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Publisher's Summary

The leader of a religious cult in Guyana instigates a mass suicide. He succeeds in killing himself and his whole flock of worshippers, save one. One man escapes.
In the wood in the country land outside Ystad, the police make a horrific discovery: a severed head and hands locked together in an attitude of prayer. A Bible lies at the victim's side, handwritten corrections and amendments on every page. A string of incidents, including attacks on domestic animals, has been taking place and Inspector Wallander fears that these events could be the prelude to attacks on humans on a much greater scale.
Linda Wallander, preparing to join the Ystad police force, arrives at the station. Showing all the hallmarks of her father - the maverick approach, the flaring temper - she becomes involved in the case and in the process has to confront a group of extremists bent on punishing the world's sinners. Before the Frost is a totally compelling and atmospheric crime story.
©2004 Henning Mankell (P)2009 Random House Audio
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Customer Reviews

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By Lia on 11-29-13

Gripping Story

This is a terrifying thriller, written by Henning Mankell, a Swedish mystery writer. The book is the first featuring Linda Wallander, his main character's daughter, as a police officer, and I hope he plans on writing more. The author asks at the beginning, what if one man had survived the Jonestown massacre in Guyana in 1978, and proceeds to follow that man. The plot is exciting and escalates fast into frightening, with ritual murder and sacrifice, disappearances of Linda's two best friends. Underneath, and effectively communicated, is the theme that religion can be a force for either good or evil, and it is a most powerful tool for manipulating people. This is evident all the time in the news, when countries go to war or terrorists commit mass murder, it's always "God is on our side," and who can argue with that? Religious fervor in the wrong hands can result in the worst atrocities. The book finishes on Linda's first official day of work, Sept. 11, 2001. I highly recommend this book, it's one of the best I've read this year.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful


By Peter on 03-04-13

A gripping and vivid tale

If you could sum up Before the Frost in three words, what would they be?

A disturbing tale

What did you like best about this story?

Kurt and Linda were pursuing two parallel investigations - one official and one personal. It seemed for quite a good deal of the story that the two investigations were never going to coincide. This was masterfully achieved and as the story progressed it became more mysterious and difficult to predict where the story was going to head - only that it was getting darker and darker. This was well crafted.

Have you listened to any of Sean Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes one - I particularly like the Swedish feel he creates and the clarity of the characters - a great performance.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The cruel God

Any additional comments?

Great story, great performance - I want more!

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Customer Reviews

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By Noush on 06-10-10

A cut above usual crime fiction.

This is the first Wallander book I have listened to; having seen the brilliant TV series I wanted to get back to the originals...

This is really a cut above your average crime fiction. Unlike so many two dimensional crime fiction characters, the protagonists are fleshed out with complex inner lives and psychological detail which really grips. There are few characters, but you really feel you know them.

I also enjoyed the almost post-modern touches. At one point, everyone in a crime conference gets side-tracked into talking about a children's tv show at length, while Wallander waits for order to resume.

This is a good place to start if you are new to Wallander books. It is just a shame they are not being translated in order!

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful


By Kindle Customer on 05-09-10

Thoroughly enjoyed this Wallander mystery

Already a Wallander fan having read a few of Henning Mankell's books and seen the Kenneth Branagh series on TV, I had high expectations. I was not disappointed. Expertly read by Sean Barrett, a real pleasure to listen to, the story was gripping with twists, turns and revelations underscored by the continuing characterisation of Wallander and in this book, his daughter Linda, who is about to join the police force. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it went all too fast.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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