From Publishers Weekly
This sixth installment in Nesbø's popular series finds Harry Hole, Oslo's most successful and least collaborative police investigator, spending the Christmas season trying to unravel a knotty murder case while bemoaning the loss of a friendly superior and working around the demands of the strong-willed new boss. The novel alternates between Harry's sleuthing and a Croatian assassin's attempt to evade him long enough to escape the city. John Lee selects a properly surly and world-weary voice for Harry, and an accented, desperate one for the killer known as the little redeemer. Since the book travels through various strata of Oslo society and even includes a side trip to the former Yugoslavia, Lee is given ample opportunity to display a panoply of Norwegian and Croatian accents. He uses his own rich British accent to guide us smoothly through the novel's descriptive passages. Since the author packs his fast-paced scenes with crucial details easily missed, Lee's clear, crisp rendition is a blessing. However, several shifts between Harry's sections and those of the little redeemer are so abrupt—narrated by that same well-modulated voice—it may take listeners a moment to realize whose story is being told. A Knopf hardcover. (May)
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Nesbø’s Harry Hole novels have not appeared in the U.S. in the order in which they were written, and given the stunning events detailed in Phantom (2012), that disjointed chronology may prove disconcerting for readers of The Redeemer. Still, it is a fine crime novel. Redemption of one kind or another has always been on Harry’s mind (his preferred method for finding it is usually in a whiskey bottle), but here the theme encompasses nearly every character in the book, from various Salvation Army “soldiers” with multiple secrets in their closets, through an assassin hired to kill one of those soldiers, and on to Harry’s former boss, Möller. The freezing Oslo winter nicely parallels the icy righteousness (“the virtue of the lazy and the visionless”) that drives most of these would-be redeemers. The thin line separating crooks and cops in all of the intensely character-focused Hole novels has never been thinner or more treacherous than it is here. As Möller puts it, “It’s chance and nuance that separate the hero from the villain.” HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Nesbø’s books have sold 15 million copies in 47 languages. A 150,000 first printing will get his latest U.S. release off and running. --Bill Ott
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