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Cop Killer: A Martin Beck Police Mystery (9) [Paperback]

Maj Sjowall , Per Wahloo , Liza Marklund
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 27 2010 Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
The shocking ninth novel in the Martin Beck mystery series by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö finds Beck investigating parallel cases that have shocked a small rural community.
 
In a country town, a woman is brutally murdered and left buried in a swamp. There are two main suspects: her closest neighbor and her ex-husband. Meanwhile, on a quiet suburban street a midnight shootout takes place between three cops and two teenage boys. Dead, one cop and one kid. Wounded, two cops. Escaped, one kid. Martin Beck and his partner Lenart Kollberg are called in to investigate. As Beck digs deeper into the murky waters of the young girl’s murder, Kollberg scours the town for the teenager, and together they are forced to examine the changing face of crime.  

Frequently Bought Together

Cop Killer: A Martin Beck Police Mystery (9) + The Terrorists: A Martin Beck Police Mystery (10) + The Locked Room: A Martin Beck Police Mystery (8)
Price For All Three: CDN$ 38.96



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Review

“The first great series of police thrillers. . . . Truly exciting.”—Michael Ondaatje
 
"The [Martin Beck] series has maintained such a degree of excellence that comparisons are near impossible."--Minneapolis Tribune
 
“It’s hard to think of any other thriller writers (apart from Simenon perhaps) who can capture so much of a society in a couple of hundred pages and yet still hold true to the  thriller form.”—Sean and Nicci French
 
“Sjöwall and Wahlöö write unsparingly and unswervingly. . . . Their plots are second to none.”—Val McDermid

“Sjöwall and Wahlöö continue to be tops for discriminating crime book readers.”—Denver Post
 
“Ingenious. . . . Their mysteries don’t just read well; they reread even better. . . . The writing is lean, with mournful undertones.”—The New York Times
 
”Martin Beck is as always very believable: this, we feel, is what it must mean to be an honest and intelligent policeman in modern Sweden, or anywhere else.”—Times Literary Supplement
 
“In the hands of Wahlöö and Sjöwal . . . the police story – with no loss of suspense or action – [has been] brilliantly fashioned into a sharp instrument for social commentary.”—Washington Post
 
“Edge-of-the-seat suspense.”—San Francisco Examiner

About the Author

Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, her husband and coauthor, wrote ten Martin Beck mysteries. Mr Wahlöö, who died in 1975, was a reporter for several Swedish newspapers and magazines and wrote numerous radio and television plays, film scripts, short stories, and novels. Maj Sjöwall is also a poet.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty alright Sept. 27 2002
Format:Hardcover
The ninth Martin Beck novel. Not as good as some of their previous work, but still pretty engaging nonetheless. ... The authors frequently remind us of how much better things were back in the good old days. Funny satire, but pretty cranky, and not much of a thriller.
The book redeems itself with some of Gunvald Larsson's uproarious antics and the shocking revelation of the identity of the title character.
"Cop Killer" is entertaining in parts, but I think Sjowall and Wahloo were beginning to get bored with the police procedural, and it shows.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent mystery/detective fiction Aug. 14 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
All of the Martin Beck mysteries (I believe there are 10 in all) are excellent reads that offer a window into the criminal Scandinavian landscape. Sharply etched characterizations and stories that remind one of the Magritte novels of Simenon. It's a shame that they are hard to find!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Near The End July 1 2010
By Dave and Joe TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is the ninth of the ten Martin Beck mysteries. You can sense the end of the series coming and the authors move the lives of the characters unrelentingly forward. One of the wonders of the series is that the characters age naturally and make different decisions and take different paths because they are of different ages. I feel like I know the characters and am very sorry to feel the series coming to a close. Start at one and take the trip, it's worth it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Before Henning Mankell and Before Stieg Larsson Aug. 8 2010
By Leonard Fleisig - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There was the Swedish writing team of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. They created the character of Inspector Martin Beck and in ten volumes pretty much gave birth to the concept of Swedish noir. Henning Mankell's Inspector Wallander series and Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander/Mikael Blomkvist stories are the literary progeny of Sjowall and Wahloo's wonderful creation.

"Cop Killer" is the ninth of ten stories in the Inspector Beck series. It focuses on the disappearance and likely murder of Sig Mard in a small town far from Stockholm. Inspector Martin Beck, now the head of Sweden's national homicide bureau is called in to investigate. There is some pressure on Beck to round up the usual suspects, certainly the available evidence seems to suggest a limited universe of potential killers), but Beck will have none of it. Beck, as usual, is painstakingly thorough, almost plodding. There are no Sherlock Holmes-like flashes of genius. Beck is a good cop because he works hard, is thorough and has a way of sifting through the evidence until a picture forms of the crime sufficient for a resolution.

A number of things keep the Martin Beck stories interesting for me. First and foremost is the character development of the major players. Beck and his colleagues are far from angels or virtuous men on horseback coming in to save the world from crime. They are cops, first and foremost, doing a tough job in a country which has had (based on these books at least) more than its share of murder and mayhem. Yet, after reading a few of these books I've grown attached to Beck and his crew. They aren't geniuses but they work. They dig out clues and they wait and they analyze and they dig some more. Second is the setting: Sweden in the 60s and 70s. Sjowall and Wahloo world view (they were socialist and strong supporters of the Social Democratic Party) does not create a rose-colored look at society but, rather, one that shows crime and moral decay even within a system that on its surface is dedicated to egalitarianism. Cop Killers sets out the dysfunction created by the Swedish 'system'in stark relief and in particular on the impact of that dysfunction on Beck and his colleagues. They still do their job but they cannot help but take a cynical approach to the world around them, particularly toward the preening bureaucrats that rise to the top of the administrative heap for all sorts of reasons not related to competence.

I did like Cop Killer and I do recommend it. It can be read as a stand-alone novel. However, given the evolution of Beck and his fellow officers over the course of the series I'd recommend that the books be read in order. (A chronological list is or will be set out in a comment below this review). I think if you like the initial couple of books enough to keep reading you just may find yourself reading all ten.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent mystery/detective fiction Aug. 14 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
All of the Martin Beck mysteries (I believe there are 10 in all) are excellent reads that offer a window into the criminal Scandinavian landscape. Sharply etched characterizations and stories that remind one of the Magritte novels of Simenon. It's a shame that they are hard to find!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty alright Sept. 27 2002
By daveklein222 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The ninth Martin Beck novel. Not as good as some of their previous work, but still pretty engaging nonetheless. ... The authors frequently remind us of how much better things were back in the good old days. Funny satire, but pretty cranky, and not much of a thriller.
The book redeems itself with some of Gunvald Larsson's uproarious antics and the shocking revelation of the identity of the title character.
"Cop Killer" is entertaining in parts, but I think Sjowall and Wahloo were beginning to get bored with the police procedural, and it shows.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GREAT CHARACTERS, WEAK ENDING Sept. 11 2010
By Roger Angle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Up until the ending, which is a real let-down, this is one of the best mysteries I've ever read. Then the killer seems to come from outside the story, which is very unsatisfying, almost like a deus ex machina. But the first three-fourths has everything: fascinating and fully developed characters, lots of humor, interesting procedural details, good forward momentum, and it makes fun of the police brass, the politicians and the welfare state. But the ending throws a wet blanket over the whole thing, sorry to say. For me, it would have been better if they had either not solved the mystery, or if they had brought the killer into the story more, or kept speculating that there was something they were missing. This may be the way it happens in real life, but it doesn't make for a satisfying story.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bring these classics back! Oct. 8 1997
By bsl@cwru.edu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Beck mysteries are a unique series of politically critical, human procedurals that are wonderfully translated into English. They need to be read as a set--there are 10 of them--in order to understand the unique contribution that this husband and wife team have made to mystery fiction.
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