Why did I read it? I have been on a Scandi-Nordic fiction kick since midwinter 2011, and I heard the television drama series was good, but I couldn’t afford to purchase the DVD; so I snapped up a preview copy from Amazon, but found it already released in audio format and downloaded it instead.
What’s it about? Detective Inspector Sarah Lund is leaving her job with the Danish police and moving to Sweden with her fiancé and Son, but on the last day a teenage girl goes missing. Nanna Birk Larsen is found raped and brutally murdered, and Lund is unable to break from the case to leave, despite her replacement, Detective Inspector Jan Meyer, itching to take over.
What did I like? There are mistakes made by the police in their investigation, not everything is straightforward because – to quote the fictional Dr. Gregory House from television – “Everybody lies“. The listener is not always sure of Lund’s thinking, or how she makes the connections she does in her investigations. Lund seems very well drawn, as do the all the other characters.
Like most detectives in Scandi-Nordic crime fiction, the family life of Lund is dysfunctional, as are her working relationships, adding to the character interest; she is fallible but apparently not vulnerable. In “The Killing (Killing 1)” we have the addition of the dysfunctional world of politics, and the disintegration of the family of the victim.
I liked that things seemed rather all over the place, and it all only draws together in the last 20 minutes of the audio version. The audio was clear, without error and with a steady, even volume.
What didn’t I like? I can’t say what it was, but when I first started listening to “The Killing (Killing 1)“, I gave up very early on. It just could not hold my attention. I can’t say if it was the narration, the storyline or what. Months later, I started re-listening and was completely and utterly drawn in.
Though based on the television series, the book seems to stray from it in many places, at least according to synopses and analyses I’ve found in various places on the internet. In that respect, I am not sure I got what I wanted from it, which is an alternative to watching/buying the DVDs.
Christian Rodska as narrator seems to struggle to find unique voices for the characters, employing various English accents, but somehow it just wasn’t engaging. I though it rather forced and false. Eventually, I got used to his style, but I didn’t think his narration enhanced the book.
Would I recommend it? Yes, though I would warn it’s not an exact replica of the television drama and, perhaps would recommend reading, rather than listening to it.