Sun and Shadow: An Erik Winter Novel Paperback – Apr 25 2006
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
For his part, Erik Winter, the cool-headed Chief Detective Inspector of Gothenburg, is facing enough major life changes to shake anyone's composure. His father is dying, his pregnant girlfriend Angela is moving in, and he's about to turn forty. What's more, his neighborhood has just become the scene of perhaps the nastiest murder case in Swedish history.
A man and wife are found dead in their apartment, black metal music screeching in the background. Their bodies have been gruesomely desecrated - I won't say how. Even the author is slow to give us the details, as if horrified by his own plot.
The investigation opens up "abysses lurking in the human condition." Even the cops are having anxiety attacks. The vicar who offers counseling to the police is kept exceedingly busy.
The mood of anxiety and alienation that we expect of Scandinavian writers is very much present in Edwardson's style. At the same time, the reader feels somewhat protected from evil by the strength of Winter's character and the forces of good. (Erik "sometimes" believes in God.)
Here and there Edwardson drops a chunk of storyline, leaving too many details to our imagination. I'm not fond of this type of literary vagueness. But all in all, SUN & SHADOW is an absorbing book, and I'll be going on with the series.