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Midnight Sun Paperback – January 1, 2015
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In a remote corner of Norway a mountain town so far north the sun never sets a man is running for his life in the thrilling sequel to number one bestseller Jo Nesbos Blood on Snow Jon is on the run He has betrayed Oslos biggest crime lord The Fisherman Fleeing to an isolated corner of Norway to a mountain town so far north that the sun never sets Jon hopes to find sanctuary amongst a local religious sect Hiding out in a shepherds cabin in the wilderness all that stands between him and his fate are Lea a bereaved mother and her young son Knut But while Lea provides him with a rifle and Knut brings essential supplies the midnight sun is slowly driving Jon to insanity And then he discovers that The Fishermans men are getting closerS
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What ties these two together is The Fisherman, crime kingpin of Oslo. Jon worked for The Fisherman selling drugs and other 'special' jobs as needed. Except Jon couldn't do it - he couldn't kill. So now he's run to a remote village at the top of Norway where the sun never sets. And he took along drugs and money that weren't his to take - and The Fisherman wants it back....
A local woman, Lea, and her son Knut, give Jon shelter in an old hunting cabin. But after a few days of the sun never setting, the flat unending landscape and being alone in the small cabin, he craves people - and alcohol. So he heads to the village....
Nesbo's description of the village and the landscape creates an sense of otherworldly isolation that mirrors what Jon is feeling. The eclectic residents and their behavior keeps both Jon and the reader wondering what could happen next.
Even though Jon, aka Ulf, is a 'bad' guy, he's a bad guy with a good streak and a conscience. The reader can't help but hope that he escapes those after him and that maybe, just maybe, he's got another shot at a good life. Sami culture and the Laestadian religion are woven into the story - redemption is a major theme and plays a part in more than one character's life.
I love the noir, staccato pace of Nesbo's writing - think of a Tarantino movie put to print. For me, another great read from Nesbo.
(I have no idea if Nesbo will ever resurrect Harry Hole - but I do miss him.)
Jon Hansen is on the run from the Fisherman, a powerful crime boss in Oslo. When Jon takes a bus and gets off at Kåsund, located on Norway’s far northeastern border in the Arctic Circle, he tells everyone his name is Ulf and he's there for hunting. After spending the first night in the village church, he learns about a hunter's cottage from Lea, the woman who came to clean the church. She loans him her husband's rifle and with the help of her son Knut, a talkative nine-year-old, he finds it and sets up camp.
The locals clearly know he's on the run from someone and is not there for the hunting. The area is isolated and dominated by the Laestadians, a strict Christian sect that Lea and Knut follow, and the Sami culture.
After falling into working for The Fisherman as a fixer, Jon's true nature is revealed when he fails to kill the man he was told to fix and accepts from him the money the man owed the Fisherman. Jon is an anti-hero. He needs money to help pay for the cancer treatment for his daughter. He's a small-time drug dealer who has never killed anyone, although the Fisherman believes he has. Now he has Johnny Moe, a ruthless fixer for the Fisherman who has no compunctions about killing anyone, after him.
Jon finds himself becoming increasingly concerned about what might happen to the people who are helping him and befriending him in this new, environment - the land of the midnight sun. He wants redemption, but isn't sure if it is at all possible for him to atone for his actions. He knows that with the Fisherman there is no way to disassociate himself and withdraw from any involvement except through his death.
Nesbø excels at character development and this continues to provide the dark Scandinavian noir that you would expect from him. Although it is still grim, this novel is less dark and violent than previous novels. The novel is set in the 1970's, which simplifies the plot when you subtract our hyper-connected society with computers and cell phones. Nesbø keeps the tension high with this short (for him) novel. As you are reading you will keep expecting something bad to happen on the next page, because, naturally, you know something will happen.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Knopf Doubleday for review purposes.
Arriving by bus to hide out, a drug dealer and hit man has fled the wrath of the Oslo drug lord known as The Fisherman. He calls himself Ulf, though that’s not his name. Ulf has arrived in an out-of-the-way village populated by indigenous local people known as the Sami. There he stumbles upon a young woman who invites him to hole up in her husband’s hunting cabin and loans him a rifle and ammunition. Her precocious ten-year-old son shows him the way. We suspect that the hit man and the young Sami woman are attracted to each other, but there’s no hint of that in her manner.
Midnight Sun is at once a murder mystery of sorts, a meditation on faith, and a travelogue. In flashbacks interspersed with passages describing Ulf’s stay in the village, we learn the backstory. His life selling hash, his work as a hit man, his relationship with The Fisherman. Gradually, we come to understand exactly why Ulf has fled Oslo, and why he is in danger from men who will surely be sent to murder him on The Fisherman’s behalf.
Ulf’s encounter with the unique fundamentalist sect that dominates the Sami community takes center stage in the story. His benefactor is the daughter of the local preacher, a fearsome man who instills the fear of fire and brimstone in everyone around him. Ulf’s own atheism is put to the test.
About the author
Jo Nesbo‘s ten novels about the troubled Oslo policeman Harry Hole have elevated him into the first rank of crime writers worldwide. He is less known outside Norway for the other twelve novels he has written, as a vocalist and songwriter for a popular local rock band, or for his former career as a soccer player for one of the country’s principal football clubs.