Pantheon Books, 2011, originally published in Sweden in 1999, published in the UK as The Blinded Man
I picked up Misterioso because I tend to read lots of Swedish crime novels. I’ve also seen plenty of talk online about the BBC series which won’t be aired here for some time. Since I tend to believe books are better than their adaptations, I dove in.
Misterioso introduces Paul Hjelm, a police officer in crisis after defusing a hostage crisis at an immigration office. He believes his career is in jeopardy because of the ensuing Internal Affairs investigation, but abruptly he is recruited to join the A-Unit, a newly formed division of the National Criminal Police charged with investigating a serial killer who is targeting capitalist bigwigs.
This was a serial killer book that I really, really liked, and I think it was because it involved a whole investigative unit instead of a profiler or one sole detective versus a serial killer. The A-Unit is made up of six highly capable investigators and their boss, former soccer star Jan-Olov Hultin. The book goes into everyone’s backstories to a degree, but there’s plenty to cover in subsequent books.
The plotting is brisk, with a few slow spots but that’s because the investigation covers the span of two months and there are some dead ends the investigators pursue. There’s also lots of discussion of politics, the economy at the end of the 1990s, and sociology, and it doesn’t slow the story down because it’s so integral to the world in which the A-unit works. Maybe the speeches didn’t bother me because Dahl also uses plenty of humor during the course of the investigation, which I much appreciated.
The next book in the Intercrime series is Bad Blood, and it’s going to be published in the U.S. in August 2013. Harvill Secker purchased two additional books in the series recently.