Frozen Tracks Hardcover – Aug 7 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
The reader stays perpetually ahead of the irritatingly slow detectives in Swedish crime writer Edwardson's third Erik Winter police procedural to be translated into English (after 2006's Never End). DCI Erik Winter and his team are baffled by a rash of beatings in Gothenburg that have nearly killed several young men, who are linked only by the distinctive mark left by the attacker's mysterious weapon. Meanwhile, nursery school children begin to report being lured to the car of a strange mister, who gives them candy. The police brush off these incidents until one boy is found badly beaten in the woods. Soon Winter is thrown into a race to save a kidnapped boy from the clutches of a monster. Readers will connect the dots faster than Winter, whose investigation is jarringly interrupted by scenes from the abductor's point-of-view. The denouement leaves too many loose ends, making for an uninspired take on the tired topic of child abductions. (Aug.)
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Christmas is fast approaching, but life is anything but festive for Detective Chief Inspector Erik Winter. Days of dwindling daylight find the Swedish detective haunted by two puzzlingand seemingly unconnectedsets of crimes. Several university students have been viciously attacked at various points around the city. At the same time, children are being abducted from metropolitan nurseries, a situation that hits much too close to home for Winter, who dotes on the young daughter he shares with longtime live-in lover Angela. Leads followed by Winter and his colleagues take them to the parched prairies of rural Sweden, whose inhabitants are every bit as bleak and desperate as the landscape. Something sinister has happened out here, Winter tells his partner. He can feel it in his bones. Though his police procedurals lack the suspense of fellow Swede Asa Larsson's, Edwardson (Sun and Shadow, 2005) creates endlessly interesting characters, in particular Winter, who tackles crime after crime with a shrewd mind and a heavy heart. Recommend this one to readers of Henning Mankell. Block, AllisonSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This author is slowly growing on me or is it that I am now becoming more accustomed to his style, a style that is haunting and psychologically shrewd.''Frozen Tracks'' is a superbly crafted crime novel, a compelling and dark thriller, definitely the best I have read from this author so far.
A glimpse into the story:
DCI Erik Winter and his team are baffled by a rash of beatings in Gothenburg that have nearly killed several young men, a distinctive mark left by the attacker's mysterious weapon leads them to believe they have a serial offender on their hands. The mystery is: why is someone doing this and how far will he go...
At the same time, the police force is faced with another high priority that is also escalating. At first, police treat reports of nursery school children being lured to a car of a strange 'mister' offering candy with importance but when a boy is found badly beaten in the woods and another is kidnapped from a school yard the s..t hits the fan ' One of the children at the school is Winter's daughter, without question he wants in on the investigation and his first instinct tells him there might be a connection between these two major cases. Gradually the plot lines converge and the suspense and intrigue rapidly intensifies when the monster the police are hunting for targets Winter's family in order to fulfill his sadistic needs.
The story highlights the importance of team work and good leadership, the dialogue is heavy in nature and many facts are revealed through a free flow of vital and trivial information among team members.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In a seemingly unrelated spate of creepiness, four-year-old children are returning home after preschool and reporting to their parents that they were enticed by an offer of candy to sit with a "mister" alone in his car. The children appear unharmed, but who lured them away and why becomes more and more important as DCI Erik Winter investigates.
Erik Winter is a nice addition to the famous policemen we know and love--Kurt Wallander, Inspector Sejer, Morse, Rebus, and others. He is well grounded in intelligence and common sense, and he is without crippling vices or depression as are many enigmatic police-heroes. Ake Edwardson writes well and has a real forte in characterization. His detectives are likable, believable, and unique enough for the reader to be interested in their separate lives--and it makes us want to read more novels featuring Winter and his crew of police officers.
And the atmosphere! Edwardson manages to expertly convey cold, gray autumn days turning into winter. The ever colder wind; the damp, rotting leaves; and the falling snow all contribute to the sense of escalating tension as more crimes are committed. Frozen Tracks' pace never flags; and although the resolution of the plot is not as fleshed out as it should be, the novel is deeply satisfying and clearly the work of an expert author in the genre.
Two story lines in one, the first being about brutal (and bizarre) attacks against young university students, the other told from the point of view of a man who, for no apparent reason (at least not at first), abducts young children from their nursery school playgrounds, only to return them several hours later, seemingly unharmed. Until the one time he didn't....
I'm confused at the review about the poor translation, I found this no more/less poorly translated than many translated books I've read. I think they dialogue he/she pointed out made perfect sense and went along with the personality of the characters. It's always weird to read translated books, especially when you're dealing with difficult languages, but I think Laurie Thompson has done a great job in any book I've read translated by him.
Anyway, if you like Scandinavian thrillers, you wont be disappointed by Frozen Tracks. The only irritating thing about it is the first novel in this series has not been translated to english, so I'm still missing some of the background!
The novel begins around the environs of Gothenberg and once again features Detective Chief Inspector Erik Winter. Winter and his team are probing a rash of assaults on male university students, who have been bludgeoned from behind suffering severe head trauma. Seemingly unconnected are a concurrent rash of abductions of 4 year old nursery school students. The children are lured into the car of a "mister" with the enticement of candy but then released unharmed. Winter in particular is alarmed by the danger as his daughter Elsa attends one of the hopelessly understaffed schools hit by this predator.
Christmas time is approaching and Winter's plan for a holiday in the Costa del Sol with his partner Angela and daughter will have to be postponed until the crimes are solved. Members of his squad are portrayed to also be dealing with intense personal issues which affects their focus on the spate of crimes.
The pedophilic predator is portrayed as an abused child, now grown up, fulfilling his unconsumated childhood. Interviews with a farm raised victim, lead Winter and his team to the bleak and desolate prairies of rural Sweden when a branding iron is considered as being the assault weapon. Winter and his sidekick Ringmar while interviewing possible suspects to the crime in the hinterlands have a foreboding that the unrelated crimes may somehow be connected. The plot slowly percolates until a young boy is kidnapped from a department store in the midst of the holiday shopping rush. Winter and his colleagues desperately try to learn the identity of the perpetrator before an even greater tragedy occurs.
Edwardson does an excellent job in believeably delving into the psycholgical implications wrought by the crimes in the abused and abducted children and their tormented parents as well as the assault victims. His meticulous developement of the characters, particularly the investigators, allows us to appreciate the emotional toll they experience as they despondently do their jobs amid their own stifling personal problems.
Just such a creep hovers in the background of this story, luring children away from their nursery schools and then returning them unharmed. Parents are calling the police, not knowing what to do.
Meanwhile another peculiar criminal is absorbing the attention of the Gothenburg police. Someone is whacking college students on the back of the head with a weapon that leaves a bizarre mark.
Winter and his team meander in and out of these two investigations, making up the lack of leads with bouts of group speculation. Åke Edwardson portrays this "grasping in the dark" quite realistically.
Edwardson aims at artistic effects in his books. So I always spend some time feeling confused by half-expressed thoughts and switches in viewpoint. Still, he's good at building tension and atmosphere. A sense of dread emerges through the slow extraction of clues from a variety of sources, from crusty old farmers to reticent four-year-olds. Winter calls his team "archeologists of crime," and dig they do, reconstructing the truth from shards.
I've now read all the Åke Edwardson novels available in English, and I'm on the lookout for the next translation. He may not be my favorite Scandinavian crime writer, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying his books! If you want to try Åke Edwardson, I'd suggest starting with Death Angels or The Shadow Woman, which both take place earlier in Chief Inspector Winter's career.