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Sun and Shadow: An Erik Winter Novel [Paperback]

Ake Edwardson , Laurie Thompson
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 25 2006

Like his fellow countryman Henning Mankell, Åke Edwardson is a successful figure on the international mystery scene and a brilliant discovery for lovers of intricate, psychologically charged, and stylish crime novels. With Sun and Shadow, Edwardson introduces readers to detective Erik Winter, the youngest chief inspector in Sweden, who wears sharp suits, cooks gourmet meals, has a penchant for jazz, and is about to become a father. He's also moody and intuitive, his mind inhabiting the crimes he's trying to solve. In this atmospheric, heart-stopping tale, Winter's troubles abound—and a bloody double murder on his doorstep is just the beginning.

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Sun and Shadow: An Erik Winter Novel + The Shadow Woman: A Chief Inspector Erik Winter Novel
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Cars from Sweden are known for being dependable and safe, but like this American debut from a celebrated Scandinavian crime writer, their stolid lines don't necessarily spark excitement. Erik Winter, a jazz-loving, gourmet-cooking detective, is a blaze of color amid the drab postwar apartment blocks of Gothenburg, a city reeling from a macabre double murder. Winter, whose normally secure battlements are assaulted by family tragedy and the impending birth of his first child, sets out to follow the dark drops of gore blooming in the snow. The path leads in any number of interesting directions—through thickets of death metal enthusiasts and swingers, through winds of psychosexual trauma—but these subjects never pierce the book's colorless atmosphere. Excessive exposition slows down an already unhurried plot, which Americans fond of glib investigators on CSI and Hannibal Lecter's piercing irony will find insufficiently suspenseful. The villain is comparatively bland, and the translation often awkward: Winters takes a "softly softly approach" so that his witness doesn't get "chary." Add in an insistence on mundane details, such as the particulars of a simple bank transaction, and the results smother any flame of personality. All the blocks that built this gothic ice cathedral are cut straight, but assembled without the design of a compelling thriller.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Eric Winter, at 40, is Sweden's youngest chief inspector, but his brow is already starting to furrow in the manner of Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander. In this American debut of what promises to be a superior procedural series, a plethora of seemingly insoluble problems contribute to Winter's sense of growing discontent: his father is dying in Spain; his pregnant girlfriend is moving into his apartment; and a bloody double murder suggests a serial killer. As in the Wallander series, the focus here lands not only on the hero but also on his entire team, as Edwardson details the slow grind of the investigative process. The action, beginning in fall 1999 and extending into spring 2000, effectively uses the Y2K panic to heighten the sense of troubled waters approaching that grips Winter and those around him. The comparison to Mankell is obvious, but in many ways, this series harkens further back, to Sjowall and Wahloo's early Martin Beck novels, in which another youngish Swedish inspector was beginning to realize that sometimes a crime's solution solves nothing. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars On the Slow Side Sept. 8 2010
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
3rd book in the Erik Winter series and 1st translated into English

This detective fiction brings us to Gothenburg Sweden at the turn of the millennium. Erik Winter, a soon to be father, is highly talented and the youngest chief inspector in the country.

In its first chapter, a gruesome double homicide has police investigating the shadier side of Sweden. The underground world, black metal music and unconventional sex quickly surfaces in their investigation. The murderer has left a riddle of clues at the crime scene and Erik realises the importance his leadership can play in finding this killer. All this is soon confirmed when another murder occurs and new clues appear to link the killer to the force. This adds more pressure in the race to close the case before the killer strikes again.

This proves to be an extremely stressful and challenging time in Erik Winter`s life. On his personal side he has been jetting back and forth to the Costa de Sol Spain to be at his father's death bed.

The author describes in depth the psyche and motivation of his many characters. They are an engaging and entertaining bunch but over characterization tends to distract from the main plot. The story flows at a steady but leisurely pace, just the right amount of suspense to keep the reader's attention. It is quite captivating, although I found the ending a little abrupt and quite predictable.

All that said and done I am looking forward to reading its sequel.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not trying to be Henning Mankell Nov. 6 2006
By Jim Coughenour - Published on
I'm rating this book 5 stars just to bring up the abysmal rating given by the only other reviewer so far; it deserves better. I'm an aficionado of Scandinavian detectives (see my manic list elsewhere). Edwardson's books are as enjoyable as any. "Never End" - the sequel to this book - is maybe richer, but "Sun and Shadow" serves as an excellent introduction to the icy world of Winter & company. The plot evolves in several dimensions and casts its own bleak spell. Connoisseurs of crime fiction won't want to miss it.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I read it in one night! Jan. 28 2008
By Angela - Published on
I am a very big fan of Scandinavian crime novels, being from Norway I guess that is a no-brainer.
While I have thoroughly enjoyed Mankells series, I was looking for something a bit more contemporary and edgier. I found it with Erik Winter. I think he breaths of fresh air into the genre. He's not an aging detective but a rising star in the force. He is smart and very complex, but also has a softer side when it comes to his family/personal life. Don't expect a Henning Mankell type novel. Both 'Erik Winter' books are very much worth reading and I recommend reading them in sequential order. I'm anxiously waiting for the third to come so I can pour me a glass of wine and have an evening with Mr. Winter.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Turmoil at the onset of the new millenium April 6 2007
By Cory D. Slipman - Published on
Ake Edwardson's "Sun and Shadow" is a worthy addition to the rapidly growing genre of Scandinavian crime dramas being translated for consumption for the English speaking market. Edwardson, however uses a slightly different formula. He devotes nearly one third of his novel developing both his characters, particularly protagonist, Detective Chief Inspector Erik Winter and his setting, Gothenberg, Sweden. He gives us brief glimpses at the heinous crime that will become Winter's focus.

Gothenberg is at the onset of both Christmas and the celebration of the new millenium when a brutal double murder with obvious sexual overtones is uncovered. Inspector Winter whose life is in flux owing to the anticipation of fatherhood, had recently been jetting back and forth to the Costa del Sol in Spain. His father lying on his deathbed had succumbed to his illnesses. With personal issues cluttering his mind, he now must focus on coordinating the investigation of this killing.

We soon learn through the ongoing inquest that the murder seems in some way related to couples who fulfill their sexual fantasies by wife swapping. Eyewitnesses around the crime scene report that a man in uniform was seen around the time of the murders. Could Winter possibly be searching for one of his own?

Edwardson leads us through his plot at a leisurely pace not revealing too much but concluding is a frenetic fashion as time is of the essence, as the murderer is poised to strike again.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing July 18 2012
By Against the Wind - Published on
I struggled through to read this book only to disappointed at the end. The writting is very disjointed hanging the scene and charecters after a couple of paragraphs. There were many events that happened in the story that added nothing to the story line. Murders that occur are vaguely described and the detectives seemes kind of dumb. For example, (SPOILER ALERT), it took them over half the book to realize that the couples were involved in swinging. It comes evedent early on due to the mulitple semen types disovered from varying periods that this would be the case. I thought it plodded and was somewhat boring. If you like Henkell,Nesbo don't bother with this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great one! April 10 2012
By Cameron C. Stevens - Published on
Another great Erik Winter case. I really like these mysteries, and the quality of them does not vary as much as other series. To me, every one of them knocks it out of the park. We start off with another tantalizing and vague episode, which usually ends up being from the viewpoint of the criminal or the victim. But, in this novel, more than most, these episodes jump around, and then start to include characters we know! Are these people presented significant to the building of characters and their lives, or the building of clues and suspense?

I normally just enjoy the narrative, if I can, but the tension was built so masterfully, that I kept turning back pages, or making little notes, and giggling with delight. I started to mistrust everyone, like I was on that same police force. So little was offered, not in a detrimental way, like the carrot before the mule, that you wanted to read it all in one sitting. I started to wonder if the culprit was indeed someone I knew in the books, or was it all a ruse?! And, despite my gushing, I still didn't realize the magnitude in which I was caught up in it all, until my suspicions of a person were revealed to only be a medical issue. When experiencing lesser mysteries, you would exclaim, "Gotcha" or "That threw me for a loop!" In the hands of this author, it was more like, "I'm glad he's OK!" You really care.

There is also more personal development of Erik, but this does not take away from the mystery. It's a great example of how one's personal life can help or hinder one's assessments of facts. Also evident is how the great cop qualities of paranoia, doubt and deception, can be detriments in one's personal life.

This was also another great translation, especially well-suited to Edwardson's spare style. There was a UK spelling or grammatical device, her or there, but nothing jarring. The language, and not just the events, built the suspense wonderfully. Three more mysteries to go, and I will sadly have to wait for his next one. So excited.
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