one criticism, it would be that the twist-in-the-tail ending seemed to be at odds with text near the beginning of the book, which leads readers to believe this particular revelation would not be a possible scenario.

For that reason alone I only awarded 4 stars to what is otherwise a thrilling and gripping novel, which I enjoyed enormously.

(On his website Torquil Macleod indicates that this novel was originally intended as a screenplay, but ultimately became a book. The ending would certainly work better as a screenplay, where the viewer is previously allowed, or led, to believe earlier scenarios without them being defined explicitly in fairly unambiguous textual form.)

For anyone who may be put off by comments about the ending, noted in many reviews, I would say do not be, as it is still a great book and well worth reading.

Especially do not be put off reading other books in this series, as they are all excellent ; I have now read them all and rated the rest as 5-star reads.

(To get the best from the Malmo series they should be read in sequence - Meet, Murder, Missing, Midnight ; Each book has a discrete plot, but successive novels mention events from previous books and could give away some of their plots if read out of sequence.)

I hope Torquil Macleod is planning a fifth book in the series, and that it matches up to the quality of the others.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 June 2013
I have recently found myself in a minority of just one recently in that I have been unable to get enthusiastic about the recent wave of Scandinavaian crime novels that have taken Britain by storm. Indeed, despite making several strenuous efforts I have never found the strength of spirit to manage to finish a Steig Larsson or Jo Nesbo book. I was, therefore, rather dubious about this twist on the formula (though set in Malmo the book is written by a British writer - perhaps the first time that i have actually encountered a genuine Torquil!).
Told largely from the viewpoint of Ewan Strachan, a journalist working on a low circulation local paper in Newcastle who is invited over to Malmo to interview Mick Roslyn, whom he had known in their student days in Durham twenty-five years earlier. Roslyn has now become a successful film director within Sweden.

Things don't exactly go to plan, and when Ewan arrives at Roslyn's flat he finds the body of Roslyn's beautiful wife, clearly only recently murdered. The noel then becomes apolice procedural, told largely from the perspective of Inspector Anita Sundstrom, who is sorely tried by the chauvinism and obtuseness of her predominantly male colleagues.

The unusual setting and unorthodox narrative technique make for an interesting novel and I found myself gripped by the story.
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on 31 December 2013
Once again this author was recommended to me by a friend. It's the first in the Inspector Anita Sundstrom series. The book switches between England and Sweden but most of the action takes place in Sweden, which is interesting, giving the reader an insight into life there. I found the book enjoyable but not one that I had to keep reading to find out what happened, it's a good book to read when you want something you can pick up and put down. I guessed the ending but wasn't quite sure how the author would bring it about :) - So the ending for me while predicted was also a surprise. I did enjoy the story and the character of Anita unfolds at a natural pace, the author allows us to get to know her more from her actions than from long detailed explanations about her, I always find that much more of an interesting and clever way to get to know a character. I will be reading the next in the series.
So, if you like a good story, interesting and exciting but without the 'must finish it to know what happens' factor, then you will enjoy this book.
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on 8 May 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this - I think - unique Brit/Swedish crime crossover and the contrast between protagonist (and his editor) and the Scandinavian characters was marked without being so overdone as to become tiresome... which brings me to the denouement.

While I can understand why some reviewers took issue with the 'shock ending' but it didn't ruin it for me and everything up to that point encouraged me to buy the two other ebooks in the 'Malmo' series, which I think are even better. Given it's been discounted to less than the price of a quality newspaper I think it's well worth a punt.

Go on.

You know you want to.

PS If you are reading this far you've probably noticed some negative reviews posted by people who felt badly let down by the ending but as one person said they'd be happier not knowing whodunit you could always choose to stop reading one chapter early...
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on 31 October 2013
Oct 2013 :Got 5 whole chapters as the Sample on Kindle, very generous, so quite pleased and enjoyed what I read enough to get the whole book. Looking forward to the rest.
ADDENDUM Feb 2014 : Obtained and read the rest on Kindle. Gripping read, kept me up late, flowed quite well. Like author's writing style. Anita Sundstrom seemed a pleasant enough detective and the characters and combination of setting in Malmo and Durham/NE of England interesting. However have downgraded the rating from 4 stars to 3 due to the ending - as many say here, a bit of a let-down. My feeling is it shouldn't be allowed. Maybe the push for the debut novel was too much and Mr. Macleod over-reached himself on his number of "twists". Kept feeling that the murderer could quite easily have been unmasked by just a single witness in the first few chapters. How on earth could he or she (won't give it away folks!) ever have thought to get away with it !? However will give Mr. TM the benefit of the doubt and check out the next Malmo in the series just to see if he can pull me back into the fold.
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VINE VOICEon 17 October 2013
This book has a plot that bowls along at a cracking pace, full of twists and turns, and I enjoyed much of it. For this reason I devoured it quickly, but was constantly nagged by the feeling that something was wrong. I can't explain this properly without spoiling the plot, so I won't. I'll just say that the writer writes from several different points of view in turn, and he does this in a way that deceives the reader. Thus the identity of the murderer is concealed from the reader, and the possibility of working out whodunnit by logical processes is denied us; the final outcome bears little relationship to what has gone before. The writing style is straightforward and easy. I liked the bits about Malmo, even though they did occasionally read like a tourist guide, but found the frequent 'stunning Swedish blond - nudge nudge, wink wink' references a bit irritating. In spite of these reservations, this was not a bad book, but not good enough to make me want to read more in this series.
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on 27 January 2014
This book was surprisingly enjoyable. I say 'surprisingly' because I hadn't read any novels by Torquil MacLeod before and I thought it might be a diluted version of other Scandinavian crime fiction novels. However, the novel was well-paced and seemed to be well researched in terms of its Swedish and UK locations. I also enjoyed how it cut back and forth between the main protagonists, describing their perceptions of one another. Just when I thought it was all over, there was a twist in the tale, which I thought might have come sooner but was skilfully left to the end.

Would recommend for lovers of Scandinavian crime fiction or anyone who enjoys a good page-turner.
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on 26 November 2015
I wish I would have read the bad reviews and saved my money . This book doesn't work for me. I don't expect a booker prize style in my thriller but this really isn't well written. Of course if this was true scandi I could blame the translator but Torquil is Scottish. I cant comment on the plot because I couldn't get past the first couple of pages ;" this was a woman who was ready to go out to somewhere smart" Afraid I didn't find this book smart at all. Sorry.
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on 9 September 2014
Absolutely bloody brilliant with no real blood. Not hideous gut churning gore, but skilful classy writing with lots of bends, loved it. BUT, make sure if you get it, buy the rest next couple in case you have no wi-fi when you finish and need the next book!
Actually not sure if I like the Anita character much but she is well written. Definitely do not like the chief but not supposed to, he is a bully. It ran like a train, no excessive descriptions but complete enough to make a rounded picture. Great writing I thought.
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