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The Redbreast (Harry Hole Series) Paperback – International Edition, November 2, 2009
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“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."
About the Author
Jo Nesbø, musician, economist and author, has won many prizes for his novels, including the Norwegian Book Club prize for best ever-Norwegian crime novel. His first novel to be published in English was The Devil’s Star, which sold more than 100,000 copies in Norway alone. He lives in Oslo.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
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The plot refers back to an interesting time in Norwegian history when a significant number of them fought with the Germans in WW11, something I knew nothing about. We certainly didn't hear of it in Britain after the war. The current time of the book is about long held bitterness and resentment.
An excellent read.
A number of reviewers likened Nesbo to Stieg Larsson, but the similarities begin and end with the fact that they both write (or wrote, in Larsson's case) Scandinavian Crime fiction. Novelists continually hone their skill with each effort. Larsson unfortunately didn't live long enough for that to happen. I found his trilogy to have too much pointless, meandering filler that badly needed tighter editing. His characterization of Lisbeth Salander was excellent, but most of the "supporting cast" in his books were so poorly drawn that it was hard to keep them all straight. I much prefer Nesbo's style of writing. A prolific writer, he excels at his craft and doesn't need to be propped up with comparisons to Larsson, who, for whatever reason, has been iconized as the be-all and end-all of Scandinavian Crime Fiction.
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 storyline alternates between the service of Norwegian Nazis serving in the Waffen SS in WWII near Leningrad, War-torn Germany, and 1999 Norway coming to grips with its emerging neo-Nazi movement. Along the way, the reader gets a glimpse of how Norway dealt with its collaborators at the end of WWII and the period just after the war.
Since it is Joe Nesbo, he leads the reader along a primrose path to keep the reader guessing whom the guilty party until the very end.
Just when the reader has determined the murderer's identity, in typical Joe Nesbo fashion, we find it is actually someone else. Joe twists the reader’s psyche with ease.
You must read this novel.
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Thanks for the update and for the record I have to go. I see you have a good day at work