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An 18-year-old woman is accused of a bank robbery she never intended to commit. Later, a producer of pornographic films is found murdered at the home of his mistress. Meanwhile, Martin Beck is placed in charge of Swedish security ahead of the visit of a US senator whom a group of international terrorists is determined to assassinate.


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An 18-year-old woman is accused of a bank robbery she never intended to commit. Later, a producer of pornographic films is found murdered at the home of his mistress. Meanwhile, Martin Beck is placed in charge of Swedish security ahead of the visit of a US senator whom a group of international terrorists is determined to assassinate.

30 review for The Terrorists

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    The Martin Beck saga ends with Sjowall and Wahloo’s 1975 novel The Terrorists. Swedish police inspector Martin Beck’s career began to be chronicled by the talented pair of writers in the 1965 novel Roseanna. The Terrorists was not complete when Per Wahloo died in 1975 and Maj Sjowall finished the last few chapters alone. Quirky and with a personality all its own, this follows a meandering path between loosely connected sub-plots with the main plot following Beck and his team assigned to protect a The Martin Beck saga ends with Sjowall and Wahloo’s 1975 novel The Terrorists. Swedish police inspector Martin Beck’s career began to be chronicled by the talented pair of writers in the 1965 novel Roseanna. The Terrorists was not complete when Per Wahloo died in 1975 and Maj Sjowall finished the last few chapters alone. Quirky and with a personality all its own, this follows a meandering path between loosely connected sub-plots with the main plot following Beck and his team assigned to protect a visiting American senator from a group of international terrorists. Filled with interesting characters and a unique narrative structure this very early Nordic Noir entry may have prefigured the class of novels now more commonly known in this genre. Still, the writing is distinctive and has a charm and attraction that makes it stand out. This reminded me of 1960s films like Bullit and Dirty Harry, and I could almost hear a Lalo Schifrin score.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    rating for the series as a whole, now that I'm finished with the last installment, Over the years, more than one person had wondered what it was that made Martin Beck such a good policeman. A legitimate question, given the enduring popularity of this series of ten police procedural novels written 50 years ago and still considered among the best in the field. For the authors, it is a rhetorical question, aboundantly answered in the actions of their lead character: "... a systematic mind, common s rating for the series as a whole, now that I'm finished with the last installment, Over the years, more than one person had wondered what it was that made Martin Beck such a good policeman. A legitimate question, given the enduring popularity of this series of ten police procedural novels written 50 years ago and still considered among the best in the field. For the authors, it is a rhetorical question, aboundantly answered in the actions of their lead character: "... a systematic mind, common sense, and conscientiousness", in that order. Many popular writers have tried to explain their own interest in Beck, and each of the ten novels is introduced by one of these big guns in the field. I usually avoid introductions, trying to make my own mind about what I am reading before I check out what others critics think, but in this present case, I believe Dennis Lehane is much more articulate than I could ever hope to be, so I will let him present Martin Beck to you: As this novel - the tenth in the series - is Martin Beck's swan song, it's worth noting that in the annals of realistic fictional policemen, Beck stands a full head above most. He carries plenty of psychic scars and admits to a depressive personality, but he's not gloom laden to the point of masochistic self-pity that so often masquerades as a hard-boiled hero's tragic worldview. Beck is a dogged worker bee entering his later middle-aged years with a healthy romantic life and no illusions about his place in the larger scheme of things. However exceptional, he is a civil servant. A great cop, yes, but in Sjowall and Wahloo's vision, a great cop is little more than a great functionary in a hopelessly flawed system. Beck's talents include "his good memory, his obstinacy, which was occasionally mule-like ... his capacity for logical thought ... and finding the time for everything that had anything to do with a case, even if this meant following up small details that later turned out to be of no significance" This is what makes a great cop - not the gun, not outsized emotion, not a need to tilt at windmills and otherwise rage against machines. That's the writer's job. The cop's job is to persevere, to examine the evidence, collate the data, push the papers, and work the case to its end. With an apology for the long quote, put here more for my own later reference, I will next remark on the writer's job, what Lehane calls "tilting at windmills". Over the ten book journey, I have remarked on the increasing acerbity of the social polemic promoted by Sjowall and Wahloo. The murder cases under investigation start with an anonymous victim of a deranged serial killer in "Roseanna", and slowly evolve into a condemnation of society in its entirety, in particular of the incompetent bureaucracy that controls the centralized police force. Martin Beck is apolitical, a functionary doing his job, but even for himself it becomes impossible to ignore the larger significance of the murders cases that land on his desk. For his colleague and best friend Kollberg, the pressure to conform to a rotten system proved too much, so he throws in the towel and quits. Martin is resigned to the loss of his friend, but this way out is not an option for him, too aware that it is the responsiblity of a good person to continue to do his job to the best of his ability: He's a nice man. I like his wife, too. And I think he did the right thing. He saw that the police as an organization devoted itself to terrorizing mainly two categories of people, socialists and people who couldn't make it in our class society. He acted according to his conscience and convinctions. It comes as no surprise to readers who followed the series in publication order, that the last book is dominated by the social issues to an unprecedented level. Given that Wahloo knew he was dying of cancer, it is probably not surprising that he turned the final chapter into a fiery anti-establishment manifesto. With his life partner Maj Sjowall, they close 'The Story of Crime' with the whole government put on trial for murders against 'the people'. I think lots of people know perfectly well they're being cheated and betrayed, but most people are too scared or too comfortable to say anything. It doesn't help to protest or complain, either, because the people in power don't pay any attention. They don't care about anything except their own importance, they don't care about ordinary people. There are several kinds of terrorists in this last novel, and analyzing their methods and their ideology is probably going to spoil the outcome of the investigation, so tread carefully from this point on. --- --- --- --- The novel starts with three unrelated events: a young woman is accused of robbing a bank, a producer of pornographic movies is assassinated in the house of his mistress, and a president of a Latin American country is blown to pieces by a hidden bomb on an official visit, despite comprehensive protective measures. Beck, as head of the Crime section of Stockholm's police is involved in the first two, and is later assigned as coordinator for security measures surrounding the visit of a powerful American senator to Sweden. Given the absence of old time friend Kollberg, Beck has to rely to a greater degree on Gunvald Larsson, despite their mutual dislike. The trend of blaming the system and the incompetent of ill-intended oligarchy was started several books back in the series, but it reaches its peak here, as the role are reversed and the criminals are cast in a positive light and their actions are seen as justified rebellion in the face of gross injustice. The victims or targets are cast as guilty as charged of crimes against humanity. (view spoiler)[ the young unwed mother is pushed over the edge by a combination of incompetence and indifference as her boyfriend is arrested in the US for draft dodging and her visit to a bank to ask for a loan is turned into a tragic comedy of errors; the pornographer gets his just deserts for the corruption of young girls with drugs and empty promises; the American Senator is the epitome of militaristic adventurism and war crimes; the head of government pays the price of the whole systematic plunder of resources and accumulation of wealth and power at the top of the social pyramid. (hide spoiler)] Pro bono lawyer Braxen captures the essence of the futile efforts of the individual against the system: A long lifetime's struggle against various authorities, and especially those who have more power than others, has taught me that one can seldom get anyone to listen, and even more seldom convince them that you're right. From the same Braxen, in case the point was not clear enough: What sort of people are they you get for murder and other horrors? Like the last one - some poor working slob who tried to hit back at the capitalist bastard who had destroyed his life. Such blatant embrace of socialist politics might have been a turn-off, a disconnect, in the hands of less skillfull writers. But Sjowall and Wahloo are working together like a fine tuned piano, tugging at the heart strings with their tale of woe of the simple men and women, carefully escalating the tension of the chase and depicting the slow accumulation of clues with consummate art. Without humour and a touch of love this tale would be grim and depressing, but sometimes the same humour is of such a dark shade that the laughter is coming hand in hand with fury: You mean he thought your abbreviation for 'clod squad' stood for 'commando section.' ? It's even harder to laugh when you know that several years after the book was published, life overtook fiction and (view spoiler)[ the prime minister of Sweden was assassinated in a bizare incident while his secret service detail was absent from duty (hide spoiler)] . Regarding the unequal struggle between the oligarchy and the disenfranchised citizens, I can't help but notice that Sjowall and Wahloo's arguments, situated unapologetically at the extreme left of the political spectrum, are nevertheless echoed today in the indifference of the major players to the demonstrations and grass roots movements of their electorate: protests against globalization, mass surveillance, money in politics, too big to fall banks and widespread corruption come and go under the imperturbable gaze of the elite, while secret pacts are negotiated to give them and their corporations even more control over our lives. Recently - no; for as long as I can remember, large and powerful nations within the capitalist bloc have been ruled by people who according to accepted legal norms are simply criminals, who from lust for power and financial gain have led their people into an abyss of egoism, self-indulgence and a view of life based entirely on materialism and ruthlessness toward their fellow human beings. reiterates the attorney Braxton while Rhea, the late blooming new love in Martin Beck's life, exclaims: What a goddamn awful world we live in. , even as she continues with her small efforts to make life better for her small circle of friends and neighbours. I think of her, and the only hope I see for the future is in these individual gestures of kindness and integrity that always start from the bottom up. A lot of nostalgia and reminiscing about the past infuses this last novel in the series. I share in the sadness of necessary goodbyes to Beck and his idiosyncratic colleagues from the Stockholm Serious Crime Unit, many of them making cameo appearances in this last investigation: Lennart Kollberg, Fredrik Melander, Benny Skacke, Gunnvald Larsson, Einar Ronn, Asa Torrell, Per Mansson, and all the other memorable people that give a human face to the cold equations of murder. The influence of the work of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo is unquestioned on both sides of the Atlantic, and is often judged as the golden standard against which other police procedurals are today judged. The authors claim that they planned it from the start to tell their story in ten books, but my last quote reflects on the continuity, both of the criminal endeavours and of the efforts of good men and women to fight against them and against the root causes of evil. - "Do you remember ten years ago?" - "When we were hunting for Folke Bengtsson and the police had just been nationalized? Yes, I do, and I guess that is a time to remember. But everything that happened afterwards? No, goddammit." - "Do you think that was when it all began?" - "No, I don't. And what's worse, I don't think this is where it's going to end."

  3. 4 out of 5

    AC

    Sjöwall and Wahlöö were lovers. And they wrote books together. Apparently, during their collaboration, they always worked by writing alternate chapters -- and then corrected each other's chapters. Wahlöö developed cancer and died in 1975, in Malmö, at the age of 48. The Terrorists was the final book of a projected 10 book series. Sjöwall has said that this volume was written almost entirely by Wahlöö, as he was dying -- in a race to the finish line. It is one of the better ones of this outstandi Sjöwall and Wahlöö were lovers. And they wrote books together. Apparently, during their collaboration, they always worked by writing alternate chapters -- and then corrected each other's chapters. Wahlöö developed cancer and died in 1975, in Malmö, at the age of 48. The Terrorists was the final book of a projected 10 book series. Sjöwall has said that this volume was written almost entirely by Wahlöö, as he was dying -- in a race to the finish line. It is one of the better ones of this outstanding series. The books, of course, should be read in sequence, starting with Roseanna. This series was one of the first Scandi police procedurals -- and it is very effective. Moreover, by the end, one has come to know a series of very interesting characters. The books have interesting plots, and the plots are character driven in a way that most crime novels are not. They are not thrillers -- they are analytical.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    Written in 1975 by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, The Terrorists A Martin Beck Police Mystery is about us right now. It is about the homegrown terrorists we make through our capitalist greed, our ever increasing inequality, our casting aside of those who don't fit into our neat ideas of a "normal" society. It is about the ideological terrorists who fight for a cause that isn't ours with whatever tools are at their disposal, tearing apart flesh and bone with bombs, blasting holes into skulls with bul Written in 1975 by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, The Terrorists A Martin Beck Police Mystery is about us right now. It is about the homegrown terrorists we make through our capitalist greed, our ever increasing inequality, our casting aside of those who don't fit into our neat ideas of a "normal" society. It is about the ideological terrorists who fight for a cause that isn't ours with whatever tools are at their disposal, tearing apart flesh and bone with bombs, blasting holes into skulls with bullets projected from sniper rifles, using their bodies as delivery systems for death -- all to make a point they feel can't be made any other way. It is about the terrorists who own us and rule us and manipulate us using the apparatus of government, unjust laws, and armed security forces to keep us in line. It is about the armies that we send out to kill and maim and destroy in our names. It is about how we move through our world surrounded by terrorists, maybe even being these terrorists ourselves, and how we can keep some modicum of what we like to imagine is our "humanity" in the face of it all. Leonard Kollberg and Martin Beck, Gunn Kollberg and Rhea Olsson manage to keep some of that humanity. I think Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö wished a portion of it upon us all.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I have not read from this classic series from the 70’s that pioneers what we now call Nordic Noir. I have been collecting them over the years for just the right mood to take the plunge with Stockholm police inspector Martin Beck. A crazy impulse led me to check out the library audiobook version of this last one of the series of ten. I didn’t suffer from getting a mature version of Beck, who has a largely administrative post with the homicide branch. The crime he faces here is a potential one. He I have not read from this classic series from the 70’s that pioneers what we now call Nordic Noir. I have been collecting them over the years for just the right mood to take the plunge with Stockholm police inspector Martin Beck. A crazy impulse led me to check out the library audiobook version of this last one of the series of ten. I didn’t suffer from getting a mature version of Beck, who has a largely administrative post with the homicide branch. The crime he faces here is a potential one. He is tasked with assuring that the treats of a terrorist attack surrounding a state visit from a powerful American senator do not come to pass. He has to work around a lot of political drones and ambitious idiots in the various sectors of the police and state security forces. But he plays the personalities and marshals the talents of competent old friends with the mastery of a symphony conductor with aplomb. The high-stakes gambles he is forced to employ makes for huge stresses, but he rises to the occasion. He is not a true noir hero with a lot of baggage in personal demons and jaded outlook. He retains a more playful mind and warm heart and uses his cynicism about the crass motives of most humans as a source of insight. His adversaries include a meticulous Danish mastermind and two Japanese technocrats known for blowing up their targets around the world with clever placement of their munitions (e.g. on a gas line under the streets). Before the advent of cell phone snooping and vast computer databases, counterterrorism efforts are severely handicapped. This was fun and thrilling. I can now be comfortable going back to the beginning of the series to see how Beck develops in his personality and talents. It is sad that this series came to an abrupt end with the death of Sjöwall's writing partner Per Wahlöö in 1975. For an articulate and engaging introduction to the series and overview of their impact see Harry Roolart's review of the first, Roseanna.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Toby

    I really needed to finally finish this series. The intended sense of despair and despondency of society going straight to hell that slowly grows from Roseanna through ten books in ten years until this point where people have finally decided to make a stand against the leaders who have brought this upon us was starting to make me feel like not bothering. As Sjowall was dying of cancer during the writing of this entry the plot takes an even more melancholy tone, the idealism of the political protes I really needed to finally finish this series. The intended sense of despair and despondency of society going straight to hell that slowly grows from Roseanna through ten books in ten years until this point where people have finally decided to make a stand against the leaders who have brought this upon us was starting to make me feel like not bothering. As Sjowall was dying of cancer during the writing of this entry the plot takes an even more melancholy tone, the idealism of the political protesters that regularly appear as background characters in this series becomes almost as much misguided aggression as that of the constantly condemned police force. Here are some writers wondering whether all of their protests were worth it, at the same time when their protagonists - Beck et al - are wondering whether their personal sacrifices in becoming policemen were worth it. Beck has been tasked with protecting an American senator visiting Sweden after a terrorist threat is raised. It's smartly done on both sides of the law, the writing provides great tension and intrigue as well as the copious amounts of societal criticism that occasionally comes across as a grouchy old sod writing to their local newspaper. At this stage it's very much like spending time with old colleagues that you've grown to respect and care for, comfortable and relaxed. The painstaking procedural style action of the first few books has given way to a more conventional thriller plot except in true Beck style things deliberately end with a whimper and not a bang. It's been a highly enjoyable ride but somehow I expected more. I recently compared the series of books to the TV show The Wire, each book focussing on a different aspect of society to paint a grand picture of what's wrong, and I thought that show ended a little disappointingly too now I think about it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    The Terrorists is the tenth and final book in Sjöwall and Wahlöö's series featuring Martin Beck. In this installment, an unpopular American senator has planned a visit to Sweden, and Beck is chosen as head of the security team for the duration. The biggest worry is terrorist activity, and as Gunvald Larsson finds out while observing in a Latin American country, the terrorists do not play nice. While Beck is busy with trying to keep the would-be assassins from killing the Senator, he is also inve The Terrorists is the tenth and final book in Sjöwall and Wahlöö's series featuring Martin Beck. In this installment, an unpopular American senator has planned a visit to Sweden, and Beck is chosen as head of the security team for the duration. The biggest worry is terrorist activity, and as Gunvald Larsson finds out while observing in a Latin American country, the terrorists do not play nice. While Beck is busy with trying to keep the would-be assassins from killing the Senator, he is also investigating a case dealing with pornography, drugs, and murder. Although the main focus of this novels is the measures put into place to prevent the death of the senator from a group who kill, get out and go on to their next job, the authors also reveal that there are other forms of terrorism that exist beyond the political -- and that they exist in every society. Excellent book, especially the scene when Larsson is in Latin America, but consistently good throughout. My only problem was this nit-picky thing: in the Vintage/Black Lizard edition of Cop Killer, Martin Beck's friend and fellow detective inspector had the last name of "Allwright," where in The Terrorists, his name was changed to "Content." I know exactly what happened and that each translator does things differently to try to fully convey the nuances of a language, but at the same time, it should be more consistent in a series of editions. I spent a few minutes puzzled, but it dawned on me that the name change was in the translation. Now that this series is over and my Vintage/Black Lizard Crime editions are all neatly shelved together, it's sort of a bittersweet kind of moment. I'm rather sad that I've finished all of the books, but the getting there was great. These authors have put together an outstanding set of novels that no readers of crime fiction should miss, even if you do not agree with the authors' political statements. The series was launched when Wahlöö sold only a minimal amount of copies of a book of his own political philosophy, and the two authors came to the realization that although no one was paying to read what Wahloo wrote, they would pay to read crime fiction. Thus began the Martin Beck series, collectively known as "The Story of a Crime." Actually, they managed to get their various points across quite effectively, and there are some truths to what they say. On the other hand, as Dennis Lehane points out in the introduction to this particular edition, "One wonders how Sjöwall and Wahlöö managed to live there through the writing of the ten Martin Beck novels, so negative is their depiction of not just the failed welfare state but the physical landscape as well ...The courts don't work, the schools produce little but rot, and the ruling class skims the cream off the top and turns its back as the poor fight over the coffee grounds." They've also commented on the state of the police force since it was nationalized, the treatment of the elderly, and a host of other issues that they felt arose as a result of what they saw as the failure of the Swedish welfare state to take care of its people, setting aside the interests of regular citizens for the interests of those most actively involved in capitalism. But politics aside, Sjöwall and Wahlöö gave us Martin Beck, the detective who started out on a patrol beat and became good at his job on the way up, and all of his co-workers, friends and associates whose lives we've followed throughout all of the books. And there are many humorous moments throughout the series as well -- the Keystone cop-like antics of some of the patrolmen, the inept Stig Malm, Beck's boss whose job includes a great deal of toadying to his superiors, and there are many standing examples of Sjöwall and Perlöö's wry humor that run throughout all of the novels. But the best part of these books lie in the authors' ability to create believable plots, to come up with ever-developing characters who often become frustrated to the point where they want to chuck it all but inevitably show up the next day for work (if they go home to sleep at all), and then they throw all of that in with their political opinions, and still manage to create a crime fiction series that stays on task, never getting excessive. The bottom line is that Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö began these books as their personal mission, but the series stayed consistently excellent, and it has entertained and will continue to satisfy millions of crime fiction enthusiasts around the world.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    A crack terrorist unit is hell bent on murder and mayhem in Stockholm. Between them and death and destruction lies Martin Beck and his colleagues. Can team Beck beat the baddies? In a parallel story, a homeless teenage girl is trying to get to the US to reunite with the father of her baby. Society is arraigned against her. Capitalism does not look kindly on the innocent, the uneducated or the unskilled. A fast paced thriller, crisp and compelling. Written in the 70s but very accessible. A bit earn A crack terrorist unit is hell bent on murder and mayhem in Stockholm. Between them and death and destruction lies Martin Beck and his colleagues. Can team Beck beat the baddies? In a parallel story, a homeless teenage girl is trying to get to the US to reunite with the father of her baby. Society is arraigned against her. Capitalism does not look kindly on the innocent, the uneducated or the unskilled. A fast paced thriller, crisp and compelling. Written in the 70s but very accessible. A bit earnest and right on, but this grins through in just a few places. My only regret is that this is the last of the series. Well worth a read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dave Riley

    Superb and a fitting ending the the Wahloo/Sjowall series of Martin Beck novels. Published after Wahloo's death from cancer in 1975 -- this novel is sharper than the earlier ones in its critique of Swedish society. It also templates the 1986 assassination of the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme. That may be ironic -- but then that future conjuncture fostered Mankell's Wallander into existence. Swedish crime fiction rocks! Of all the crime fiction I've read these ten by Wahloo/Sjowall are the the Superb and a fitting ending the the Wahloo/Sjowall series of Martin Beck novels. Published after Wahloo's death from cancer in 1975 -- this novel is sharper than the earlier ones in its critique of Swedish society. It also templates the 1986 assassination of the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme. That may be ironic -- but then that future conjuncture fostered Mankell's Wallander into existence. Swedish crime fiction rocks! Of all the crime fiction I've read these ten by Wahloo/Sjowall are the the closest to perfectly composed and pitched.Gems every one of them.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Skip

    Set in 1975, the primary plot follows the assassinations of high-profile political leaders around the world by an impenetrable organization of highly trained killers. Martin Beck reluctantly accepts the job of managing an inter-agency group to protect a visiting U.S. warmonging senator. There are two other plots, all of which are well orchestrated: a wealthy pornographer has been murdered in his mistresses' apartment and a young homeless, somewhat addled waif of a girl has been charged with bank Set in 1975, the primary plot follows the assassinations of high-profile political leaders around the world by an impenetrable organization of highly trained killers. Martin Beck reluctantly accepts the job of managing an inter-agency group to protect a visiting U.S. warmonging senator. There are two other plots, all of which are well orchestrated: a wealthy pornographer has been murdered in his mistresses' apartment and a young homeless, somewhat addled waif of a girl has been charged with bank robbery, trying to protect her young baby. All three plots involve the irony of protecting the undeserving against monsters equally horrible, and continue the authors' sociological portrayal of Sweden in this era. Good policework by Beck and his team, especially in trapping the assassination squad, is the hallmark of this finale to a 10-book series. Don't skip the introduction by Dennis Lehane.

  11. 4 out of 5

    M.J. Johnson

    This is the final story in the Martin Beck series and it doesn't disappoint. I'm not an habitual reader of police procedurals, and discovered these stories completely by chance. The series remains good from first to last and doesn't run out of any of its energy. Its interesting cast of disparate characters avoids cliche and develops in a satisfying way, with each book providing a highly enjoyable reading experience. Naturally, I liked some of the stories more than others, but all ten are consist This is the final story in the Martin Beck series and it doesn't disappoint. I'm not an habitual reader of police procedurals, and discovered these stories completely by chance. The series remains good from first to last and doesn't run out of any of its energy. Its interesting cast of disparate characters avoids cliche and develops in a satisfying way, with each book providing a highly enjoyable reading experience. Naturally, I liked some of the stories more than others, but all ten are consistently good. The whole series gets a resounding five stars from this very satisfied reader. Excellent. Will read again and probably quite soon!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    *3.5 stars. "He was delighted with the pattern on the underpants, yellow moose against a blue background, and he owned five more pairs" (10). "... and a none too squeamish cat could have made a good meal from the food stains on his waist coat" (21). "'Rebecka is as innocent as the carrots in the ground.' "Everyone appeared to ponder this novel image" (21). "The Commissioner, who for some reason that long pauses increased his authority…" (87). "He was good at meetings. They were part of life itself. W *3.5 stars. "He was delighted with the pattern on the underpants, yellow moose against a blue background, and he owned five more pairs" (10). "... and a none too squeamish cat could have made a good meal from the food stains on his waist coat" (21). "'Rebecka is as innocent as the carrots in the ground.' "Everyone appeared to ponder this novel image" (21). "The Commissioner, who for some reason that long pauses increased his authority…" (87). "He was good at meetings. They were part of life itself. Without them, nothing would ever get done. Society would quite simply collapse"(88). **Ughh. Sounds like several of my bosses' mindsets. *Of an ugly wreath: "At a distance, the whole arrangement looked like a gigantic life preserver painted by a mentally disturbed seamen" (202). "Since Martin Beck and his generation have been children, Christmas has changed from a fine traditional family festival into something that might be called economic cheapjackery or commercial insanity" (269). *Based on the preponderance of "on the other hand" appearances in the last few books of the series, I counted this time. 12. I wish I would have counted those found in the previous book as I believe at least several more sets of hands made their presence known.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bev

    The Terrorists (1975) by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö is the last book to feature Martin Beck who has been promoted to Chief of the National Murder Squad--much to his chagrin since the new post will entail a great deal of desk work and far less time in the field. But he gets at least one more chance for action when he (and his usual team) are detailed to provide protection for an unpopular American Senator in Sweden on a state visit. Terrorists plant a bomb along the route the Senator will be taki The Terrorists (1975) by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö is the last book to feature Martin Beck who has been promoted to Chief of the National Murder Squad--much to his chagrin since the new post will entail a great deal of desk work and far less time in the field. But he gets at least one more chance for action when he (and his usual team) are detailed to provide protection for an unpopular American Senator in Sweden on a state visit. Terrorists plant a bomb along the route the Senator will be taking (bet you didn't see that coming, given the title of the book!), but fortunately the timing is off and Beck & company are able to avoid any casualities. With time in between for side-stories involving a woman accused of a bank robbery she wasn't trying to commit and the murder of a pornographic film producer, Beck, Ronn, and Larsson manage to quickly trace two of the terrorists. But split-second timing will be needed for them to take the last two alive without having an entire apartment building blown up--with them in it. The strength of this final entry is in the characters and the way Sjöwall and Wahlöö portray their interactions and relationships to one another. Beck has had to resign himself to the fact that Kollberg, his friend and, in many ways, right-hand man through much of the series, has resigned from the force. He finally admits that he has grown to like working with Larsson. It was interesting to watch Beck learn to rely more heavily on other members of his team--recognizing the strengths that each has. Less appealing to me was the terrorism theme. As Sjöwall and Wahlöö were wont to do, they use the theme to highlight societal ills and governmental flaws but I found the plot very slow-going and heavy-handed this time around. This book more than any of the others was a slog for me and I was sorry to have the series end on a disappointing (to me) note. Others have found this to be a very strong finale...so your mileage may vary. ★★ and a very weak 1/2. First posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting. Thanks.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ben Thurley

    A fitting end to the excellent Martin Beck series, The Terrorists perfectly blends human-scale story-telling, suspense and action, and social commentary. Gunvald Larsson, for whom readers now have a measure of respect and sympathy, takes centre stage as he travels overseas to learn about security measures to help Sweden prepare for a state visit by a controversial US Senator. The outcome of the trip is both grisly and grimly comic and introduces us to the terrorist group ULAG who will become the A fitting end to the excellent Martin Beck series, The Terrorists perfectly blends human-scale story-telling, suspense and action, and social commentary. Gunvald Larsson, for whom readers now have a measure of respect and sympathy, takes centre stage as he travels overseas to learn about security measures to help Sweden prepare for a state visit by a controversial US Senator. The outcome of the trip is both grisly and grimly comic and introduces us to the terrorist group ULAG who will become the novel's main threat. Other threads, too, are woven. The personal becomes the political when a naive single mother is charged with robbing a bank and is defended by the comically shambolic and humane Theobald Braxén. And a director of pornographic movies is murdered in Malmo. The action and drama is superbly stoked, and the authors' anti-capitalist sentiments are as explicitly on display as at any other time, but this never overwhelms the narrative and I am a little in awe at how deftly we are drawn to the human emotions and consequences at the heart of these stories: the father who loses a daughter to exploitation and abuse; the mother who has no assurance of a future for her and her daughter. I particularly liked the way that characters who have been, at best, distrustful of one another in the past – particularly Beck, the plodding Einar Rönn, and Gunvald Larsson – have come to a measure of appreciation and understanding of one another over the long haul of police-work together. There's a warm melancholy in the novel's final companionable meal between old friends as Lennart Kollberg reflects that Martin Beck has "the wrong job. At the wrong time. In the wrong part of the world. In the wrong system." Followed by a playful authorial touch as Kollberg picks a final word to illustrate his choice of the letter "X" in the word game he and his wife Gun, Beck and Rhea Neilsen, are playing. The word is, of course, "Marx".

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    The last one... Sat Drama This could be the best of them all, and sadly, the end. Just goes to prove that a series needn't deteriorate into dross. *looks pointedly at Cornwell's Scarpetta* 3* Roseanna (Martin Beck #1) 3* The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (Martin Beck #2) 3* The Man on the Balcony (Martin Beck, #3) 3* The Laughing Policeman (Martin Beck #4) 3* The Fire Engine That Disappeared (Martin Beck #5) #6 MISSING! Oh Noes!! 3* The Abominable Man (Martin Beck #7) 3* The Locked Room (Martin Beck #8) 2* Cop The last one... Sat Drama This could be the best of them all, and sadly, the end. Just goes to prove that a series needn't deteriorate into dross. *looks pointedly at Cornwell's Scarpetta* 3* Roseanna (Martin Beck #1) 3* The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (Martin Beck #2) 3* The Man on the Balcony (Martin Beck, #3) 3* The Laughing Policeman (Martin Beck #4) 3* The Fire Engine That Disappeared (Martin Beck #5) #6 MISSING! Oh Noes!! 3* The Abominable Man (Martin Beck #7) 3* The Locked Room (Martin Beck #8) 2* Cop Killer (Martin Beck #9) 4* The Terrorists

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    Thoroughly enjoyable, satisfying. I’m sorry it’s the last one.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Baba

    Tenth and last book in the late 1960s, early 1970s best selling Swedish detective series with Beck and co. taking on an unassuming alleged bank robber… and terrorists! 5 out of 12.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carol Jean

    The last in the series, alas. They got stranger and funnier as they went along -- clearly Ms. Sjowall is not a fan of bureaucracy especially in law enforcement!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. "The Terrorists" is the final book in Sjowall and Wahloo's Martin Beck series. It is a valedictory and a summing up, as well as being one of the two best procedurals in the series (the other is "The Laughing Policeman", book 4). The story takes place firmly in the mid-1970s- gone is any vestige of the idealism of the 1960s. Not that much of that 60s spirit reached Martin Beck, who was generally apolitical in his earlier career, and too depressed by his failing marriage to take much part in the f "The Terrorists" is the final book in Sjowall and Wahloo's Martin Beck series. It is a valedictory and a summing up, as well as being one of the two best procedurals in the series (the other is "The Laughing Policeman", book 4). The story takes place firmly in the mid-1970s- gone is any vestige of the idealism of the 1960s. Not that much of that 60s spirit reached Martin Beck, who was generally apolitical in his earlier career, and too depressed by his failing marriage to take much part in the free love. Happily, while 1970s Sweden seems to be collapsing in a series of catastrophes around him, Martin experiences a late-in-life awakening, finding both love and some satisfaction in his work. That leaves the reader with a surprisingly feeling of optimism, despite the events of the book. Those events are uniformly bloody and sad. Two cases intertwine: in the first, a young, naive girl accidentally robs a bank (she had thought "The People's Bank" actually gave loans to the people, and when she went in to ask for some cash, they thought she was robbing the place and had her arrested.) She is freed, but left on her own, with no money and a young child to take care of. Meanwhile, a pornographer who had tried to exploit her is murdered. Martin Beck is assigned the case, while at the same time trying to protect a conservative American Senator from being assassinated during his visit to Sweden. The book begins with Det. Larsson in South America, observing preparations for a similar state visit- it goes horribly awry and the head of visiting Prime Minister ends up in his lap, separated from its body by a large explosion. Events move very quickly: Beck solves the murder of the pornographer- it turns out he had seduced his gardener's daughter into a life of drugs and dissolution, and in revenge, the gardener had murdered him. Beck's team fails to catch the terrorists as they enter the country, but he is able to stop their assassination by having the State Television stations display the motorcade on a 15 minute tape delay, which causes their explosion to miss. This, however, does not stop Rebecca Lind, the young naif from the bank robbery, from shooting the Swedish prime minister in the head, in revenge for her ill-treatment by the state. She is arrested, tried, and convicted, but not before giving a short speech that fully encapsulates the authors views on modern society: It's terrible to live in a world where people just tell lies to each other. How can someone who's a scoundrel and traitor be allowed to make decisions for a whole country? Because that's what he was. A rotten traitor. Not that I think that whoever takes his place will be any better- I'm not that stupid. But I'd like to show them, all of them who sit there governing and deciding, that they can't go on cheating people forever.A few months after she is jailed, she commits suicide. The remaining terrorists are captured (one is killed). The book ends with a famous scene. Martin Beck, with his beloved new girlfriend, are over at his friend Kollberg's place. Kollberg has resigned from the force in the previous book in disgust at the way the police are forced to protect the owners of property at the expense of the people. They are playing a boardgame- perhaps Scrabble, and the book ends with Kollberg's first move: ""Then I say 'X'- 'X' as in Marx." This is taken by many as the closest the authors come to making an actual policy recommendation, but to a longtime reader of the series, it seems like a red-herring. Sjowall and Wahloo are fundamentally humanists, not Communists- they distrust all large institutions, including big businesses and state controlled police forces. Their main character, Martin Beck, has never shown any interest in politics, but throughout the series he has shown the deepest sense of compassion for the victims of the crimes he solves, and a deep sense of camaraderie with his fellow officers. He is stolidly middle class in his aspirations and morality, and one gets the sense that the authors believe that if everyone would just act more like him, the world would be a much less horrible place.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sun

    It's quite sad to read the last of the Martin Beck series and to farewell the weary policeman and his idiosyncratic crew. Did Sjowall and Wahloo foresee the role terrorism would play in today's world? Or did they just recognise that terrorism would overshadow other crimes and would become increasingly important as a threat to modern society? The novel begins as Martin Beck is called as a witness for the legal defence of Rebecka Lund, an 18 year old single mother charged with robbing a bank. The p It's quite sad to read the last of the Martin Beck series and to farewell the weary policeman and his idiosyncratic crew. Did Sjowall and Wahloo foresee the role terrorism would play in today's world? Or did they just recognise that terrorism would overshadow other crimes and would become increasingly important as a threat to modern society? The novel begins as Martin Beck is called as a witness for the legal defence of Rebecka Lund, an 18 year old single mother charged with robbing a bank. The prosecutor is the gung-ho Bulldozer Olsson (featured first in The Locked Room, but even he takes a backseat to the comical defense attorney Theobald Braxen. Meanwhile, Gunvald Larsson is sent overseas to learn about security measures for state visits. That all goes horribly wrong, of course, ruining his new, tailor-made suit in the process. Back in Sweden, a director of pornographic movies is killed in Malmo and Per Mansson investigates. All of these are somehow tied to the preparations for a state visit by an unpopular US senator to Stockholm. Martin Beck is put in charge and must prevent harm to the senator from the unseen terrorists of Heydt and Kaitan and Kamakazi. The anti-capitalist sentiment is not subtle but makes sense given Sjowall and Wahloo's surreal plot and extreme twists. A very enjoyable tale with unforgettable characters and a clever stroke of heightened suspense near the end.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

    I read all 10 books in this wonderful series, one after the other. What a joy to read. A police procedural set in 1960's Sweden, this has become the basis of modern police fiction. Martin Beck is not your typical 'cop'. He's miserable, has an ulcer, is unhappily married, with kids who don't understand him. The detective mysteries he's engaged in are varied and interesting - and (gasp) are not always solved with Beck in the lead -a real tribute to teamwork and the well-defined characters who are I read all 10 books in this wonderful series, one after the other. What a joy to read. A police procedural set in 1960's Sweden, this has become the basis of modern police fiction. Martin Beck is not your typical 'cop'. He's miserable, has an ulcer, is unhappily married, with kids who don't understand him. The detective mysteries he's engaged in are varied and interesting - and (gasp) are not always solved with Beck in the lead -a real tribute to teamwork and the well-defined characters who are his colleagues. The authors also provide some incisive social commentary into Swedish society. Only 10 books in the series, and by the time its all read, one wishes there could have been many more.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Strömquist

    I know that many hold the final book of the Sjöwall/Wahlöö 'Beck'-series in the highest regard, but for me, the book was (in light of the preceding 9(!)) a bit of an anti-climax. No, I don't think that Maj Sjöwall writing a much larger part of this due to the illness and subsequent demise of her life- and author-partner Per was the reason for the book dropping a notch. I do think that Per's illness did. Please note that nothing about the final offering does not shame the series at all, but, alas I know that many hold the final book of the Sjöwall/Wahlöö 'Beck'-series in the highest regard, but for me, the book was (in light of the preceding 9(!)) a bit of an anti-climax. No, I don't think that Maj Sjöwall writing a much larger part of this due to the illness and subsequent demise of her life- and author-partner Per was the reason for the book dropping a notch. I do think that Per's illness did. Please note that nothing about the final offering does not shame the series at all, but, alas, it does not crown the achievement either. Any reader of the others will surely, however, want to read this last part.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    Very good final entry in the Martin Beck series. I wish there were a few more of these to read!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mobyskine

    My last of Martin Beck, for now (I haven't read the number 2 from the series yet cause I don't have that book). The anticipation and curiosity of Beck continues here, but honestly I miss Kollberg a lot. Luckily he was here sometimes so yeah! The plot was okay. I was wondering why they had this Rebecka and Petrus cases firstly but then it all makes sense throughout the middle, the connection and the heart-rending truth. I actually like Miss Rebecka so much-- to me she was so pure and sincere, too My last of Martin Beck, for now (I haven't read the number 2 from the series yet cause I don't have that book). The anticipation and curiosity of Beck continues here, but honestly I miss Kollberg a lot. Luckily he was here sometimes so yeah! The plot was okay. I was wondering why they had this Rebecka and Petrus cases firstly but then it all makes sense throughout the middle, the connection and the heart-rending truth. I actually like Miss Rebecka so much-- to me she was so pure and sincere, too naive and such a real good girl and I was too shocked with the head banging stuff at the prison moment. Even with Hellström too, me having a soft spot for him and to know the reason he was doing the murdering stuff was so heartbreaking. I think this book focusing much on Beck and Rhea and their stories sometimes sort of 'shadowing' my reading momentum about the cases and the crime problem. Not that I dislike Rhea-- she was such a great companion to Beck and she helped a lot too. Reading about Reinhard Heydt was also fascinating. I have no idea why I love reading his point of view though-- but it feels different. To see both perspectives from police to the villain was quite entertaining and adventurous. I love how they handled both Rebecka and Petrus cases. The terrorist part was a bit draggy to me but still, the writing was enjoyable and interesting. It didn't disappoint me at all, but this will not be in my favorite list of Beck. Sorry.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Liz Mc2

    I gave up on my library getting the audiobook of this last in the Martin Beck series (they have all the rest, which I listened to this winter and spring) and bought it myself. It's the most political of the series, and interesting to read now when North Americans tend to view Sweden as an egalitarian socialist paradise (or I guess a socialist hellscape, depending on your politics). The Terrorists of the title could be the international organization carrying out political assassinations, or perha I gave up on my library getting the audiobook of this last in the Martin Beck series (they have all the rest, which I listened to this winter and spring) and bought it myself. It's the most political of the series, and interesting to read now when North Americans tend to view Sweden as an egalitarian socialist paradise (or I guess a socialist hellscape, depending on your politics). The Terrorists of the title could be the international organization carrying out political assassinations, or perhaps it's the newly-nationalized Swedish police, who according to one character are terrorizing socialists and people who can't make it in Sweden's class society. It's a reminder of what a violent time the 70s were. Politics are not really the worst and most violent they've ever been today. There are three semi-interlocking plots here: a young single mother robs a bank (or does she?), a producer of porn films is murdered, and Beck and co. try to thwart the assassination of right-wing American senator on his visit to Sweden. This is mostly slow and meandering rather than a thriller, which was fine with me, and all of these plots reflect on power dynamics in interesting ways. A strong end to an increasingly complex and interesting series. This was my second time through (I went all out of order this time, as library audiobooks became available) and probably won't be my last. I find Tom Weiner's deadpan narration oddly soothing, though the books are pretty dark.

  26. 4 out of 5

    cloudyskye

    My favourite of the series, full of action, tragedy, gloom, and also friendship, tenacity, and victory. I understand Per Wahlöö died shortly after finishing this book which may explain the preachy intensity where (his own) political opinions are concerned. According to which Sweden, state and society, should have reached rock bottom ages ago. The terrorists, here to kill a really reactionary American senator (ring any bells?) for rather obscure reasons, are some ice-cold types, perfectly trained, My favourite of the series, full of action, tragedy, gloom, and also friendship, tenacity, and victory. I understand Per Wahlöö died shortly after finishing this book which may explain the preachy intensity where (his own) political opinions are concerned. According to which Sweden, state and society, should have reached rock bottom ages ago. The terrorists, here to kill a really reactionary American senator (ring any bells?) for rather obscure reasons, are some ice-cold types, perfectly trained, but without any political background. They just do it "for the money", it seems, which (conveniently) puts them in the "capitalist" camp. I was a child in those days, early to mid-seventies, but I don't think that's quite what terrorists stood for. So what do I like about this? The characters are so well drawn, the story is well told. I have a suspicion that all the good women in it (Gun Kollberg, Åsa Torell and Rhea Nielsen) are a bit like Maj Sjöwall as seen by Per Wahlöö, and he himself might be a mix of Martin Beck and Lennart Kollberg with a little Gunvald Larsson. A great read altogether, all 10 volumes. I must have read them 4 times now, and I can imagine rereading them again in some years' time.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Judith Johnson

    Wow. A wonderful book, the last of ten books by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. My list of things to do today has lain untouched on the kitchen table, as has the washing-up from breakfast AND lunch - I just had to know how the plot unfolded. I found I deeply cared about these Swedish policeman and assorted other characters, and also that I was very affected by the authors' anger about society and capitalism. I know this is often said, but if you haven't read any of the Martin Beck novels, you are in Wow. A wonderful book, the last of ten books by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. My list of things to do today has lain untouched on the kitchen table, as has the washing-up from breakfast AND lunch - I just had to know how the plot unfolded. I found I deeply cared about these Swedish policeman and assorted other characters, and also that I was very affected by the authors' anger about society and capitalism. I know this is often said, but if you haven't read any of the Martin Beck novels, you are in for a treat. I envy you! Though I will be re-reading all of them. I have taken these books to my heart.

  28. 5 out of 5

    David

    Quite a fitting close to a simply wonderful series. Witty and dark as ever, and with the critique of failing society even more sharp than before. There were two different passages where I’d have stood up and cheered if not for fear of waking someone nearby. Beck is a literary creation of great worth.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Becky Loader

    Oh, my. What an excellent ending to a really terrific series! I am so glad that the authors didn't feel it was necessary to kill off all the characters just because the series was ending. I especially liked how the characters all were consistent right up through the last complication. First rate. Oh, my. What an excellent ending to a really terrific series! I am so glad that the authors didn't feel it was necessary to kill off all the characters just because the series was ending. I especially liked how the characters all were consistent right up through the last complication. First rate.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    I laughed out loud several times during this, the last of Martin Beck novels. Perhaps it is because I have come to know the personalities and quirks of the men who make up the homicide division, including their pompous managers and higher-ups. One refreshing element in these novels is the depiction of tense confrontational scenes filled with bravery, luck, error and confusion. Often, even talented detectives miss clues and in turn are maddened by bumbling cops who simply aren't up to the task. I laughed out loud several times during this, the last of Martin Beck novels. Perhaps it is because I have come to know the personalities and quirks of the men who make up the homicide division, including their pompous managers and higher-ups. One refreshing element in these novels is the depiction of tense confrontational scenes filled with bravery, luck, error and confusion. Often, even talented detectives miss clues and in turn are maddened by bumbling cops who simply aren't up to the task.

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