Review: Anger Mode by Stefan Tegenfalk


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Translated from the Swedish by David Evans. Nordic Noir Books, an imprint of Massolit Publishing Ltd, London. 2011 Kindle Edition. 905 KB. Originally published in Sweden as Vredens tid, 2009. ASIN: B006M3MV0G.

In 2004, a ten year old girl and her mother get killed in a car accident near Uppsala. Five years later, a taxi driver dies in a collision in Stockholm. The only passenger survives but is facing charges for manslaughter, perhaps even for murder. A witness saw him struggling with the driver just before the accident. The passenger is a judge at the Stockholm District Court and, so far, he has had an impeccable track record. He can not remember anything of what have happened nor can he provide any explanation.

Detective Inspector Walter Gröhn is in charge of the investigation with the assistance of a young female trainee from RSU, the Special Investigation Unit, Jonna de Brugge. Walter is a maverick policeman, a lone wolf who is about to turn sixty and has the highest percentage of cases solved. “Under all circumstances, it (this investigation) must be handled cleanly and with meticulous sensitivity.” Then two more murders follow one another with similar characteristics. There is no obvious reason and the main suspects can not remember what happened. Besides all suspects work as judges or lay judges in the Administration of Justice.

A new line of investigation opens unexpectedly. Traces of an unknown substance have been found in one of the victims. A highly sophisticated drug that cannot be found on the market yet. A kind of smart drug, known as adaptive medicine. A new compound that still needs time and requires vast resources to be fully developed.

At this stage, the National Security Service, SÄPO, becomes interested in the subject.   Walter and Jonna are removed from the investigation. SÄPO’s chief inspector, Martin Borg, takes over the case. Martin is convinced that there is a direct involvement of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose the Sharia law in Sweden and destroy their Justice Administration. Walter does not buy this theory.

In the meantime Walter was found to have a brain tumour and has to undergo an emergency operation. For this reason he will have to direct the steps of Jonna from his hospital bed. And Jonna, sometimes reluctantly, will have to conduct an investigation in parallel.

Anger Mode can be described as a political thriller. The plot is convoluted and has some elements that are hard to believe or scarcely credible. It has too many subplots and some are redundant. The number of secondary characters is also very high and their function is not always needed. They appear and disappear for no reason. Nevertheless I found it easy to read and, despite its flaws, I enjoyed it. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll read the follow up.  

My rating: 3/5.

Stefan Tegenfalk (born in 1965) released his debut novel Anger Mode, the first part of a trilogy, in 2010. So far he has released four novels in Swedish. He writes a mixture of crime novels and thrillers and his main characters are a classic combination of the older Detective Superintendent (Walter Gröhn) and the young trainee (Jonna de Brugge).  (Emma Kreü The Literary Magazine)

Anger Mode has been reviewed by NacyO at the crime segments, Glenn at International Noir Fiction, Maxine at Petrona, Karen at Euro Crime, at Philip at To Be Read,  

Nordic Noir Publishing

Anger Mode Publicity Page

Stefan Tegenfalk

Massolit Forlag


Anger Mode de Stefan Tegenfalk

En el 2004, una niña de diez años y su madre mueren en un accidente de coche cerca de Uppsala. Cinco años más tarde, un taxista muere en una colisión en Estocolmo. El único pasajero consigue sobrevivir pero se enfrenta a un cargo por homicidio, puede incluso que por asesinato. Un testigo lo vio luchando con el conductor justo antes del accidente. El pasajero es juez en un Tribunal de Distrito de Estocolmo y, hasta ahora, ha tenido una trayectoria impecable. No puede recordar nada de lo ocurrido ni puede ofrecer ninguna explicación.

El Detective Inspector Walter Gröhn está a cargo de la investigación con la asistencia de una joven novata del RSU, la Unidad Especial de Investigación, Jonna de Brugge. Walter es un policía heterodoxo, un lobo solitario que está a punto de cumplir sesenta años y tiene el porcentaje más elevado de casos resueltos. “En todo caso, (la investigación) debe ser manejada de forma limpia y con una minuciosa sensibilidad.” A continuación se suceden dos asesinatos mas de características similares. No existe ningún motivo evidente y los principales sospechosos no pueden recordar lo que pasó. Además todos los sospechosos trabajan como magistrados o jueces legos en la Administración de Justicia.

Una nueva línea de investigación se abre inesperadamente. Restos de una sustancia desconocida se han encontrado en una de las víctimas. Un fármaco altamente sofisticado que no se pueden encontrar en el mercado todavía. Una especie de droga inteligente, conocida como medicina adaptable. Un nuevo compuesto que todavía necesita tiempo y una gran cantidad de recursos para estar completamente desarrollado..

En ese momento el Servicio Nacional de Seguridad, la SAPO, se interesa por el tema. Walter y Jonna son apartados de la investigación. El inspector jefe de la SAPO, Martin Borg, se hace cargo del caso. Borg está convencido de que existe una implicación directa de fundamentalistas islamistas que quiere imponer la ley islámica en Suecia y destruir su administración de Justicia. Walter no se cree esta teoría.

Mientras tanto Walter descubre que tenía un tumor cerebral y tiene que someterse a una operación de emergencia. Por esta razón, tendrá que dirigir los pasos de Jonna desde su cama de hospital. Y Jonna, a veces de mala gana, tendrá que llevar a cabo una investigación en paralelo.

Anger Mode (Modo ira) puede ser calificado de thriller político. La trama es complicada y tiene algunos elementos que son difíciles de creer, resultan poco creibles. También tiene  demasiadas tramas secundarias, algunas sobran. El número de personajes secundarios secundarios es demasiado elevado y su función no es siempre necesaria. Aparecen y desaparecen sin motivo alguno. Con todo me pareció que es fácil de leer y, a pesar de sus defectos, me gustó. No estoy seguro todavía si voy a leer la continuación.

Mi calificación: 3/5.

Stefan Tegenfalk (nacido en 1965) publicó su primera novela Anger Mode, la primera entrega de una trilogía, en el 2010. Hasta ahora ha publicado cuatro novelas en sueco. Escribe una mezcla de novela negra y de suspense y sus personajes principales son una combinación ya clásica de un detective maduro (Walter Gröhn) con una joven policía sin experiencia (Jonna de Brugge).

6 thoughts on “Review: Anger Mode by Stefan Tegenfalk

  1. José Ignacio – Thank you for this thoughtful and candid review. It certainly does seem that there are a lot of too-neat co-incidences and other credibility issues. Still, I’m just intrigued enough to probably read this one. I’ve thought it about since it came out and I appreciate your reminder that it’s out there…

    1. Margot – Thank you for your comment. It’s probably a worthwhile book despite some obvious flaws. You can see other bloggers’ reviews. I have not highlighted it but there is quite a sense of humour among it’s pages.

  2. I agree that the science fiction aspects of the book mar it as a crime novel – you aren’t supposed to have undetectable substances causing deaths, etc. However, I did enjoy this book for the character of Walter and the humour, mainly. I thought the SAPO element was overdone (ie too cartoonish). But now I have read Leif G W Persson, I realise there must be several characters like Martin around – at least if you believe these two authors!

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