Friday, 20 January 2017

The Terrorists by Sjowall and Wahloo

The Terrorists by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahloo
First published in Swedish as Terroristerna in Sweden by Norstedts Forlag in 1975. English language translation by Joan Tate published in 1975.

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How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An American senator is visiting Stockholm and Martin Beck must lead a team to protect him from an international gang of terrorists. However, in the midst of the fervor created by the diplomatic visit, a young, peace-loving woman is accused of robbing a bank. Beck is determined to prove her innocence, but gets trapped in the maze of police bureaucracy. To complicate matters a millionaire pornographer has been bludgeoned to death in his own bathtub. Filled with the twists and turns and the pulse pounding excitement that are the hallmarks of the Martin Beck novels, The Terrorists is the stunning conclusion to the incredible series that changed crime fiction forever.

The Terrorists is the tenth and final novel in the Martin Beck series and is suitably ambitious in its scope. A global gang of highly trained terrorists are believed poised to strike in Sweden and Beck is charged with heading up the team that must outwit them. Despite being written just over forty years ago, other than the lack of technological advances much of The Terrorists could be a present day thriller. It is interesting to think that as many (or even more) terrorist groups were murderously active throughout the 1960s and 1970s and I think the only major difference is that then they encompassed a wide variety of political stances and ideologies, whereas now popular Western belief singularly demonises hardline Islamic groups.

I found the story slow to start because its disparate narrative lines meandered around each other and I couldn't see which was going to take off. I did like that Gunvald Larsson has a central role again. His abrasive attitude and language makes him a fun character to read. I loved the 'commando section' idea too. Once up to speed, The Terrorists is as exciting and tense as previous books in the series and it is easy to see how together the ten became the template for much of the Scandinavian crime fiction that has followed. Strong believable characters, interesting detail and social commentary, and tightly plotted storylines make for pretty perfect crime fiction and The Terrorists certainly stands the test of time.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Sjowall and Wahloo / Crime fiction / Books from Sweden

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