I picked as my first book of the new year, a writer who has been reliable to me since I started reading him in 2009. Jo Nesbø’s The Redbreast was published in 2006 in the U.S. and translated by the talented Don Bartlett. The series stars Inspector Harry Hole, this is his third appearance in the series since The Bat (UK). Having read all of his recent books, I saved this one for last.
The Redbreast is part historical fiction and part mystery where about half of the story takes place during WWII. The story touches on the troubled past of Norway, the lives of the soldiers and the consequences of their choices made during the war. Some were labeled as traitors and accused of treason and sent to prison. Harry finds himself chasing down wartime ghosts. He finds himself investigating an assassin on some “crusade of vengeance against society.” Continue reading
Do you ever wonder what your favorite characters actually look like? There’s a tweet today by Mulholland Books that asked if readers ever wondered what Michael Connelly thinks Harry Bosch should look like. Here is the interview the author did with Mark Billingham (it’s a two part series):
MB: Have you always had a strong visual sense of Bosch?
MC: Yeah, I have, but I don’t put it in the books. I don’t have a lot of descriptions of him. I like it when the reader can build their own character or attach it to someone they know, or a movie star or TV star or something like that.
That’s the way I prefer it to be and he stopped short of actually naming anybody. I’m one of those readers who have a very firm picture in her head about how Harry Bosh looks or even Harry Hole (Jo Nesbø) for that matter. One of the things I don’t like is when a writer says their protagonist looks like the hottest actor/actress on TV or film. Descriptions like that can ruin the book for me. Okay that’s a bit exaggerated. It can be somewhat annoying how about that? What is the point of reading than to use one’s own imagination?
“Good bank robbers are neither famous or quotable. You’ve never heard of them because they’ve never been caught. Because they are not direct or simple. The one you’re looking for is one of them.”
Nemesis is the book that got me started on Jo Nesbø two years ago. The series is set in Oslo and follows Inspector Harry Hole. I remember when I read this book I thought the writing was brilliant. I’d read nothing like it at the time (still true today). The protagonist might be cliche-ridden but the writing is awesome (!) The reason for my short excerpt above is that the story opens with a bank robbery. Cloaked in a balaclava, the armed suspect grabs the teller and demands the bank manager open the safe within 25 seconds or else. All hell breaks loose and under the nose of the police the suspect gets away.
An investigative team is quickly assembled in a conference room nicknamed The House of Pain. The team consists of several police officers but I’ll introduce the main ones in the story. First is Beate Lønn. She’s a cop whose expertise involves viewing endless hours of videotape and recognizing faces. She’s able to remember every face she’s ever seen in her life. She has this skill because of the abnormality in the part of the brain that is responsible for face and body recognition: the fusiform gyrus. She’s partnered with Inspector Harry Hole, who’s recently rejoined Crime Squad. He was working on an unrelated case (see The Redbreast). Continue reading
Summer. A boy, Gusto, is lying on the floor of an Oslo apartment. He is bleeding and will soon die. He is trying to make sense of what has happened. In order to place his life and death in some kind of context he begins to tell his story. Outside, the church bells chime.
Autumn. Former Police Detective Harry Hole returns to Oslo after three years abroad. He seeks out his former boss at Police Headquarters to request permission to investigate a homicide. But the case is already closed: a young junkie, Gusto, was in all likelihood shot dead by a fellow addict in a squabble over drugs. Yet, Harry is granted permission to visit the boy’s alleged killer in jail. There, he meets himself and his own history. What follows is the solitary investigation of what appears to be the first impossible case in Harry Hole’s career. And while Harry is searching, Gusto continues his story.
A man walks the dark streets of nighttime Oslo. The streets are his and he has always been there. He is a phantom.
This is the ninth installment in the Harry Hole series. This title will be translated and released in the UK January 2012 (Facebook page). U.S. date undetermined. This book is getting rave reviews. For impatient fans like me, I always get his books from the U.K.
Source: Salomonsson Agency
Who is this that comes from Edom, coming from Bozrah, his garments stained crimson? Who is this, in his glorious apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? ‘It is I, who announce that right has won the day, it is I,’ says the Lord, ‘for I am mighty to save you.’- Isaiah 63:1
The powers that be at Random House (U.S.) decided to publish The Snowman (2011) over The Redeemer. American audiences were blown away and the book landed on the NYT bestseller list. The Snowman has a lot more action in it on a grand scale and it features a serial killer and we like serial killers over here or so I heard. Meanwhile, The Redeemer is coming out sometime next year I hear.
To me The Redeemer is the best of Jo Nesbø’s work. Why? I recall reading an interview where the author stated that creating the antagonist was one of the hardest parts of the writing process (among others) because this person has to come across as being credible for the reader. Well, he nailed that in this book. Continue reading