Vintage, Nov 2002, 13.00, 400 pp.
On Midsummer's Eve 1996, the three twentyish friends garbed in period piece costumes celebrate the holiday in the woods that is near the midpoint between their homes until someone kills the trio. Swedish Inspector Kurt Wallander just returned from vacation, worries about what diabetes is doing to his health, but the shootings take precedent over his personal pity. Though the illness seems to tire him, he contends with the demands from the media, brass, and politicians to solve the case yesterday.
Adding to Kurt's pressure is the murder of a fellow officer Svedberg with half the man's head blow to bits. Kurt digs deeply into the personal life of Svedberg, uncovering things he can not fathom with what he knew of his peer. As he realizes that the cases tie together and a serial killer haunts the south of Sweden, Kurt and his team constantly fails to stop an adept killing machine.
ONE STEP BEYOND is not a rehash of the scripts from the TV show, but instead is a terrific English translation of a strong Swedish police procedural. Though at times the interpretation seems off, the story line provides the audience with a delightful investigation and a deep look at the aging protagonist as he struggles with health problems. The sleuthing makes for a wonderful time for those readers who relish international flavor to their law enforcement stories. However, the key to this novel is the hero, a tired person who pushes to perform his duty. The genre audience has the treat of six other Wallander cases will also be translated and published over the next two years.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner