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The Abominable Man: A Martin Beck Police Mystery    by Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo order for
Abominable Man
by Maj Sjowall
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The Abominable Man (translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal) is the seventh of ten Martin Beck novels by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. Unfortunately there will be no more after the tenth as Wahloo died in 1975.

I have to admit I have not yet read them all but am correcting that one book at a time. They are worth the read. Each and every one. Read them in sequence or randomly, they are still state of the art. Michael Connelly states that they are 'the most authentic, gripping and profound collections of police procedurals ever accomplished.' High praise, indeed. And very true.

In this novel, a police captain is gruesomely murdered in his hospital room where he lay dying from cancer. As Martin Beck and his fellow officers investigate, they discover that the murdered man had been guilty of strong-arm police work and out-and-out brutality - caring nothing for the citizens whom he unjustly accused of wrongdoing to prove what a strong man he was. Young officers new on the force fell under his spell and practiced the same type of policing.

Forty years of this along with too numerous-to-count complaints against this man finally came to a head as one of his victims decided to bring this cruel policeman to his own brand of justice.

As usual, the reader plods through the work involved to solve a case as Beck and his crew go without sleep and food to stop the killing. We can be more comfortable than Beck but become just as involved. This series seems so very real as do the characters that we know are not human but whom we take into our homes as though they were.

I shall be sad when I have read all ten Martin Beck mysteries. I will hate to say goodbye to the players in these novels.

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