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One Step Behind
Cover of One Step Behind
One Step Behind
The Kurt Wallander Mysteries, Book 7
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Sweden's most tenacious detective races to unlock the twisted logic behind a madman's crimes: "Lyrical, meticulous, and stunningly suspenseful" (St. Petersburg Times).

On Midsummer's Eve, three friends gather in a secluded meadow in Sweden. In the beautifully clear twilight, they don 18th-century costumes and begin a secret role-play. But an uninvited guest soon brings their performance to a gruesome conclusion. His approach is careful; his aim is perfect. Three bullets, three corpses. And his plans have only just begun to take shape.

Meanwhile, Inspector Kurt Wallander is just back from vacation. Constantly fatigued, he soon learns his health is at risk—but there's no time for rest when a fellow officer is murdered. Wallander soon discovers that the two grisly crimes are connected. A serial killer is on the loose, and the only lead is a photograph of a strange woman no one in Sweden seems to know. Forced to dig into the personal life of a trusted colleague, Wallander steps into a nightmare worse than any he could have imagined. Can he find his way out of the darkness before it's too late?

A pulse-pounding thriller and an incisive investigation into the mysteries of human nature, One Step Behind is "typical of the dense, intricate intelligence that Mankell brings to detection and crime writing" (The Washington Post Book World).

Sweden's most tenacious detective races to unlock the twisted logic behind a madman's crimes: "Lyrical, meticulous, and stunningly suspenseful" (St. Petersburg Times).

On Midsummer's Eve, three friends gather in a secluded meadow in Sweden. In the beautifully clear twilight, they don 18th-century costumes and begin a secret role-play. But an uninvited guest soon brings their performance to a gruesome conclusion. His approach is careful; his aim is perfect. Three bullets, three corpses. And his plans have only just begun to take shape.

Meanwhile, Inspector Kurt Wallander is just back from vacation. Constantly fatigued, he soon learns his health is at risk—but there's no time for rest when a fellow officer is murdered. Wallander soon discovers that the two grisly crimes are connected. A serial killer is on the loose, and the only lead is a photograph of a strange woman no one in Sweden seems to know. Forced to dig into the personal life of a trusted colleague, Wallander steps into a nightmare worse than any he could have imagined. Can he find his way out of the darkness before it's too late?

A pulse-pounding thriller and an incisive investigation into the mysteries of human nature, One Step Behind is "typical of the dense, intricate intelligence that Mankell brings to detection and crime writing" (The Washington Post Book World).

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About the Author-
  • Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander mysteries are global bestsellers and have been adapted for television as a BAFTA Award–winning BBC series starring Kenneth Branagh. Mankell was awarded the Crime Writers' Association's Macallan Gold Dagger and the German Tolerance Prize, among many others. He divides his time between Sweden and Mozambique.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 21, 2002
    In his fifth U.S. appearance in this taut, intricately plotted series (The Fifth Woman, etc.), Swedish detective Kurt Wallander pursues a long, complex case sure to please those who like weighty police procedurals. Six weeks after three college students are murdered during a Midsummer's Eve party, their bodies hidden to prevent discovery, Wallander's secretive colleague Svedberg is found at home with half his head blown off. Wallander's persistent, occasionally brilliant, investigation points to a connection between Svedberg and the disappearance of the three young people. Soon after their bodies surface, a fourth friend, who was too sick to attend the party, is killed. More murders follow, with the exhausted, understaffed detectives just too late each time to prevent the next crime. Eventually the reader meets the killer, whose bizarre motive and methods the author gradually reveals. The dyspeptic Wallander, whose frazzled personal life is further impaired by the diabetes he ignores, works himself to exhaustion, sidestepping official procedure and making intuitive leaps to find the cold-blooded killer. The glum tone of the book, despite the setting during a warm and luxuriant late summer, reflects a crumbling Swedish society: government corruption is widespread; honest cops are disillusioned by abuses in high officialdom; rifts among social classes and between Swedes and recent immigrants abound. Mankell's writing is deadpan and stark, the plotting meticulous and exacting. (Feb. 28)Forecast:Though a bestseller in Europe with both film and TV adaptations to his credit, Mankell has so far failed to take off here. Alas, Scandinavian dreariness just doesn't seem to have broad appeal to American readers.

  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2002
    Devotees of Inspector Kurt Wallander can only bemoan the fact that this is just the fifth (out of nine books) in this Swedish mystery series to be published in the United States. Here, Wallander confronts perhaps his most horrific case, when the murder of a trusted colleague, Svedberg, and the disappearance of three young people begin to merge. Battling his own fatigue and illness, Wallander assiduously strips away layer after layer, dredging up fragments of conversations and crime-scene clues that lead him closer and closer to the killer, who plays him cleverly and remains one step ahead until the brutal end. Mankell focuses less on Wallander's personal relationships and on what he sees as the deterioration of Swedish quality of life than in the previous books, but nevertheless the subtext is there. Essential for public libraries, though newcomers may want to start earlier in the series (with The White Lioness or Sidetracked). Francine Fialkoff, "Library Journal"

    Copyright 2001 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Henning Mankell
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