Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780307388032, 339pp.
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
The first novel in Arne Dahl's gripping Intercrime series considered one of Sweden's best "Misterioso" is a piercingly dark and absorbing detective thriller.
After dismantling a bloody hostage situation at a bank outside Stockholm, Detective Paul Hjelm is dropped into an elite task-force assembled to find an elusive murderer with a sophisticated method. The killer breaks into the homes of Sweden's high-profile business leaders at night, places two bullets in their heads with deadly precision, then removes the bullets from the walls a ritual enacted to a rare bootleg recording of Thelonious Monk's jazz classic Misterioso. As Hjlem and the rest of the team follow one lead after another, they must navigate the murky underworld of the Russian mafia, penetrate the secret society of Sweden's wealthiest denizens, and battle one of the country's most persistent ills: a deep-rooted xenophobia that affects both the police and the perpetrator.
Jens Peter Jacobsen (18471885) made his literary debut with the novella "Mogens" in 1872. Diagnosed with advanced tuberculosis two years later, he completed several more short stories and two novels.
Tiina Nunnally is the award-winning translator of numerous works of Scandinavian literature, including "Kristin Lavransdatter" (winner of the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize).
“Absorbing. . . . A dark, tense thriller.”
“Terrific. . . . Full of twists and turns, blind alleys and sudden assaults, procedural hassles and stakeouts. ”
“Thoughtfully haunting and sometimes beautifully written, the first of Hjelm’s cases to be translated into English is likely to resonate with readers of the Stieg Larsson trilogy.”
“Mystery devotees who loved Mankell’s Kurt Wallander, and crime-fiction ‘lifers’ who still treasure Sjowall’s and Wahloo’s Martin Beck, will want to add Paul Hjelm to their short lists of international favorites.”
“A truly fine crime novel.”
—The Advocate (Baton Rouge)
“[A] superb police procedural. . . . Dahl has created a brilliant character and a terrific story, and should that not be enough, this is a classic cop-shop tale of the old school.”
—The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Most of the fun of Misterioso comes from the follow-the-power, follow-the-money games played by Hjelm and his associates. And while Dahl clearly sees detective fiction as having the ability to tackle hard-hitting issues of the day, the mystery’s solution isn’t lacking in good old-fashioned puzzle intrigue, either.”
—The Portland Mercury
“A unique and wonderful book. It is part mystery, part police procedural, part existential philosophy, and part comedy. There is something so distinctive about this book that it resists categorization. . . . There is not a dull moment. It seems like the Scandinavians are having a true renaissance in crime writing and Arne Dahl is right at the top.”
“An exciting debut. . . . Fans of hard-boiled detective and Swedish novels will enjoy this.”