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Nemesis (A Harry Hole Novel) Hardcover – January 6, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. When a bank teller is shot during a holdup at the start of Norwegian bestseller Nesbø's beautifully executed heist drama, Oslo Insp. Harry Hole investigates, along with Beate Lønn, a young detective with the ability to remember every face she's ever seen. Meanwhile, Harry receives a call from Anna Bethsen, a woman he hasn't seen in years. After he meets Anna, recovering alcoholic Harry awakens the next morning with a hangover and the news that Anna is dead, apparently by her own hand. While Harry quietly looks into Anna's death, he and Beate uncover ties in their bank robbery case to one of Norway's most notorious bank robbers, who's currently in prison. The deeper Harry digs, the clearer it becomes that Anna's death is linked to the robbery. Expertly weaving plot lines from Hole's last outing to feature the inspector, The Redbreast (2007), Nesbø delivers a lush crime saga that will leave U.S. readers clamoring for the next installment. (Jan.)
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*Starred Review* When Norwegian Jo Nesbo’s Redbreast landed on these shores in 2007, the acclaim was universal. Now Nesbo returns with another novel that is every bit the multitextured, complexly plotted, psychologically rich thriller that made Redbreast such an unqualified success. We pick up the life of Oslo detective Harry Hole, a recovering alcoholic whose closet is stuffed with unresolved issues concerning his obsession with his job and his inability to commit to a personal life, as he awaits the return of his new lover, Rakel, from Russia, where she hopes to be awarded permanent custody of her young son. But then he accepts an invitation to meet an old girlfriend, and suddenly he is sucked into the abyss all over again. Waking the next day at home with what appears to be a world-class hangover, he bemoans having fallen off the wagon, only to realize that’s merely the tip of the iceberg: the girlfriend has been found murdered, and his rival in the Oslo police department may be behind an attempt to frame him. Does the girlfriend’s death somehow tie in with the bank robbery and murder that he and his new partner are investigating? As Hole attempts to connect the sea of dots strewn in his path, he must battle not only his adversaries but his own demons, suddenly given new life. Nesbo manages the unlikely feat of exploring the inner life of his lead character in the thorough and compelling manner one associates with, say, Ruth Rendell, while at the same time juggling multiple, interlocking plot strands as dexterously as David Hewson. No doubt about it: Nesbo belongs on every crime-fiction fan’s A-list. --Bill Ott
Top customer reviews
All of them have been great reads. The beginnings have a lot of detail, but soon
the pieces fall together and the twists and turns of the story start and continue to the end.
All this time we are learning more about the people in the stories and their complexities.
Thanks Jo Nesbo for writing this entertaining series.
Ideas can flow from each other and shift in such a way that it may be hard to tell, at first, whether the scene and/or characters have changed or even whether Harry is fantasizing or dreaming. This gives the story a kind of disorienting quality that fits the material really well.
I liked the descriptive passages quite a bit. I'm an American living in the U.S., but have spent quite a bit of time in Scandinavia so reading about the weather in Oslo is nicely nostalgic for me. This may not be true for everyone.
One problem I found is that the Kindle editions of the books are out of sequence. Others have mentioned this. I used the list of Kindle editions in sequence as a guide, which turned out to be a mistake as it appears that there are no Kindle Editions for some of the books.
I'll probably order paperback copies of the books that are missing in order to fill in the blanks as it were, but wish this issue had been clearer before I got started. In any case...Redbreast should come first...before Nemesis. Nemesis is the first Kindle edition listed. It looks like The Devil's Star (3 of 6) and Snowman (5 of 6) may not be available for Kindle either.
Finally, I have to say that the English translation is atrocious. I really wish the publisher had invested in a better translator. The book was translated for British English readers, which means that the slang might be unfamiliar to American readers. That wasn't a problem for me. I know what a 'tosser' is, for example. However, some American readers might not like the British slang and phrasing.
The real problem here is that the word usage is just gratingly wrong so much of the time. It sounds like this may have been a literal translation, which really doesn't work because Norwegian word order and usage may not correspond literally to English word order and usage. The result is a text just doesn't flow in a way that feels natural to a native speaker of English.
I had the same complaint about the Stieg Larsson books. This one may even be worse. It is possible to do a translation that feels right both in the original and in the translation, but it takes an artful translator to make that happen. Henning Mankell's books, for example, are translated with competence. It makes a difference.
Addendum: Having now read several more of the books in the series, I'd like to amend my comments on the translation. The same translator was used for the rest of the series and the other books sounded better to me...either he did a better job or I became more accustomed to his style. In either case, I thought the translation was less intrusive in the other books.
It's the story of Harry Hole, Oslo police detective. Yes, that's his name. Deal with it. Harry is viewed by many around him as slovenly and eccentric, for he does things like continue an investigation for hours without changing his clothes after he dove into a loaded dumpster looking for evidence. He reeked as he interacted with several people. On another occasion he saw something in his own vomit which he could not identify. So he proceeded to determine exactly what it was. Use your imagination.
Harry is an alcoholic. A key part of Jo Nesbo's novel is the death of Harry's girlfriend. It seems that Harry had no memory of the time that she died, although he was with her that evening. He is convinced that he started drinking again and blacked out. He wonders if her death was indeed a suicide as the initial police investigation concluded. Or was it murder? To what extent was he involved? A parallel, possibly intersecting, story is the murder of a bank teller. Harry hunts the culprit. Despite his irregular behaviors, he is a tenacious and resourceful sleuth. He's always ready to bend the rules and defy superiors who place their own ambitions above a simple desire to catch the bad guys.
The only flaw I noted was the incredible way that Harry responded to the book's final crisis. I don't want to give anything away, but you'll have to suspend disbelief big time to get through this episode. However, this was not enough to knock this excellent book down to a four.
1. The Redbreast 2. Nemesis 3. The Devil's Star 4. The Redeemer 5. The Snowman 6. Leopard
I hope that's the order anyway. I agree that these book require a commitment. One of my biggest problems with the Redbreast was all the characters and keeping them straight. I felt like I was reading Tolstoy--in that sense, anyway. I didn't have that problem with Nemesis. The twist at the end is not what I would have predicted, and I really thought this book was better than the Redbreast. Some reviews of the Redbreast didn't like that some subplots were not complete, and they continue on in this book. Some of them remain unfinished in book 2. Overall, I felt like Nemesis had more suspense. Harry Hole is grumpy, moody, an alcoholic, and reckless. But you like him. You know he's trying to ultimately do what's right. I'm looking forward to reading more of the series, but this series, I'll admit, does not have me going straight from book 1 to book 2 to book 3 as the Millennium series had me going. I'm not chomping at the bit to read the next book, but I know I'll get to it!