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Police A Harry Hole thriller Paperback – 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
The life of Insp. Harry Hole, who was shot in the head by his surrogate son in the finale of 2012's Phantom, hangs in the balance for much of Nesbø's powerful 10th novel featuring the Oslo homicide cop. Secondary players who have helped out along the way step into the spotlight: forensics expert and facial-recognition whiz Beate Lønn; the brilliant but psychologically unstable detective Katrine Bratt; Harry's longtime friend Bjørn Holm; and the slippery new police chief, Mikael Bellman. The police force itself is at stake when it becomes apparent that the seemingly unrelated deaths of police officers are actually part of a larger pattern: each officer was slain at the site of an unsolved crime. In Nesbø's able hands, Harry's absence is a character unto itself, but this will only make readers more eager to learn Harry's fate. Author tour. 150,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Niclas Salomonsson, Salomonsson Agency (Sweden). (Oct.) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* Three shots fired at point-blank range. Harry Hole has to be dead, doesn’t he? And, yet, here is a new “Harry Hole novel,” not an earlier installment of the series published out of order. Ever since word of this novel’s publication started leaking, fans of Nesbø’s best-selling series have been scratching puzzled heads: Harry alive? Well, you’re not going to find the answer in this review, and in fact, you won’t find it definitively until page 505 of Nesbø’s maddening yet riveting cat-and-mouse game of a novel. But let’s leave poor Harry in a kind of literary limbo for the moment and focus on what—with or without Harry—is one hell of a thriller. Police officers in Oslo are being murdered by a serial killer with a bizarre agenda: each victim is discovered at a crime scene that mimics the scene of an earlier unsolved murder. Not only that but the new victims all participated in the investigations of the earlier crimes. Is the killer a fellow cop? Working as an off-the-books task force, Harry’s former colleagues—Beate Lønn, Stale Aune, Bjorn Hølm, and Katrine Bratt—set out to find the answers. It’s clear that Chief of Police Mikael Bellman and his henchman, Truls Berntsen, are dirty, but are they killers? Nesbø cunningly plays with the reader throughout this devilishly plotted tale, introducing multiple corkscrewing twists and, while we’re worrying about Harry, slipping in a horrifying shocker from another direction altogether. The narrative is ingenious, but it grips us the way it does because, after nine novels, we’ve formed abiding relationships with these characters and don’t like to see them messed with. Nesbø messes with everyone here, especially the reader, but furious as we’d like to be, in the end we’re willing supplicants. --Bill Ott --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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For anyone just starting to read this series of books, I would encourage you to read at least the two previous books in the series before reading Police. Having a familiarity with recurring characters is so important to getting the most enjoyment from reading Police.
The book is so dense with wonderful intersecting plotlines, blind alleys and characters that I'll be rereading it to see what new nuggets I uncover the second time around.
The story has a lot of characters. I always have trouble keeping track of a "cast of thousands," so for most of the Hole novels I've been keeping a cheat sheet, listing characters as they show up, a word or two about who they are. Later I draw lines between them when connections appear. This book ended up with 32 characters, and even then it turned out that one of the main drivers of the plot wasn't on the list (he died before the book started).
One style quibble. I thought there were too many scenes where the action was described but the actor was not identified until well into the action. That's fine if it's the killer, whose identity is rightly withheld, but when it's one of the supporting characters -- the first few times it added suspense, but after that it became a bit tedious -- "Come on, Jo, just tell me who it is."
My quibble was minor enough that I still gave the story 5 stars.
Never has the act of reading been so analogous to riding a roller coaster as you are lifted to great heights before being flung into complete, heart-stopping despair; there are twists and turns, false corners and such sharply angled ones, you sustain the equivalent of literary whiplash reading this book.
What is also evident from the moment the story starts, is that you're in the hands of a master. There's a sense in which, as gruesome as this bloody tale of revenge and thwarted intentions is, Nesbo is having fun with the reader... He is playing mind games with us and they damn well work. Persuading us into one way of thinking only to reveal another, Police, perhaps more than any other of the Hole books, allows us to identify with the investigation, gives us access to the minds and feelings of the frustrated investigators as we share their experiences, concerns and suspicions. Nesbo not only leads us up one garden path, that he has cobbled, bordered with plants, lit brightly or plunged into darkness, strewing it with characters we expect to find and those we do not, he then strands us in the middle of what we quickly understand isn’t a path, it’s a labyrinth. A psychological, emotional and physical one that familiar characters and new ones inhabit with varying degrees of comfort and control. There is never a dull moment in this tale, nor is there an opportunity to catch your breath. Not for the faint-hearted, this latest (and I hope not final as has been rumored) addition to the Hole series is simply brilliant.