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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 43.
- Review Date: 2007-09-24
- Reviewer: Staff
Shifting effortlessly between the last days of WWII on the Eastern front and modern day Oslo, Norwegian Nesbø (The Devil's Star) spins a complex tale of murder, revenge and betrayal. A recovering alcoholic recently reassigned to the Norwegian Security Service, Insp. Harry Hole begins tracking Sverre Olsen, a vicious neo-Nazi who escaped prosecution on a technicality. But what starts as a quest to put Olsen behind bars soon explodes into a race to prevent an assassination. As Hole struggles to stay one step ahead of Olsen and his gang of skinheads, Nesbø takes the reader back to WWII, as Norwegians fighting for Hitler wage a losing battle on the Eastern front. When the two story lines finally collide, it's up to Hole to stop a man hell-bent on carrying out the deadly plan he hatched half a century ago in the trenches. Perfectly paced and painfully suspenseful, this crime novel illuminates not only Norway's alleged Nazi ties but also its present skinhead subculture. Readers will delight in Hole, a laconic hero as doggedly stubborn as Connelly's Harry Bosch, and yet with a prickly appeal all his own. (Dec.)
Suspense with a dash of the exotic
Whodunit is a globetrotter's delight this month: for starters, I am writing from Saitama, Japan, in the shadow of Mt. Fuji. OK, that's a bit of poetic license; we are smack in the middle of a taifun whose clouds have blocked the view of Fuji-san for days now. Given the weather, I have plopped down on my new strawberry-milkshake pink sofa (don't ask) to read December's mysteries. The books' varied locales add a dash of the exotic to the monthly dose of suspense.
European readers have been keyed in to Norwegian author Jo Nesbo for quite some time now; indeed, The Redbreast, which makes its debut in English this month, has been on sale overseas long enough to garner several awards. The star of the piece is police detective Harry Hole, a borderline alcoholic who lands the assignment of assisting the U.S. Secret Service during a presidential visit to Oslo. It all goes hopelessly wrong, and Hole winds up shooting a secret service agent. Normally, that would spell the end of a career, but with true Murphy's Law precision, Hole gets a promotion. It will catapult him into the strangest case of his career, a modern-day murder mystery with tendrils reaching back to World War II, when Norway forged an uneasy alliance with the Axis powers. Fans of Henning Mankell and Karin Fossum will have a seriously difficult time putting The Redbreast down.