Review: The Return by Håkan Nesser

The Return (Inspector Van Veeteren #3) by Håkan Nesser How did I get it: The library.

Why did I get it: I’m pretty hooked on Chief Inspector Van Veeteren as a character. (This book will count towards my Nordic Reading Challenge for 2011.)

How I would rate it: 3 out of 5 stars.


On a rainy April day, a body—or what is left of it—is found by a young girl. Wrapped in a blanket with no hands, feet, or head, it signals the work of a brutal, methodical killer. The victim, Leopold Verhaven, was a track star before he was convicted for killing two of his ex-lovers. He consistently proclaimed his innocence, however, and was killed on the day of his return to society. This latest murder is more than a little perplexing and Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is determined to discover the truth, even if it means taking the law into his own hands.

Review: Once again, I had a great time character-wise and only a decent time when it came to the way the plot developed. Nesser sets up really intriguing cases and this was no exception, but I just feel like they really don’t need to take 7 hours to be solved. I would have gotten done a lot quicker which would have curbed some of my irritation at there being a lack of suspects yet again. In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to switch from CD to print because I would have missed Simon Vance too much.

Van Veeteren, Munster, Ruth, and Reinhardt were wonderful as per usual. Van Veeteren had to deal with some health problems of his own, and handles them in the same wry, introspective way that he does most things. His attitude, sympathy, and actions in regards to Verhaven were riveting too. I was shocked by what ultimately happened and pleased by it because at least it was something different for a change. Munster also provided a bit of a more normal inspector to follow around, but his interaction and work relationship with his Chief Inspector is also really fun to read about. And throughout the book there were a lot of funny, laugh-out-loud moments in-between more serious, thought-provoking, or sad ones.

In conclusion, good if sort of uneven. I enjoyed the glimpses at the past and the characters, but I don’t like really having no way to come to the same conclusion as Van Veeteren did. I also sort of wish that the book hadn’t waited until the very last CD to pack such a tremendous wallop, but at least I really liked what everything added up to.

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About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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2 Responses to Review: The Return by Håkan Nesser

  1. Thanks for the review here. I hadn’t heard of this one before. Sounds as it was a little short in the plot though. Interesting soundings. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Reader’s Progress #33 | CSI: Librarian

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