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Kennedy's Brain: A Thriller


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About the Author

Internationally bestselling novelist and playwright Henning Mankell has received the German Tolerance Prize and the U.K.'s Golden Dagger Award and has been nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize three times. His Kurt Wallander mysteries have been published in thirty-three countries and consistently top the bestseller lists in Europe. He divides his time between Sweden and Maputo, Mozambique, where he has worked as the director of Teatro Avenida since 1985.


In Mankell's engaging but overly polemical stand-alone crime novel, Louise Cantor, an archeologist working in Greece, returns home to Sweden to discover her grown son, Henrik, lying dead in his own bed. Cantor, who refuses to accept the police theory that Henrik killed himself, launches her own investigation. (The book's title refers to one of the mysteries surrounding the JFK assassination, which had become a bizarre metaphor for the secretive Henrik.) In her quest for answers, Cantor journeys to Australia in search of her estranged husband; to Barcelona, where Henrik had an apartment and a surprisingly large bank account; and to Maputo, Mozambique, where she learns of the devastation wrought by poverty, AIDS and greed. Mankell, author of the wonderful Kurt Wallender series (Faceless Killers, etc.), is a deft and imaginative plotter and an insightful observer of the human condition, but here his righteous anger over the AIDS crisis in Africa and the exploitative role of the pharmaceutical industry overshadows the mystery solving. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Departing from his acclaimed police procedurals featuring Inspector Kurt Wallender, Mankell fashions a grim thriller around the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Swedish archaeologist Louise Cantor, overwhelmed by grief at finding her adult son and only child Henrik dead when she returns from a dig in Greece, rejects the police finding of suicide and sets out to prove that he was murdered. What she finds, with help from her ex-husband, is a life that Henrik hid from her involving travel, unexplained wealth, and a fascination with JFK's brain, missing after his autopsy. But not until she reaches Mozambique, where horrific means don't begin to justify seemingly altruistic ends, does she uncover the full story. Mankell's anger about the epidemic in Africa fueled this novel, in which Kennedy's brain symbolizes something that must be kept secret, and the result is reminiscent of an oppressively bleak Robin Cook novel. Mankell's heartfelt concern about this crisis is clear, but some readers will long for him to return to the Wallender series. An optional purchase unless Mankell is in demand.-Michele Leber, Arlington, VA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Masterful.... A deeper sort of procedural, in effect a kind of manual in morality forensics."
--The Denver Post

"A top-notch thriller...has all Mankell's trademarks: fine characters, a complex plot, a moody, expressive style."
--The Globe & Mail "A cautionary tale, an exploration of family relationships, a provocative portrayal of grief and an indictment of worldwide ignorance." --Bookreporter

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