I probably don't need to tell you all at this point that I am more than a little obsessed with Jo Nesbo and his Harry Hole series. Hey, I sat and stared at a man on a flight from Copenhagen to Bergen, convinced it was HIM. Who knows, maybe it was? But I was too scared to approach him and make a fool out of myself, all drooling and tongue-tied.
My day/week/year was made when Kathy (Bermudaonion) sent me an ARC of Nesbo's latest "Phantom". It launches this week and I am here to convince all of you that if you have not jumped on this bandwagon, then you need to quickly. Did you know Martin Scorcese has signed up to direct the film version of "The Snowman"? Which I am sure is going to be a success, and who knows where it will go from there.
Unfortunately however, I'm not sure how much I can tell you about this specific book. What can I say to lure you in? Just about anything specific I would tell you would be a spoiler, but I'm going to try my hand at a (Norwegian) tap dance.
Synopsis: After fairly cataclysmic results of his experience in "The Leopard", Harry retreats to Hong Kong to heal and to dry himself out from the latest of many battles with the bottle. Several years has passed, he has moved on with his life, but then is called back to Oslo because of a closed case of one drug addict murdering another. This case may of be some interest to Harry because it is personal. Harry has no doubt that the convicted murderer has been unjustly accused. But digging around to get answers may stir up a hive of dangerous element...drug kingpins, homicidal thugs-for-hire, drug addicts, ambitious politicians...they all have to take a number to get in line to take out Hole. He is just too obsessive, too dogged, too disturbed to let sleeping dogs lie.
In the most personal, most solitary story in the series by far, Harry fights for what he believes in, for what he loves. Characters that we have come to expect to make their appearance in the Harry Hole series are on the periphery. This is Harry's struggle and his war, both internally and with the world, with the damaged and weary but beloved man walking the thinnest of lines between brilliance and utter failure.
My thoughts: Well. So...I am not sure what I can say. I loved it? I hated it? I threw the book across the room when I finished, like it was covered in something repulsive? I have thought of nothing else since I turned that last page?
Nesbo is clever. He is always full of surprises. With each novel, he introduces new and creative ways to torture and kill people (this one is no different, toying with bricks and spacesuits). He always has at least a half dozen red herrings to keep you guessing. You never know what is going on, ever. If you think you do, then just prepare yourself because you will most likely be wrong. He has created an anti-hero that makes you want to simultaneously hug him and smack him in the head. He has given the anti-hero a conscience, a heart, and demons that make him as fragile as hand-blown glass. He is tall and attractive, he is scarred, he throws up a lot and usually smells. I mean, what the hell?
But this takes the cake. Really. I am left speechless.
In the spirit of reading a series, I'd advise that you NOT start with this one. The best option would be to start at "The Redbreast" (the first book that was translated to English) and work your way through all seven of them. But if you don't have the patience, at least read the last couple. (Maybe start with "The Snowman" since it will be a movie).
For another (better written) opinion on this book, go visit Rhapsody Jill. Who read the book before me, was having spasms from wanting to discuss, which in turn made me a little insane. Oh the flurry of e-mails that have gone back and forth on this one...
Now because Harry would want me to, I'm going to go have a drink.
4.5 out of 5