Customer Reviews: The Redeemer: A Harry Hole Thriller, Book 6
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on September 27, 2009
'The Redeemer is the fourth book in translation by Jo Nesbo and he captures our imagination with this book by bringing us readers into the storyline twelve years prior to the main plot. We start with the rape of a fourteen year old girl that takes place at a Salvation Army summer camp in Norway. Although we know there was a rape we are not given clues who committed this act or disclosure of the victim. In a second separate event we are also given the story of a young Croatian boy caught up in history of Croatia and it's political cruelties his known by others as the little redeemer.

Current Day: Oslo, shots ring out at a Christmas Concert, a volunteer dressed as a Salvation Army soldier is executed by a man in the crowd. Less than an hour later Inspector Harry Hole is at the crime scene and with hardly any leads to go on, he hunts for his faceless killer. Harry's luck is about to change, the current snow storm that has hit Oslo has grounded flights. Stranded, the Killer looks for a place to stay while trying to keep a low profile, but as the cold night draws on he also discovers he made a fatal mistake, his shot the wrong man! With his contract job still pending he makes the most of his time in Oslo and decides to finish his work. He takes refuge for a while with the Salvation Army trying to hide behind the seamy side where dope heads sell their clothes even if it could mean life or death in a freezing city. As twisted events unfold Harry suddenly finds himself looking for two types of psychopaths an assassin and a rapist; on the wintry streets of Oslo it suddenly becomes an increasing desperate situation for all.

Fantastic reading! all the ingredients of evil in one book, lies, deceit, revenge, biblical passages, manipulation, bribery, corruptions, violence and more twists and turns than a twisty-turny thing! I will never look at my vacuum cleaner in the same light again!

The Author Jo Nesbo does a wonderful job in this book with his incredible observation, not only of people with their thoughts and feelings making all characters seem so very real, but also about every day life and little things in general. Subjects such as politics, giving us the good/bad sides to his city, level of corruptions in Oslo and of course if you haven't been to Oslo, like me, he gives us those clear visuals, a sense of place for our minds to work towards. You can clearly tell when reading through his interviewed people thoroughly, tapping into different areas also adding parts of history to build the story. He remains very descriptive throughout his writing, which is something I love more than anything and it really adds and helps us readers use our imagination to lose ourselves in the whole dark twisted plot.

I actually refer to this book as Harry new start, his ex girlfriend is very much in the background and he also managed to get himself to AA meetings and stay soberish for this book. But his still having that constant battle since he requires to carry a hip flask with his favorite tipple as a safety precaution. Even though there are three others books before this one; you can start straight from here, but I would always recommend from the beginning. There will be references to other characters in passing but explanations on them are given throughout.

Harry Hole remains a compelling character to read; a romantic with a very cynical side, he also realizes he needs to confront and question his own weaknesses. After reading the first three books The Redbreast: A Novel,Nemesis and The Devil's Star you will learn Harry's Achilles heal is alcohol, his an alcoholic. His job requires him to live between good and evil in his every day life, but between the lines, could his own addictions and rule breaking finally make him face those two sides of good/evil, which one will finally take hold of him first. Other nice touches to Harry's character, he is, his own man, clearly likes women, well read and he has his love of music and films. But something I noticed over all others right from the first book, Norwegian Hole maybe, but my favorite characteristic in him would be directness of conversation spun with an English dry sense of humor.

For all books that I've read so far in this series, the stories are fascinating to read, constantly moving forward and the plots interwoven with smaller stories throughout bringing in the old and new characters along the way keeping everything fresh with the right pace, suspense, tension and interest. The Author holds the excitement from one page to the next and knows how to surprise, twist and shock.

The Redeemer maybe 460 pages but its entertaining all the way especially loving the twists. It engages the mind to the very end which clearly makes this book another winner to add to a great series.

Thank you also to Don Bartlett who gave us all the clear translation of each book in this series. Next in translation The Snowman released March 2010.

Andrea Bowhill
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on May 14, 2010
To all those that love the Harry Hole nlovels, have you ever wondered about his name. Harry Hole.

I did.I contacted his publishing company, they told me it was pronounced...

"O"like in "pool" and "e"like in "ethnic"

Harry Hoooley. I like that MUCH better than Harry Hole.
Be sure and read The Redeemer AFTER The Devils Star, the last few pages go back to Devils Star, WOW!
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on October 29, 2009
In sub zero temperatures on a busy Oslo pedestrian street the Salvation Army sing to the Christmas shoppers as a shot rings out and one of their group falls to the ground with a single shot to the forehead. The professional who fired the shot disappears into the crowd, heading for the airport and his flight home to Zagreb but the weather isn't on his side and all flights are cancelled. Being forced to stay a further night in Oslo, he is still there when the newspapers report the death and name the man - a man who was not his target.

From the first couple of chapters, I could not put this book down as I was drawn into an intricate, well plotted storyline that kept me guessing right to the end. Having never been to Oslo or indeed any of the Scandinavian countries, the authors depiction made it easy to imagine the location. The characters are incredibly well written; Inspector Harry Hole, a cop with a history and demons (as they always seem to be in crime novels) is so much more than that and is a terrific character with depth and someone you want to know more about. The hitman is also brilliantly portrayed and the author takes you with him into the seedier side of Oslo as he seeks refuge as the net tightens. All of the characters have detail and depth, even the lesser ones.

This is the first book I've read by Jo Nesbø and I can't recommend it highly enough, I didn't realise when I bought it that it was the fourth in the Harry Hole series to be translated into English and I had no problem reading it without having read the previous ones, but I'll certainly be going back and reading them now.
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on November 10, 2011
I agree with much of what was said in this book by the other glowing reviews. Harry is an interesting character with a many quirks and personal conflicts, and the plot kept moving with a lot of interesting twists and turns along the way.

However, Nesbo relies too much on fantastic coincidences to keep his plots going. The majority of the book consists of a contract killer trying to hit his target and just missing because of some unbelievable coincidence, and the police trying to capture the contract killer and just missing, again because of some unbelievable coincidence. In the middle of the book, both the killer and his intended victim remark on how the experience is like some surreal nightmare that just repeats itself over and over, and as a reader forced to buy unlikely event after unlikely event I could sympathize completely.

The most irritating example of this lazy plotting is that whenever a character finds something out that could crack the case wide open, he or she invariably dies before contacting Hole. Using this kind of cheap plot device makes it easy to prolong the suspense for over 400 pages, but as a reader I felt like I was jerked around unnecessarily. Nesbo did manage to provide a satisfying ending that answered all of the questions raised along the way, but the too-convoluted plotting took away a good part of the enjoyment.
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VINE VOICEon May 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I know Jo Nesbo is one of those writers who has loyal followers and this is the third book of his I have read. I loved "The Snowman" a lot but this one fails to provide the kind of thrill and drama that I expected.
I think Nesbo tends to write too much plot and could easily reduce his novels by 10% or so without harming the story. This one involves the murder of a Salvation Army worker. It should be said that the Salvation Army in Norway has a more powerful political presence than in the United States.
The story has some dramatic moments and some exciting scenes but there is a bit too much background material about the relationships between the young trio of Army workers who function as the dramatic pivot of the novel. Any reader will figure out that the assassin has made a mistake in shooting the wrong victim which makes Harry Hole who is the major character in Nesbo's stories face a greater challenge in solving the crime.
Another issue is that Nesbo tends to assume that the reader is aware of Hole's back story and his relationship with his previous compatriots, his family and his demons. I know many writers who utilize the same lead in their novels do the same but not to the extent of Jo Nesbo. Take those issues and combine them with the various subplots that pad this book to nearly 600 pages and there are too many slow moments that in my opinion outnumber the exciting and dramatic turns involving Eastern European conflicts and long ago sexual references.
And only at the end did I realize that "The Snowman" was written after this book but published more than a year earlier in it's American translation. That adds to the confusion and I don't understand why that happened. A good book but not at the top of my "must read" list.
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on April 5, 2013
I am a big fan of Jo Nesbo and have read most of his work that has been translated so far. This is not his best work. As always the story moves along at a brisk pace and compels you to keep reading. Nesbo likes to add twists and turns to his novels, to great effect most of the time, but they were weak in this novel. The story was unneccesarily complicated and a few of the characters just didn't seem useful. Ragnhild seemed more like a plot devise than a character for example. The killer/waitor scene didn't do much to advance the plot. This is a 570 pg novel that could have easily cut 100 pgs and no one would have felt cheated.

Side note having read both the Redeemer and Headhunters, why does Nesbo have a fascination with exotic dogs? He features one in both of those novels. Just a strange quirk for a writer.

For those who are looking to read the Harry Hole series in it's entirety it is essential to read this novel as there are a couple of subplots that are addressed here that are also featured in other novels. For those just looking for a good stand alone mystery novel I would direct you to pretty much any of his other works. The Redbreast and the Snowman in particular.
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(4.5 stars) Man's compulsion to do what he considers good and right, even though it requires him to act in ways that society and the law consider morally and legally wrong, permeates this book on all levels, with several characters assuming this role of "Redeemer" in their actions throughout the novel. Norwegian author Jo Nesbo, in this fourth novel of the Harry Hole series to become available in English, introduces three seemingly disparate plot lines in this thriller set in Oslo--a hired assassin from Croatia is fulfilling contract killings in Europe and has just arrived in Oslo for his last job; the Salvation Army, its officers and soldiers, are trying to fulfill their mission by providing food, clothing, and shelter to those most in need of their help, no questions asked, and they are seeking some new leadership; and Harry Hole, an alcoholic police inspector, who is sometimes off-the-wagon, is still trying to find the Big Boss behind the gun-running and related crimes which brought down one of his fellow police inspectors in The Devil's Star, the previous novel in this series.

Murders link the three plot lines, which quickly begin to overlap. To add to the complexity (and sometimes confusion) of this very complex mystery, there are a number of characters who are similar. In the Salvation Army subplot, two brothers look almost identical, and both are in love with the same woman, though one of them may be a dangerous sadist. The woman, Thea, is also a member of the Salvation Army, and her brother Rikard is a major player. Another attractive young woman, the daughter of the Salvation Army Commander, is also involved in the romantic angles, and it is easy to mix up these characters, especially when their roles overlap.

The assassin who has come to Oslo has a characteristic called "hyperelasticity," which enables him to mimic with his facial structure, a number of different facial types, and descriptions of this person vary significantly when he commits a murder, raising questions about his true identity. In the third plot, Harry himself is still not exactly stable. Though he seems to be reconciled with the fact that his long-time love, Rakel, has written him off as an unacceptable suitor, Rakel's young son clearly still loves Harry, and Harry seems to be still pining for Rakel. Professionally, he must deal with an attack on one of his men.

Nesbo is a compelling writer, one who has completely mastered the art of creating suspense and propelling the action along. In this novel he does something new, however, creating short action scenes in which he does not always identify the main character, presenting information for the reader to process and hold in the back of his/her mind till another piece of the puzzle is revealed to connect with it. Harry Hole might ring a doorbell, for example, and in the immediate next scene, another person entirely will be about to answer the door. This is a clever technique for involving the reader, but it does sometimes create confusion by forcing the reader to backtrack to keep all the characters and their immediate stories straight. Eventually, the loose ends get tied up, but the extent to which the resolutions are realistic is an open question, and some readers may lose track of all the issues before the conclusion. Nesbo does reflect much of the atmosphere of Oslo and the attitudes of the police, as he has in the past, but overall he has a less broad sociological focus here. Another exciting and atmospheric novel from Nesbo, though its scope seems narrower than in the previous novels. Mary Whipple

The Redbreast: A Novel
The Devil's Star: A Harry Hole Novel
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VINE VOICEon May 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In the latest Jo Nesbo book to be published in English, it is Christmas time in Oslo, Norway, but don't be looking for any holiday cheer. As shoppers mill about, enjoying a Christmas concert, a man walks up to a Salvation Army worker, pulls a gun and shoots the man in the head. Enter Harry Hole, one of our favorite screwed up policemen, but as usual it will not be an easy case. There are no clues, no apparent motive and no one able to give a description of the shooter.

But he is not the only one with a problem. For the hired hitman, this was suppose to be an easy job and, in fact, his last job. But things have gone wrong and he has killed the wrong man and now several more will die before it is all over. Hopefully Harry, always fighting that drinking demon, can stay sober long enough to figure it out, because the hitman, nicknamed as a child warrior in his native Yugoslavia during the war as the 'little redeemer' is a man obsessed with completing his 'mission'. Throw in a rape from decades ago that opens the book and we are in for one rather dark and disturbing holiday season.

I will admit that while I like the Harry Hole series, I do not love it.

Why is that? Not to harp on the issue, but I blame the publishers who decided, in their warped wisdom, to translate this series into English out of order. Sometimes it might not have been a huge issue but here I think here it was. If you have not read any of Nesbo books yet, you may be lucky. I think the first two are going to be translated soon and then you will be able to read them in order, at least to some degree. Harry is a complex character, with a troubled history that has made him the man he is, and to have to jump into the middle of his story, as you have if you have read the books as they were translated, is not idea.
Also, I must add that perhaps, with this one, 100 pages could have been cut from this overly long book with no negative effect. Sometimes less is indeed more.

But that being said, this is actually one of my favorite books of the series so far!
Maybe I am finally getting a handle on Harry. Maybe I just like the complex and convoluted plot, with some great twists and turns and a few scenes I will not soon forget. For example, I will never look at Christmas tree decorations in quite the same way will have to read the book to find out why. Maybe it is also because, for the most part, Harry's addiction plays a smaller role in this than in some of the other books, and his 'issues' have become just a little tiring for me.
But there are enough other issues in this book to keep the reader engaged...junkies, rape victims, homelessness, greed, the horror of war and of course, murder.
And as always, we have the ever enigmatic Harry Hole, always an interesting character.
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VINE VOICEon May 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a rabid Jo Nesbø fan that I am I was a stickler for reading the books in the proper order so from that point of view this title to me was more of a "filler" book than an action book, if you have read his other work perhaps you know what I mean for example the book to follow called The Snowman was an action book and one of his best with more pieces to what you could call the grand sceme of Harry Hole's life, that is not to say that this isnt a perfectly good book to kick back and relax with or scare yourself silly.
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on January 10, 2014
It’s inevitable. Mystery stories are always grounded in some level of manipulation by the author. A virtual army of murder suspects mysteriously comes into focus in the background, one at a time. Trusted figures reveal hidden motives. The author deliberately conceals some crucial element by simply truncating a scene before the reader can discern what’s happening. All this is the stuff of the traditional parlor mystery and locked-room puzzles parodied in the board game Clue (Colonel Mustard was found with Mr. Boddy in the Library, but Professor Plum did it with the Candlestick in the Dining Room).

In a well-crafted mystery, outright manipulation of this sort is kept to a discreet minimum, so that the reader doesn’t feel badly used. Jo Nesbo, whom I consider one of the best mystery writers alive, normally manages to drive his stories forward without creating a sense that I’m being duped. He failed the test in The Redeemer, the sixth of his ten novels to date featuring Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo police.

Despite all the early signs of a disturbing and credible Harry Hole tale, The Redeemer gradually unveils an awkward dependency on all the traditional tools of manipulation employed by so many of Nesbo’s forebears — and all too many of his contemporaries. The story becomes virtually unwieldy, with seemingly unrelated murder mysteries intersecting in suspect ways and too many characters turning out to be dramatically different from the ways they were first portrayed. To make matters worse, the theme behind the book’s title comes to light in the first pages and is repeated throughout in heavy-handed ways.

However, with all this said, Nesbo’s skill in building suspense, and my abiding interest in the profoundly complex character of Harry Hole, The Redeemer kept my interest to the end.

In recent years I’ve reviewed The Redbreast, Nemesis, and The Leopard, all of which I found to be brilliant, as well as The Bat, the first of Nesbo’s Harry Hole series, which was promising but clumsy.
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