Review of The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo
This is really a recommendation for the entire Harry Hole (expressed `Hoole`, the `le` expressed like in lemon) series, but if I have to chose the best book to start with, I would go for "The Redbreast". Scandinavian thrillers have become a real phenomenon in the last few years. Stieg Larsson and his Millennium Trilogy are probably more to blame than any other book and author, but of course, scandinavian crime literature has a lot more depth to it then just dear old Stieg, may his soul rest in peace, and Jo Nesbo for me is the greatest of them all.
Harry Hole is a brilliant, fearless alcoholic detective. His life is dark and hopeless and if you are looking for happy books, you better look somewhere else. When he is sober, he is always on the road to another catastrophic alcoholic outbirst that will destroy any relationship he might have had at the time and hamper his investigations, of course, as well as his position in the Oslo police force. Jo Nesbo is a great writer. The plots are excellent, gripping and intelligent. Harry Hole's enemies, phsychopaths and corrupt cups from the Oslo police force which appears to be at least in this version of it, like a real viper's nest, are both reliable and terrible, which makes the whole thing a lot more scurry.
Harry Hole's books take us travelling around the world to Australia, Bkk, Hong Kong, The African republic of the Congo and other places- so it can serve as a very dark version of the traveller's rough guide. "The Redbreast" (The first of the Oslo trilogy) wasn't the first book of the Harry Hole series. "Cockroaches" and "The Bat" preceded it, and they are good reading stuff. I think though, that only in "The Redbreast" did he achieve the level of writing which made him so famous and it was the first to be translated into English. When you have finished the Oslo Trilogy and perhaps some more of the Harry Hole thrillers and have become truly devoted, then you will be able to enjoy the first two books and forgive their imperfections.
Other reviews by Hovav you may want to read:
- The Looking Glass War by John Le Carre >>
- Review of Ring by Koji Suzuki >>
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