Autumn Killing

Author:  Mons Kallentoft
Narrator:  Jane Collingwood

Why did I read it? I had read the first two books in the Malin Fors series, “Midwinter Sacrifice” and “Summertime Death“. I had enjoyed the former far more than the latter, and I had hoped “Autumn Killing” was a return to form for Mons Kallentoft.

What’s it about? Jerry Petersson’s body is found in the moat of Skogså Castle, his home. A self-made man, he obtained the castle from a family that had owned it for generations upon his return to his hometown of Linköping. Malin Fors struggles with the case, and the rest of the investigating team come to the for, as Malin’s life is near to collapsing from her inability to deal with the kidnap of her teenage daughter Tove by a serial killer the year before.

What did I like? The narration by Jane Collingwood was up to speed, and I still enjoyed the male narrator of the victim’s voices, and the sound effects for telephone conversations, etc. that are employed in the audio versions of these books. When parts of the storytelling began to weary me, Ms Collingwood did exceptionally well to keep me listening. The audio version was clear, without mistakes, and the pace felt even and steady, even if the actual storyline didn’t.

The characterisation of Malin has felt more realistic in these last two books, and I’m pleased to find I feel comfortable with her now.

There is still an unsolved matter from the first book still lurking in the background that has kept me tempted to read this series, and mention was made of it several times within “Autumn Killing“.  I should like to see it resolved – eventually.

What didn’t I like? For me, there was an extraordinary amount of focus on Malin’s personal life, and this gave the impression of overwhelming all other aspects of the book.  The murder, and solving it was secondary, if not tertiary to the inner life of the main detective, Malin.  I really didn’t understand this at all. There was some insight into the home and/or personal lives of the other investigators in “Autumn Killing“, but there was no real surprise much of them seemed stereotypical cop characters, and because of this, I lost interest in them, too.  It really felt like no effort had been made at all to draw intriguing characters other than Malin, and I was so tired of hearing her voice/thoughts, that I almost did not make it to the end of the reading.

The murders also lacked lustre, the reason for them feeling a somewhat overused (or maybe I’ve read too many crime fiction novels), and I feel it the whole mystery could have been far more prominent within the book overall. It was almost a cliché, like the other characters in the investigation team.

Oh, how I wish that either the author, or translator (whoever is responsible), would learn another word, or two, or three for “says”.  When conversations run for a while, “says” really began to grate my nerves.  Here are some options to consider: responds; posits; replies; queries; thinks aloud; states; affirms; and swears.  There are any number of other words which can be found in a thesaurus which can be used as an alternative to “says”.   Use them.  Please!

I don’t know. “Midwinter Sacrifice” held so much promise for me, but any originality seems to have been depleted by “Autumn Killing“, as has my enthusiasm for the series.  It feels so tired already.

Would I recommend it?   No, I’m afraid not.   Enjoy “Midwinter Sacrifice“, but I wouldn’t take it any further than that with the Malin Fors series, and I would read, rather than listen to the audiobook version.   [See my review of “Midwinter Sacrifice“, dated 17 March 2012, for reasons why you should avoid the audio edition.]

Rating:  2½/5.

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