Sidetracked – Henning Mankell

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Sidetracked by Henning MankellSwedish Title: Villospår

Translation: Wrong Track

Author: Henning Mankell

ISBN-13: 978-1400031566

Price: $10.17 on Amazon.com

So I just finished this book, and wow! A definite page-turner (I finished this book in almost a week) and a very well written murder mystery novel! You are most likely familiar with the Wallander series on PBS. While in this series it is an English cop in Sweden (no idea why they decided in that direction), the original story of which the series is based on is about a veteran Swedish cop, Wallander, in Southern Sweden.

It starts with a girl burning herself to death, in front of Wallander. The next day Sweden’s former Minister of Justice is axed in the head and then scalped. Wallander is the lead detective on the case. Are these cases connected? Can he find this murder before he murders again?

Mostly written from the perspective of Detective Wallander, the reader can understand Wallander’s thought process and what makes him one of the top detectives in Skåne. The book also steps into Wallander’s personal life and his struggles juggling family and work.

An interesting note, or at least something I notice, is that you may feel Wallander lacks emotions. He does state how he is feeling, but his actions seem always more rational and not based on emotion. This is very typically Swedish- emotions are rarely expressed, and while the average person may not notice, those who know the Swedish mentality will find Wallander as a typical Swede.

Well written, full of as much emotion as Swedes can have, this is an excellent book. I plan to pick up more books by Henning Mankell when I can.

Related blog post: Thoughts on Sidetracked by Henning Mankell