For all of you purists out there (like me) who must read their beloved series in order, you will be astounded to learn that (gasp) I read this Harry Hole installment OUT OF ORDER!!! It went against every thread of my literary soul to jump back an episode after reading "The Devil's Star" but I'm in this Nesbo thing for the long haul and I couldn't let it go unloved. Good thing too, 'cause he rocked my world. Again.
Synopsis: In addition to being assigned a special detail intended to solve the murder of a policewoman and his best friend, Harry Hole also picks up a string of bank robberies, one of which resulted in a cold-blooded murder. At the same time, Harry monkeys around with an old lover while his girlfriend is away, and the lover is found dead from a presumed self-inflicted wound. Trouble always seems to nip at Harry's heels.
Also typical for Mr. Hole is a rabbit warren of leads, dozens of red herrings, and a pile of dead bodies, all of which take him to Brazil, into a gang of gypsies, into the lives of cheating spouses and jealous brothers, and into smarmy and vindictive office politics. He also teams up with uber forensics specialist Beatte, who could possibly be an emotional replacement for Harry's dead partner.
With wry humor and clumsy panache (something Hole seems to lose as time goes by) the multiple layers and multiple crimes are exposed and solved. But not without a piece of Harry being lost forever.
My thoughts: Nesbo is really starting to have his moment. While "The Redbreast" was fulfilling as a mystery thriller, it was dense. With "Nemesis" however, you can almost physically ride his wave of endorphins that pump up some of his scenes here. You can FEEL him on a roll, and as a reader, you hang onto his rope and get drug along with him. So much fun.
I was delighted with the Harry presented in this installment, knowing that in "The Devil's Star" he is in dark, murky emotional sludge. At this point in time, Harry lets out a little bit of his inner wiseacre, he has a shred of self-confidence, and has hope for the future. He is still believing he can fight and win against his demons, including the bottle. God bless him.
Here is another thing that, after having read three of Nesbo's books, I can tell you that you must know. There is a 99% chance you are not going to figure this stuff out. We've got so many layers. So many bad men and women, running around with different agendas, but all intersecting. You (and Harry) think one murder is solved. But no, psyche! You both were wrong and you must keep looking, keep asking questions. It is maddening! In a good way of course.
Although I know Harry has found love with Rakel, and that is lovely, what I'm really enjoying is his friendship with Beatte. Beatte to me is a fascinating character, who may have a tiny bit of Lisbeth Salander in her, but maybe a little less angsty. She is smart, she has special talents, she is quiet and anti-social, and she understands Harry. I have high hopes for her in future installments.
Speaking of which, I am on a long wait list for The Snowman on audio. I have yet to listen to a Harry Hole novel on audio. Stay tuned...
4.5 out of 5 stars