- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (April 25 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143037188
- ISBN-13: 978-0143037187
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #378,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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.
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
I liked this book for its intimacy. The narrative goes into much detail about everyday life in Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city, small things that make up a life but not usually a novel. I appreciated the distinction, but I also think the detective story suffered a bit. Not much tension builds, we never really understand why the murderer is killing, and several threads are left dangling.
Still, it's a worthwhile read and I look forward to others in the series. Not all have been translated into English, but the series includes: Sun and Shadow, Never End, Frozen Tracks, Death Angels, The Shadow Woman, Sail of Stone, Room No. 10, Samurai Summer, and The Final Winter.
Another problem that I had with the book was its formatting in Kindle. Edwardson switches back and forth with the voice in which the story is told, almost from paragraph to paragraph at times. We'll get a few paragraphs of things from Erik Winter's perspective. Then we may hear from his girlfriend, Angela, or from one of the policemen with whom he works. That's not a problem except that there is almost always no break to show the change in voice. So I'm reading along thinking that I'm still hearing Erik Winter's thoughts and suddenly I realize that the perspective has changed and this is someone else's mind that I'm in. Really, would it have killed them to put a double space between paragraphs that represent a change in perspective? It certainly would have lessened my confusion.
And, as long as I'm putting my quibbles with the book up front, Edwardson's narrative style seems passive in the extreme. I'm not one who glories in reading the minute blood and guts details of horrible murders, but it does help the reader, I think, to at least be told in the most matter of fact way possible just what has happened to the victim(s). Here, we have a couple, murdered in their home, who apparently had their heads cut off and stuck on the top of each others' bodies, but this comes out ever so slowly and haltingly in the narrative. When the police arrive on the scene, it is merely hinted at but never stated. Later, another couple is attacked in their home and the man is killed, but, for some unknown reason, the murderer doesn't finish the job on the woman. She is grievously injured - apparently - but we are never told what her injuries are.
And in the ending of the story, we have the hero's pregnant girlfriend kidnapped and held captive for days and (Spoiler alert!)
finally rescued unharmed, but we get no details of that kidnapping or the rescue. We are simply told that it happened. Very frustrating for the reader. At least for this reader.
In addition, the story goes a bit off track early on with a subplot concerning Erik Winter's parents who have retired to Costa del Sol in Spain. His father suffers a health emergency and Erik goes there to be with them and the story just seems to meander along without any real purpose. I assume this was intended to more fully flesh out the character of Erik in the reader's mind. But the digression goes on too long for my taste and didn't add much to the story.
When Erik returns to Sweden, he has the further personal complications of his doctor girlfriend, who is pregnant with their first child, getting ready to move in with him, even though she obviously has reservations. And then almost immediately he is plunged into the investigation of the gruesome murders.
This is certainly very different from every other Swedish or Scandinavian murder mystery/thriller that I've read in that it is told in such a passive voice. While that isn't necessarily a bad thing, Edwardson's iteration of it didn't catch my imagination. The book was okay, but just that.
Well, I need more than the bare minimum. Luckily we got the Scandinavians. They are different sort of people, and so are their crime novels. Quiter, darker in mood and thoughts,and demanding much more from the reader. " Sun and Shadow" is one of those books. Set in last few months of 1999 in Gothenburg, Sweden, brings back the madness of the last year of the second millenium. Mr. Edwardson's characters are real people, somewhat lost in both the time they live in and the bloody murder cases they work on. They rant, brainstorm or just talk plain nonsense. But they are alive and easy to identify with. Another winner from Sweden.