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One Step Behind

About the Book

One Step Behind

Things are not going well for Inspector Kurt Wallander. Driving east from Ystad, Sweden, early one morning, he falls asleep at the wheel and narrowly avoids a head-on collision with a truck. His fatigue has become constant. A visit to the doctor reveals the reason: his blood-sugar level is nearly off the charts. He is fifty years old, overweight, suffering from chronic insomnia and now diabetes. And these are just his personal problems. Three youths have apparently gone missing and a fellow detective, Svedberg, has been brutally murdered in his apartment, killed by a close range shotgun blast to the head. Are the two cases related? Svedberg seems to have been secretly involved with the youths, but it's not clear how. When their bodies are found in a nature preserve, and when a newlywed couple is murdered shortly after, Wallander finds himself in the midst of the most difficult investigation of his career. He must track down one of Sweden's worst serial killers, a man who seems always to be one step ahead of the police, a man who in fact seems to be following them as much as they are following him, a man who intends to strike again. The killer plans his crimes with meticulous care, relying on knowledge secret to everyone except his victims and himself, and he seems motivated, bizarrely enough, to strike when people are at the height of their happiness. Wallander doesn't have one solid lead or suspect; the parents of one of the murdered youths are publicly accusing him of mishandling the investigation; the Police Commissioner is not happy; the DA is running out of patience; one of Wallander's own detectives is so disillusioned by the brutality and senselessness of the crimes that he's considering quitting the force; Wallander himself is on the verge of physical and emotional collapse. And things are about to get worse.

Written with Henning Mankell's trademark attention to the fine details of police work and keen insight into the darker workings of the human mind, One Step Behind brings readers one step closer to a horrible—and seemingly insoluble—crime.

One Step Behind
by Henning Mankell

  • Publication Date: January 14, 2003
  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN-10: 1400031516
  • ISBN-13: 9781400031511