Book review: The Inspector and Silence by Hakan Nesser

hakan-nesser-the-inspector-and-silence-cover-200pxSo after my poor experience with Nesbo, I looked around for something with a bit of guts and novelty and, even, full-blown storytelling. So when I saw, “favourably compared with Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson”, how could I go wrong.

The Inspector and Silence is an Inspector Van Veerteren Mystery and VV spends a lot of time musing about cases, both current and past. And about women, both current and past. And a lot about when and how to have a cigarette, and/or a glass of wine, or a couple of beers, or which dish to choose on a menu, or whether to walk or row or drive, and which music could or should accompany any of the preceding activities.

The problem is, nothing actually happens. There’s the common backdrop for this type of “mystery” of young teenage girls being raped and killed. There’s the common backdrop of young/old cops who are enthusiastic/jaded. But all Nesser can do is tell what’s going on. Or, to be more precise, what’s going on in the heads of the main characters, and constantly with VV.

So there’s no show and only tell. And the who, when and why are tossed in at the end with little regard for what went before. So, in large part, mild boredom ensued for this reader. The only comparison with Larsson would be, “don’t ever think Nesser can construct the intensity or passion of Larsson, and certainly not the wondrous characterisation!”