'The godfather of Scandinavian crime fiction' Jo Nesbo
In an unnamed country, in an unnamed year sometime in the future, Chief Inspector Jensen of the Sixteenth Division is called in after the publishers controlling the entire country's newspapers and magazines receive a threat to blow up their building, in retaliation for a murder they are accused of committing. The building is evacuated, but the bomb fails to explode and Jensen is given seven days in which to track down the letter writer.
Jensen has never had a case he could not solve before, but as his investigation into the identity of the letter writer begins it soon becomes clear that the directors of the publishers have their own secrets, not least the identity of the 'Special Department' on the thirty first floor; the only department not permitted to be evacuated after the bomb threat.
Author of the Martin Beck series.
Something quite special and fascinating: a use of the detective form to present a brooding and biting forecast of the future - or of a possible future
[Sarah Death's translation] seems to catch the bleakness perfectly... Wahlöö's solo work deserves to be considered in the same context as Zamyatin, Capek, Orwell, or Durrenmatt...high praise indeed.
[His novels] are economical and move with great pace... [They] have been restored to the canon of European crime fiction in English. Don't miss
Wahlöö would prompt many writers to use crime fiction as a way of holding a mirror to social evils. Here the investigation is tense, the murder shocking, but at heart the crime is against journalism and intellectual freedom