Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Redeemer - Jo Nesbo

OK, I think we have established that Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole series is my new all-time favorite.  I'm even willing to FORGIVE the translators for doing their work out of order, thus particularly spoiling this book for me.  (The translation work is phenomenal.)  Even though I knew a couple people were going to die in this installment, I had to complete my task of reading all the episodes, which have accumulated as follows:




The Redbreast
Nemesis
The Devil's Star
The Redeemer
The Snowman
The Leopard

There are two novels prior to "The Redbreast", but they have not yet been translated (and may never be, so don't hold your breath or wait for this to happen).  Each book, in theory, is able to stand on its own, but I wouldn't recommend it.  There are consistent characters, there is a history of tragedies that make Harry the man he is.  So what is that dashing, damaged man up to this time?

Synopsis: Twelve years ago, in a Salvation Army summer camp in Norway, there was a brutal rape of a 14 year-old girl.  We don't know the victim, and we don't know the perpetrator.  We also learn about a young Croatian boy who commits acts of treachery and has earned the title "the little redeemer".  These two facts simmer over the years and bubble up to give us the latest Harry Hole investigation.

In the present, a Salvation Army soldier is executed in public at close range.  Soon after, an attempt is made on the victim's brother's life, closely followed by an increasing body count, all which seem to be related.  Harry is assigned to this investigation with his partner Halversen and forensics superstar Beate.  Their digging takes them to Croatia, through the upper administration of the Salvation Army, and to that night 12 years ago at the summer camp.  As Harry's retired boss advises, "follow the money".

My thoughts:  Like all Harry Hole mysteries, there is never one simple plot thread, but many.  In fact, if you aren't careful, you will find yourself completely lost in the woods, a mile from civilization, marveling at how Nesbo does this to you again and again.  I've probably said this before, but best not even try to figure it out.  You will just get confused.  Just go with it.   

Nesbo seems to enjoy picking inanimate objects and creating new phobias for them.  He has demonized elevators, water beds, and snowmen.  Now he has caused me to cringe at my vacuum cleaner (well, yeah, that goes without saying, but now even more than ever).  Is Nesbo married?  I'm thinking that his significant other must have had some input about creating a fear of a vacuum.

And even though in many ways, critical events were spoiled by reading the books out of order, I still very much enjoyed this journey with Harry.  He continues to become more and more untethered by his demons, and is an increasingly cocky smartass with authority, but he is also an admirable dog with a bone, and refuses to give up on the most cut and dried cases.  He is annoying and lovable and dear, and the perfect protagonist to carry the series.

So.  One more book to go, and I believe, for the first time ever, I am reading it in order.  I can't wait.

4.5 out of 5 stars      
 

20 comments:

Beth F said...

You know I'm going to cave soon and start this series. Your enthusiasm is hard to resist.

bermudaonion said...

I've yet to try Nesbo's work (I know, I know, what am I waiting for?) You've got me very curious about the vacuum cleaner thing.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Oh yeah, I forgot about the vacuum cleaner! Hee hee!

caite said...

Nesbo, Nesbo, Nesbo everywhere.
I think I have mention, a time or 20, that I was not totally sold on The Snowman. Now I am thinking I should start back at the beginning of the series before I give it up.

farmlanebooks said...

I heard that the first two books are being translated and will be released in the UK in 2012. Let's hope the publishers keep their word :-)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I've been holding out of this one because I heard the first books in the series weren't translated yet and I'm picky about reading all series in order. But it sounds like maybe I can read them all in 2012!

Zibilee said...

I love it that even though significant plot points of this book were ruined for you that you still really loved and enjoyed the book. I have pretty much abandoned the idea of reading these from the beginning, but will be starting them soon. They sound like just the thing to ring in the new year with! Great review today, Sandy! Have I mentioned before how bad you are for my book budget? :)

Marie said...

I need to try him, huh? :-)

Ti said...

I had to put all my Nesbo stuff aside when I got hooked on Murakami. Not to say that I am no longer a fan because I will never give up that title, but I got sidetracked.

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I just bought The Redbreast two weeks ago and can't wait to dive in!

Melody said...

I still haven't started on any of his books, though I've to say I've most of them in my pile by now. Your enthusiasm for his books is definitely contagious!

Trisha said...

Out of order? Mucho badness. This does sound like a fun series though.

Julie P. said...

I think this is exactly what I need right now.

Jenners said...

Did you ever discover WHY the first two books weren't translated? It just seems so strange. I plan to try Nemesis in the next month or so!

Gavin said...

I'm not reading this post because a friend handed me a copy of The Redeemer over the weekend and I don't want to spoil it! I will come backa and read it later:)

reviewsbylola said...

The only Nesbo book I have read is The Devil's Star, which I loved, so I will probably go to this one next.

Anonymous said...

Having read all the books in the Harry Hole series I feel I ought to warn you, that the first book (Batman) isn't good. The second book (Cockroaches) is though, and the series just keeps getting better. So if you like to read the books in the correct order, don't let the first book put you off!

(The names of those books are just straight translations from the Norwegian titles, they might be called something completely different once the books are finally translated into English).

SheilaBird said...

I love the Harry Holes Books. I started with the Devil's Star because I didn't know it was a series, then went back and started with Redbreast. I've read them all. Went to the Book Depository to get the Snowman and Leopard books from the UK. FYI: From his website: "Jo Nesbø confirms that his favorite director – Martin Scorsese – is officially attached to direct The Snowman." Jo Nesbo has a non-Harry Hole book called Headhunters that was made into a movie and is the #1 movie in Norway. It's coming to the US subtitled so will read it before going to the movie.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

Darn. You have just reminded ,me of all the reasons I need to read these in order. I was so looking forward to reading The Leopard soon, but maybe I will continue on in order after The Redbreast.

Melissa said...

I'm going to have to read this series, but I'm going to hold out just a bit longer, so I don't have to read them out of order.