Tag Archives: Jo Nesbø

The Son – Jo Nesbo

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Jo is the creator of hard-drinking, hard-working Oslo cop, Harry Hole, and has been as at the forefront of the Scandinavian crime boom ever since. Selling over 24 million copies of his book worldwide (only beaten by Stieg Larsson), he’s been translated into more than 40 languages. When Jo’s last book ‘Police’ came out I was lucky enough to attend a talk of his and there was one statement he made that completely endeared him to me and placed him above the writer norm. It was during the Q&A segment where a lady stood up and said:

“A traditional Scandinavian crime series lasts ten books, but with ‘Police’ being the tenth in this series, have you got any plans to write more as Harry? I can’t be the only person in this crowd hoping for more.”

Jo could have easily been forgiven for replying with the stock answer, “maybe if the voice comes to me” or something along those lines, but quick as a flash his response was:

“Listen, I just want everyone to know that I feel no obligation to any of you.”

There was a ripple of awkward laughter and the woman sat down looking a bit put out. I, on the other hand, was now hanging on his every word. He went on to say he writes only for himself and its luck that anyone has liked his books. As a man who has tried his hand at many a different career, from professional footballer to musician, if he isn’t enjoying himself he will move on. A statement I have infinite respect for.

The product of that ‘moving on’ is Jo’s latest book The Son and it was a book I struggled to put down.

Book Description

SONNY’S ON THE RUN

Sonny is a model prisoner. He listens to the confessions of other inmates, and absolves them of their sins.

HE’S BEEN LIED TO HIS WHOLE LIFE

But then one prisoner’s confession changes everything. He knows something about Sonny’s disgraced father.

SONNY WANTS REVENGE

He needs to break out of prison and make those responsible pay for their crimes.

Review

The Son opens in an Oslo prison with the son in question, Sonny. This prisoner is the son of an Oslo policeman who committed suicide after allegations of corruption when Sonny was a child. Many years later, he’s a heroin addict who keeps a steady stream of drugs flowing by confessing to crimes he didn’t commit to stay hooked up to the drug. Whilst taking confessions from his fellow inmates to absorb their sins, Sonny hears his dad’s case might not be as cut and dry as he thinks and sets out on a mission for revenge.

Inspector Simon Kefas is an aging but brilliant policeman and also the best friend of Sonny’s father. He was also devastated at the loss of his friend but as the bodies start to pile up he has to make a harrowing choice.

Just how far would someone go for the ones they loved? This book goes above and beyond a normal crime thriller. The lines between good and bad start burred and in time fade completely until all that’s left is a tense, gut reaction to the unfolding plot. There are similarities between Kefas and Hole, as there are for all good crime detectives. Their brilliant but flawed and loved but lonely, but what makes this book stand out is Sonny. He is a wonderfully fleshed out character with loving, warm traits at times and disturbingly brutal at others. Do you root for the police or The Son? It’s not as easy as you think.

Fans of Jo’s could be worried about the ‘Hole’ left by not including their favourite detective. But The Son doesn’t just fill it; it builds a deftly plotted novel full of love and redemption, on its foundations. If this is the standard that Jo will be reaching for with future projects then I guarantee that ten years from now at signings, audiences won’t be asking if Jo will ever produce a Harry Hole book again. They probably won’t remember who that is.

 

The Son is published by Harvill Secker (10 April 2014)

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Competition – Signed Police by Jo Nesbo

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On Friday the 13th September, I had the privilege to attend both Jo Nesbo signings in Manchester. One at Waterstones Manchester Deansgate, as part of there Dead On Deansgate Crime festival and the other at Manchester Town Hall for the Manchester Literature Festival.

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The nice people at Harvill Secker and Random House, gave me a copy a signed copy of Police, just to give to you. Good luck and I hope it goes to a good home.

Just click on the link below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Jo Nesbo – The Bat

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“Then Harry was alone. As we always are.”

Even though Harry Hole is now a well-established character in the world of crime fiction, this is the first time I’ve decided to pick one of these books up. I’ve been told for years by customers and colleagues that Nesbo is a must read. A flaw of mine is stubbornness and if somebody gives me a glowing recommendation I tend to stay away. Recently my stubborn ways have fallen a little, my recent found love of the Rolling Stones through close friends being one of the many examples, and as I get older I’ve come to realise that Andy James isn’t always right.

Harry Hole, a recovering alcoholic, is sent to Australia to investigate the murder of a Norwegian childrens TV presenter, Inger Holter, but on arrival he is firmly put in his place by the Australian authorities and told he is there only to observe.

Harry is introduced to Andrew Kensington, an Aborigine and Detective for the Sydney Police, who takes Harry under his wing and tells him a lot of tales about life in Australia as an Aborigine. This is my first of two problems with this book. There are a lot of stories that don’t really help you along. Situations are pretty easy to understand are often explained through storytelling and the first half of the book gets a bit bogged down with setting the scene. He also meets Birgitta, a Swedish redhead, and they begin an emotional relationship. Harry tells her his deepest secret, that he caused an accident whilst being intoxicated, which made him quit drinking.

The second half switches gear to full-blown thriller that nearly causes whiplash. I found myself having to go back and re-read some pages because I was franticly scanning in an attempt to relieve some tension. Harry falls off the wagon in horrific fashion and everything falls apart. It’s only when meeting the homeless Joseph, an ex-skydiving instructor, Harry discovers an important lead.

There are times when this book is fantastic. Harry is such a likeable fuck-up, but because this is the first Harry Hole book, I saw teething problems with a particular plot point towards the end that made no sense to me at all. I am being overly critical because Nesbo is considered at the very top of the Scandinavian crime pile. If you’re expecting to be blown away by this, you won’t be. This is a set up to Harry as a dysfunctional human and, even in times of detective brilliance, he still makes big mistakes.

What this has done is made me excited to read more. There is no way I can’t. Nesbo really engages and, unfortunately for my bank account, I feel he will be on the reading pile again very soon.  The only question now is do I wait for book two, The Cockroaches, or go straight in for The Redbreast? I don’t think I’m going to be able to wait for it.

Jo Nesbo’s Police, due for release in the UK this year, has sold out its first print run in Norway. They printed 270,000 copies. Further evidence that Jo is at the very top of this genre.

Jo Nesbo is printed by Vintage Random House

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