Mike Stotter’s Mike Ripley’s piece “Viking Raid”in the new edition of Shots Magazine’s “Getting Away With Murder” column praises Sjowall and Wahloo but warns of “me-too”ism in English publishers’ rush to find some Scandinavian to publish; he also scolds fans for assuming if they’re Nordic, they must be serious, gloomy, and up-market. (Is he talking about me?) He reports that he made a dutiful plod through Johann Theorin’s new book, The Darkest Room, because it won the Glass Key award. He does confess it is intriguing it – though “teeters on the edge of being a ghost story rather than a crime novel.” And there aren’t many laughs. The female characters are interesting, but a major male character is not someone you’d invite to the party.
Joakim Westin, who is widowed early on in the story and who shows a distinctly chilly and uncaring attitude to his two children (particularly his infant son who hardly gets a look in throughout the book), leaving them out in storms, in blizzards or alone in a haunted house during a gunfight! I am afraid the total lack of sympathy engendered for Westin (even his late wife didn’t confide in him) is one of the main weaknesses of the book. I simply didn’t care what happened to him; in fact I wanted to slap him for his remoteness and emotionless attitude to his kids, his lack of humanity and his sheer bloody glumness.
Gee, I wonder what Mike really thinks?
Norm writes about watching the Swedish Wallander series playing on BBC and reckons the storyline for Overdose could have been imagined by Stieg Larsson. I recently watched a dubbed version of Den vita lejoninnan (The White Lioness), which frankly didn’t make a whole lot of sense but was well-acted and fairly entertaining in spite of itself. The actor who played Wallander looked totally different than the one in the series currently playing on BBC – big, burly, blond, and a fine actor. It’s just a little jarring to have so many different faces – none of which look like my Wallander.