Harrogate Hitlist: The Blinded Man by Arne Dahl

Published by Vintage.

Two of Sweden’s most powerful businessmen have been murdered.

In the face of mounting panic amongst the financial elite, a task force has been created to catch the culprit before he kills again. To his surprise, Detective Paul Hjelm, currently under investigation for misconduct after shooting a man who took a immigration office hostage, is summoned to join the team.

But the killer has left no clues – even removing the bullets from the crime scenes – and Hjelm and his new teammates face a daunting challenge if they are to uncover the connection between the murdered men and identify any potential victims before he strikes again.

The first book in the critically acclaimed Intercrime series, The Blinded Man is an intelligent and gripping crime novel.

First published in the United States under the title Misterioso.

Arne Dahl will be appearing at this year’s Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.

It’s not often that I close a book and would like to pick up and read the next in the series straight after. Normally I prefer the space between series books, the chance to read something different in between times.
With Arne Dahl’s central character, Paul Hjelm, however I would have gladly picked up the upcoming ‘Bad Blood’ (due in 2013) and started reading straight away. In ‘The Blinded Man’ the author has given readers a new detective character to follow, a team of associates, and lots of questions left hanging – but not in a frustrating way, just in a way that will encourage its readers to want to read more, to follow Hjelm and the series.
With cover blurb comparisons to Mankell’s ‘Wallander’ and to television’s ‘The Wire’ I would also add my own comparison to recent French cop movie ‘Polisse’ for its similar ensemble cast and I think fans of John Harvey’s jazz-loving ‘Charlie Resnick’ series of novels will get a kick out of the role that the music of Thelonious Monk has to play here too.

It is a serial killer novel, but not in the traditional stalk, slash & splatter that crime fiction has been somewhat tainted with of late. This is a tale of revenge, the victims are powerful men. The attacks are more akin to gangland assassinations, two bullets per head, neat and clinical.

Paul Hjelm is a damaged detective – and, let’s be honest, if crime fiction conventions aren’t played along with to a certain extent the books tend to fail. He has a troubled home-life, a job on the skids after he’s accused of a suspected racially aggravated shooting of an Albanian Kosovan in a hostage case, and he has a niggling blemish on his face which seems to be increasing in size with every check in the mirror.

The actions of the serial killer ‘The Power Murderer’ throw Hjelm a lifeline – he is tasked with working the A-Unit to catch the killer, and as it is a case of this role or off the force, he throws himself into the job.

An investigation that takes in corruption, Freemason-like societies, sex-workers, Russian gangsters, jazz music and golf, there’s something for everyone to get interested in along the way.

Younger readers will be certain to be googling a few times on the way, but I was somewhat pleased for the mentions of Walkmans and Maxell audio cassettes.

A very welcome addition to Swedish crime and a series I’ll be sure to follow.



Filed under Book Review

3 responses to “Harrogate Hitlist: The Blinded Man by Arne Dahl

  1. Sounds great! I’m beginning to wonder if I should take 1 bag for my clothes and another for books when I go to Harrogate!

  2. Pingback: AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Arne Dahl « Keith B Walters

  3. Pingback: AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Arne Dahl |

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