5.25.2009

The Thriller: Mankell v. Deaver, Masterpiece Theater, etc.

So, my pastor and I took a trip to Sweden recently where he preached at my father-in-law's church and where we helped my dad-in-law work on the old family farm house on a farm called Texabo. On the way over I got to catch Firewall, an Inspector Kurt Wallander thriller, produced by and or for Masterpiece Theater on PBS. I was afraid I was going to miss all three televised stories based on Henning Mankell's novels. But go figure, there it was, showing on the mini-screen before me. It stars Kenneth Branaugh, and he does a fair job, though I've always pictured Wallander in a whole other way. Thicker, more pasty maybe, bigger. But still, a good film. Anyhow, for my reading on the way I took with me two Jeffery Deaver thrillers, The Broken Window and The Stone Monkey, both of which feature his most famous CSI guy, Lincoln Rhyme. They were both page-turners. The first is about identity theft, and the whole time I was away from home I feared that if I swiped my card in a foreign land that I'd be left with nothing in the bank account. But it's also about big brother and their multiple uses of all kinds of bits and pieces of our information. The second was about dissidents in China coming over to the U.S. illegally, and before they even land on our soil, there's an explosion, set off by the very person charged with bringing them over. It's a good story, and I preferred it to the first. But then I went to a book store in Sweden and found a collection of short stories called The Pyramid, by Henning Mankell that feature a younger Officer Wallander. In each story, years have passed and we get to see the young man become Inspector Wallander. I'm halfway through, but I can tell you this much, I prefer Mankell to Deaver (whose Devil's Teardrop comes closest to competing against Mankell's writing, which is more literary, deeper). Dennis Lehane is perhaps Mankell's counterpart in the States.

Thanks to the men and women in the U.S. military who've given their lives to ensure our present freedoms. Thanks also to their families.

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