Customer Reviews for

Faceless Killers (Kurt Wallander Series #1)

Average Rating 3.5
( 49 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

A great beginning to a series

If you're tired of all the focus on forensic evidence and are interested in some old-fashioned detective work, this will be the book for you. The murder is gruesome and the detective, Kurt Wallender, wants badly to solve it. But, the thing that makes this book so good...
If you're tired of all the focus on forensic evidence and are interested in some old-fashioned detective work, this will be the book for you. The murder is gruesome and the detective, Kurt Wallender, wants badly to solve it. But, the thing that makes this book so good is the author's ability to take you inside Wallender's life. He has many of the issues of middle-aged people - financial problems, divorce, concerns for his child and his father. These all compete for his time and the author does a fabulous job of pacing the book so you really get the idea of what it takes to solve a major crime while living a normal, albeit stressful, life.

posted by Anonymous on March 1, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Realistic murder mystery

This book is definitely different from the police novels I've read in the past. The majority of the ones I've read had been rather fast paced filled with lots of intrigue and twists that I'm racing through the novel at an alarming rate. This one was very different. It w...
This book is definitely different from the police novels I've read in the past. The majority of the ones I've read had been rather fast paced filled with lots of intrigue and twists that I'm racing through the novel at an alarming rate. This one was very different. It wasn't fast paced but it was steady and although a little slow at times, it actually got me interested as the criminal investigation went on. It was a gradual procedure, and not one that would take overnight to solve. It had its exciting moments, but moments where you had to sit down and reflect as to what was going on, and it was a much different kind of police procedural novel I have ever seen so far. It was a good balance of careful analysis and examination mixed with intrigue and action. The plot did a good job of drawing you into the crime and having you also reflect and examine on how to solve it. I felt just as frustrated like Kurt was feeling when it felt as if he kept on reaching dead ends and cold trails that would lead nowhere in solving the crime.

The thing I liked the most was the character in Kurt Wallander. He's very real and three dimensional. He had his own issues to solve and it involved a total different story arc on its own aside from the murder case so you're not entirely focused on the mystery. You also got to see the "human" side of Kurt as well which I enjoyed and very much liked. It gave the story a much more realistic feeling to it and not something sensation or "Hollywood" about the entire plot. Kurt had his own faults too and so did his colleagues. I also liked how the story also focused on the secondary characters as well (especially his partner Rydberg, who also has major problems of his own). It was great to see realistic almost "fleshy" characters in the book.

I guess what I didn't really like was I'm not used to this style of writing, so I was really expecting this big flash bang sensational ending where I would be left speechless. This book isn't meant to be that way. The case was closed, and solved and that was that. No big gunfight. No SWAT team. No hostages. No Channel 6 news helicopters flying overhead (har har). It was simple, clean cut, and done. Then again the entire book was like that; clean and to the point. It was like one giant puzzle being put together and having the satisfaction of having it completed on time. Nothing celebratory or excitement just job done, go home and relax. I suppose that's how it's really done and if so, then it's another good job at keeping the story realistic.

Would I read the books following this? sure, why not? it's a short read and I don't regret picking this book up. Although it's not exciting as I hoped it would be, it held my attention enough to keep me going, as I was curious as to who did it and why. Secrets were exposed, and closure was met, and all loose ends were tied. It was well done and complete.

Overall, don't be looking for grand excitement in this one. Just a good realistic police detective novel. It's realistic, and interesting as it takes you along a journey through Sweden and their way of life. It's definitely worth giving it a try if you're up for something mellow and a more on the serious side of the police force.

posted by Sensitivemuse on November 6, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2005

    A great beginning to a series

    If you're tired of all the focus on forensic evidence and are interested in some old-fashioned detective work, this will be the book for you. The murder is gruesome and the detective, Kurt Wallender, wants badly to solve it. But, the thing that makes this book so good is the author's ability to take you inside Wallender's life. He has many of the issues of middle-aged people - financial problems, divorce, concerns for his child and his father. These all compete for his time and the author does a fabulous job of pacing the book so you really get the idea of what it takes to solve a major crime while living a normal, albeit stressful, life.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2005

    Chilling crime in a cold climate

    An elderly couple are brutally murdered on a farm in the middle of the night. Inspector Kurt Wallander investigates the murder. His investigation upturns racist violence, long-hidden family secrets and reveals much about Wallander himself. In addition to police work, Wallander has his hands full with his elderly father, estranged wife and daughter, and a new prosecutor. Having grown bored with Patricia Cornwell I was looking for a new crime book to sink my teeth into. While Faceless Killers didn¿t thrill me the same way as my first Cornwell, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I particularly appreciated the way it was more about old-fashioned police work, rather than more hi-tech or forensic based crime novels.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2011

    Great debut for Wallander series! review by Patti Phillips

    The vicious murder of a man and the beating of his wife at an isolated farmhouse shocks even Kurt Wallander, a seasoned detective. An elderly neighbor discovers the horrific scene and says they were a typical old couple, like he and his wife. They had socialized for forty years, sharing coffee every day. There was no reason to kill the man and leave the wife to die. There was no money to steal. And what enemies could the quiet couple possibly have had? But, as any mystery reader knows, there's more to the story and as the investigation unfolds, a completely different view of the pair evolves. Astounding secrets are revealed, but are they enough to cause the murders? When another senseless death occurs, the police investigate possible ties between the cases. Were the killings in either case racially motivated? If mere robbery was involved, why were the deaths so violent? "Faceless Killers" was first published in Sweden in 1991, at a time when anti-immigrant feeling raged as thousands of people arrived illegally on Swedish shores, sapping government resources. This actual socially and politically charged atmosphere is the backdrop for the first book in the Kurt Wallander series. Wallander has strong opinions about how the immigration issue in Sweden is handled, and constantly battles officials who flatly deny anything is amiss with the obviously faulty system. Wallander is not a precise, logical detective who slices through red herrings with aplomb. He is disdainful of the press, chases leads that go nowhere, and relies heavily on his co-workers for solutions. He is separated from his wife, estranged from his daughter, has a father approaching senility, drinks too much, and wonders why his personal life changed while he was paying attention to murder. But, he is dogged in his pursuit of the truth. He needs to find out why these people were killed, no matter whom is upset in the process. He goes over the evidence again and again, searching for what he missed. Wallander might not uncover the truth right away, but make no mistake, he uncovers it. Masterpiece Theatre, the Public Television show, recently aired episodes based on the Wallander character, perfectly played by Kenneth Branagh, who won several British awards for both his performance and his producing. Rated R for gritty realism, the murders, and mature themes.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Rushed to Ending

    "Faceless Killers" is interesting because it gives a small insight into Swedish life, which I feel is its main appeal. Character development is the key to his novel, especially with Wallander (the main character) and Rydberg (his trusted second). Even the police techniques seem spot on. However, the story has too much going on. There are two murders, the main story and a secondary story. I feel that Mankell added the second one, concerning the growing problem of immigrants in Sweden. It doesn't really have anything to do with the first (some may disagree) and seems to be added as a social commentary by the author. Next, Wallander goes through a lot of suspects, and they always seem to be the culprits, until one last bit of information clears them. The primary murder is solved much too quickly with a solution from left field.

    I may pick up the next book in the series to see if there is an improvement or if this is Mankell's writing style.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2010

    The first Wallander makes you want more.

    Henning Mankell is one of the great Scandanavian writers of crime fiction, famous for his Inspector Wallander mysteries. "Faceless Killers" is a well written introduction to Wallander who, like many protagonists in this genre, are divorced, have an ongoing battle with alcohol, but are honorable men about whom one wants to know more. Luckily, there are many more books in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2013

    Great detective novel

    Great story for a quick read. Similar to the detective / inspector series written by Hakan Nesser and Jo Nesbo.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    I found this author after reading another series and really enjo

    I found this author after reading another series and really enjoyed the work.  I read the 5th Woman first and think it is a better read but I am now reading the series from the beginning.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2011

    Exciting mystery

    Interesting & exciting mystery with many twists in plot!!!

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