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The Redbreast (Harry Hole Series) Paperback – International Edition, November 2, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Shifting effortlessly between the last days of WWII on the Eastern front and modern day Oslo, Norwegian Nesbø (The Devil's Star) spins a complex tale of murder, revenge and betrayal. A recovering alcoholic recently reassigned to the Norwegian Security Service, Insp. Harry Hole begins tracking Sverre Olsen, a vicious neo-Nazi who escaped prosecution on a technicality. But what starts as a quest to put Olsen behind bars soon explodes into a race to prevent an assassination. As Hole struggles to stay one step ahead of Olsen and his gang of skinheads, Nesbø takes the reader back to WWII, as Norwegians fighting for Hitler wage a losing battle on the Eastern front. When the two story lines finally collide, it's up to Hole to stop a man hell-bent on carrying out the deadly plan he hatched half a century ago in the trenches. Perfectly paced and painfully suspenseful, this crime novel illuminates not only Norway's alleged Nazi ties but also its present skinhead subculture. Readers will delight in Hole, a laconic hero as doggedly stubborn as Connelly's Harry Bosch, and yet with a prickly appeal all his own. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Nobody can delve into the dark, twisted mind of a murderer better than a Scandinavian thriller writer.”
“I place Nesbø high up on the Scandinavian mystery league.”
–Marcel Berlins, The Times
“Exciting, witty, melancholy and thought-provoking, and he is well-served by his elegant translator, Don Bartlett, whom I bet many foreign crime novelists would kill to get hold of.”
"A page-turner you won't want to put down."
— Time Out
"Scary... culminates in a nail-biting episode with overtones of The Day of the Jackal."
Top customer reviews
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In The Redbreast Nesbo's writing and storytelling ability improve significantly. The plot is complex and the scope vast. Nesbo masterfully juggles two eras without skipping a beat and manages to pace the two merging stories perfectly. I did struggle with the war scenes as I feel Nesbo assumed that his readers would mainly be Norwegians well acquainted with Norway's history in the war. I also felt that major loose ends were not dealt with towards the end of the book.
Harry is shunted into a surveillance of old Nazis, those men who years before fought with the Germans during World War II. For a while, it was seen as the patriotic thing to do, although these same men were considered traitors after the war. Now, Oslo is seeing a disturbing rise of Neo-Nazis, and who better to get the scoop on these old men who seem to be inspiring younger men to use violence against the immigrants who have come to Norway to start a new life.
Harry soon discovers a secret that is taking the lives of these few old men left from that earlier time. He discovers that a high-powered rifle useful mainly for assassinations has been illegally imported and reports his findings to his superiors, who ignore his concerns. The former Nazis and their family members start to show up murdered. Can Harry unravel the mystery of what happened all those years ago before someone else is killed?
This is one of the earliest Harry Hole mysteries and fans of the series will enjoy learning Harry's back story. This is when he meets the love of his life, Rakel, and starts his partnership with Halvorsen. We learn about Harry's life as a boy and the sister he loves dearly. Jo Nesbo is definitely one of the premier suspense writers of the current mystery scene, and The Redbreast shows the seeds of how his books will emerge as the series continues. This book is recommended for mystery lovers.
The plot takes us back in forth in time : WW2, the present and it weaves through people and streets and squares with those long unfamiliar names---great if you're from Oslo not so good if you're from Philly.
Snowman was a more compelling read from the Harry Hole series.
Looking forward to reading The Snowman.