Ved et uhell skyter Harry Hole en amerikansk Secret Service agent under president Clintons Norges bes k Saken blir dysset ned og Harry overf res til Overv kningspolitiet En faks tikker inn om en v penliga som er blitt rullet opp i Johannesburg og avsl rer at en attentatrifle har havnet i Oslo Harry blir satt p saken og sammen med sin tidligere partner, Ellen Gjelten, finner de spor som peker i retning av norske frontkjempere, det nynazistiske milj et og en kontakt med kodenavnet Prinsen som synes ha forbindelser innenfor deres egne rekker Dette er den tredje boka om Harry Hole 7 10 There s nothing wrong with this Scandinavian crime thriller, possibly the most popular of its category in recent years Yet its technical achievements pacing, characterization, research, atmosphere, etc may have been what kept me being fully emotionally involved in the story With a few exceptions of great character sketches, the story felt contrived and to clever for its own good I would even go so far as call the plot forgettable if it were not for the numerous flashbacks to the World 7 10 There s nothing wrong with this Scandinavian crime thriller, possibly the most popular of its category in recent years Yet its technical achievements pacing, characterization, research, atmosphere, etc may have been what kept me being fully emotionally involved in the story With a few exceptions of great character sketches, the story felt contrived and to clever for its own good I would even go so far as call the plot forgettable if it were not for the numerous flashbacks to the World War II seeds of the current crisis.The feeling I m just along for the ride, with a big bag of popcorn beside me started with the prologue, and continued to the last page We meet Harry Hole in my case for the first time, because I skipped his first two novels in the series as a burned out policeman, a bag of nerves that manages to shoot at a friendly target during a US presidential visit to Oslo In order to avoid an international scandal, his superiors promote him to a special investigations desk, where instead of laying down quietly, he starts tracking the links between skinhead gangs violence, the purchase of a very exensive sniper rifle and resentments inherited from past collaborations of Norwegians with the Nazis in WWII.Now for the good stuff Harry is a great choice for the main character of a multi volume series He is flawed, depressive, introspective, vulnerable in his personal life, a loner among his colleagues Yet we see under all the darkness the flashes of a sunnier core, in his friendly bantering with his partner Ellen, in his tentative wooing of a woman he interviews during his investigations The sense of humour is so muchprecious and hard won, given his post traumatic stress I feel I should read at lest the two preques, to give him a better chance of winning me overBorn in 1965 You look older than that, Inspector Hole Bad genes Bad luck for you Well, they let me into eighteen certificate films when I was fourteen I laugh from tie to time, But Harry s song is sung moe often than not in a key of sadness view spoiler I was angry beyond words at the killing of Ellen, a gratuitous tug on my sympathy after putting a lot of hope in her continued presence in the series as a counterweight to Harry s morbid apathy hide spoilerEllen had said he lacked natural buoyancy, or whatever it was that meant most people could struggle to the surface again After his return from Bangkok he had been down for so long that he had considered giving up ever returning to the surface Everything had been cold and dark, and all his impressions were somehow dulled As if he were deeply immersed in water It had been so wonderfully quiet When people talked to him the words had been like bubbles of air coming out of their mouths, hurrying upwards and awaythe controversy surrounding the role of Norwegians collaborators in WWII, and how history is rewritten by the victors, creating resentments and pushing waves of hatred far into the future, is a better andoriginal anchor to the novel than the terrorist with a big gun cliche The historical flashbacks to the siege of Leningrad, to a hospital in Vienna, or to Hamburg after carpet bombing, worked much better for me thn the contemporary pieceswriting the history that the authorities felt postwar Norway deserved By keeping quiet about the widespread collaboration with the Germans and focusing on the little resistance there was For instance, Juul devotes five pages to the sinking of the Blucher on the night leading to 9 April in his history book, but he quietly ignores the fact that prosecutions against almost 100,000 Norwegians were being considered at the trials And it worked The myths of a Norwegian population fighting shoulder to shoulder against Nazism live on todayin line with other Scandinavian writers, Nesbo is aware and skillful in weaving together the individual with the larger social problems of his time Harry Hole s depression is rooted not only in his personal experiences in Australia and Bangkok, but also in the existential alienation of the modern man To the issue of Nazi collaboration we can add the Israelo Palestinian conflict, the Apartheid regime in South Africa, digs at the Russian and American superpower claims andA poster in his derelict apartment quotes BjornebeeAnd this acceleration in the production of horsepower is again just one expression of acceleration in our understanding of the so called laws of nature This understanding angstIt may be a secondary plot in the novel, but once again, for me it wasimportant that the race to stop the killer the abuse of women read rape by men in a position of authority One case in Vienna in 1942 is echoed by another one in Oslo in 1999, almost mirror like One sadist gets his just deserves, the other s fate is left out for a sequel.In conclusion maybe the novel deserves a better rating than my three and a half stars, but I was a bit disappointed in the predictable ending and a few loose ends Harry Hole is a great protagonist, and I may rate his higher after I read the two prequels I skipped Recommended for fans of Nordic crime novels Jo Nesbo ups his game Way up.The third of Nesbo s Harry Hole novels, this one published in 2000 In my review of the second novel, Cockroaches, I opined that as good a writer as Nesbo is, his best work lay in the future.Every now and then I am right about something and this time I was, The Redbreast is head and shoulders above his previous two books This is inspired, confident and mature almost as if he were shrugging off his Journeyman title and moving towards the ranks of master writer.And Jo Nesbo ups his game Way up.The third of Nesbo s Harry Hole novels, this one published in 2000 In my review of the second novel, Cockroaches, I opined that as good a writer as Nesbo is, his best work lay in the future.Every now and then I am right about something and this time I was, The Redbreast is head and shoulders above his previous two books This is inspired, confident and mature almost as if he were shrugging off his Journeyman title and moving towards the ranks of master writer.And The Bat and Cockroaches were both good books, both introducing a charismatic protagonist and told a good story, making a reader want to come back.The Redbreast is even better.Set in and around Oslo we find Harry Hole stumbling and bumbling through his career Nesbo has drawn Hole as a very real hero, with bumps and ugly problems which is somewhat clich as this kind of lead character seems prerequisite for a crime novel the tough but tortured loner cop out on the edge, driven by his own demons and suffering under bureaucratic and legal obstacles that keep him from doing what is right but he has also created in Hole a very likable and approachable protagonist, a lead actor whom the reader can get behind.In John Steinbeck s wonderful 1942 short work The Moon Is Down, we are introduced to the Nazi invasion of Norway and are given to the idea of a united Norwegian front against the invaders Nesbo and history tells a different,complicated story Some Norwegians joined the Germans, fought alongside the Nazis in bright green uniforms, were cheered as keeping out the invading Russians It is in thiscomplex field of competing loyalties that Nesbo illuminates and enthralls.Nesbo tells The Redbreast in two alternating story lines, Hole s present day investigations into neo Nazi murders, and a second narrative from 1944 along the Eastern German front, in the trenches surrounding Leningrad Nesbo weaves these two narratives into a plot structure that slowly grows together and draws in several interconnected sub plots, blending group dynamics and character interactions into a denouement that is profound and mesmerizing.A very, very good book and highly recommended 2019 addendum I ve read several of these and still believe The Redbreast is his best The Redbreast is actually the third of Jo Nesb s detective novels featuring the alcoholic Harry Hole who is on the wagon for most of this particular novel , but alas, it was the first to be translated into English Nevertheless, it works fine as a standalone, though the impact of one particular event might have been greater had we been able to read about the character in the two previous novels Anyway back to The Redbreast, which involves Nazis, both Old Skoole and Neo , a couple of touch The Redbreast is actually the third of Jo Nesb s detective novels featuring the alcoholic Harry Hole who is on the wagon for most of this particular novel , but alas, it was the first to be translated into English Nevertheless, it works fine as a standalone, though the impact of one particular event might have been greater had we been able to read about the character in the two previous novels Anyway back to The Redbreast, which involves Nazis, both Old Skoole and Neo , a couple of touching love stories, mistaken identities, corrupt police officers and a marvelous and beautifully written evocation of wartime on the Russian Front during World War II Though perhaps there are occasions where Nesb relies a tiny bit too much on coincidence, this is a fantastic mystery I was kept guessing until the very last page and I had to read this lengthy novel quite compulsively until I finished it One particular mystery that we, the readers, know the answer to is not actually solved in the book, so clearly it will be a theme for later I seem to read a great deal of Scandinavian crime fiction, but The Redbreast really stood out for me in terms of plot, character development, and writing style I know I am reading everything in translation, but Nesb s writing seems far, farelegant and crisp than Henning Mankell s for example, and it is miles away from the total infelicity of Stieg Larsson s efforts which I always felt would have been best served by some seriously tough love in the editing department Indeed, because there was a similar sort of Nazi subplot in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I couldn t help but mentally compare that novel to this one, and yet again, I cannot fathom the undeserved popularity of the Larsson books compared to something like this which is actually well written, has believable characters and a plot that makes sense Nesb manages to stay away from the tedious accumulation of unnecessary detail of which both Larsson and Mankell are guilty all of his characters seem like real people, rather than random collections of cliched plot devices, and wonder of wonders, Harry doesn t actually solve one of the biggest mysteries of the story Indeed, he only solves the main plot because the criminal wants him to, as opposed to all those amateur detectives who solve cases that have baffled the professionals for years yes, I AM looking at you Mikael Blomqvist.In short, highly highly recommended for everyone who likes their mysteries Nordic, their characters fascinating and their writing excellent Here s the thing about the recent popularity of Scandinavian writers and if you re a Nordic Thriller aficionado you couldn t care less about the distinction the novels are depressed, somber, filled with ennui, a lack of humor, with flawed characters if not suffused with a strong tendency towards determinism in short, whether you re reading Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, or Jo Nesbo you are likely reading Literary Naturalism If you live in Scandinavia you might consider this par for the cours Here s the thing about the recent popularity of Scandinavian writers and if you re a Nordic Thriller aficionado you couldn t care less about the distinction the novels are depressed, somber, filled with ennui, a lack of humor, with flawed characters if not suffused with a strong tendency towards determinism in short, whether you re reading Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, or Jo Nesbo you are likely reading Literary Naturalism If you live in Scandinavia you might consider this par for the course, ennui is imbued into the populace as it is also reflected in the works of prominent Russian writers Anna Karenina comes to mind Just as we continue to struggle here in the States with our history of slavery and the resulting racial tensions, so do Europe and Scandinavia struggle in coming to terms with Nazism and the Bolshevik revolution More than a few reviewers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Nordic writers pre occupation with Nazism And yet, the rise in popularity of these Nordic thrillers here in the States is puzzling given our strong tendency towards literary Romanticism We like for the good guys to win, we like emotion, we like our heroes as opposed to anti heroes we enjoy free will, and in general consider ourselves in control of our own lives.Having said that there is excellence in Literary Naturalism The above doesn t mean we can t enjoy a well written novel, an intriguing mystery, a flawed anti hero, a well crafted story written in the style of literary Naturalism It doesn t mean we can t enjoy the works of Jo Nesbo I did.In Jo Nesbo s wordsI come from a family of readers and story tellersWith a librarian mother and a father who sat before the fire and told the kids stories they wanted to hear each repetition bringing something new to the tale Jo s foundation was carved in stone Again, in his own life story we sense the determinism filtering into his life he wanted to be a soccer star but an injury put a quick stop to this with a dreadful feeling of fate guiding his life he entered the military in the hopes something would happen what happened was Self Discipline thinking he might want to be an economist he entered the world of finance which he abandoned as well someone told him he could play guitar he only knew 3 chords and he formed several bands, Di Derre being the most successful and finally he wrote on an airplane to begin with and he never stopped The Redbreast is Jo Nesbo s third Harry Hole pronounced Hooleh novel the other two not being translated for a US audience as of yet and is Nesbo s claim to fame So, this is where we start Yes, the books should be read in order For an American audience, Harry Hole can be likened to Harry Bosch he defies authority, is an outcast within his own organization, is best left alone to do this job his office is at the end of the hall , isof an anti hero than a hero, has trouble with his romantic life, lives alone, has a fierce propensity for justice as opposed to the Law and once let loose is like a pit bull with a bone fastened to his jaws But perhaps the most compelling reason why Harry Hole has such a following is Nesbo s devastating characterization of what exactly comprises a flawed hero Upon reflection, American hard boiled writers don t come close to accomplishing the same This is not too dissimilar to the way Nesbo sees himself Bjarne M ller, my former boss, says people like me always choose the line of most resistance It s in what he calls our accursed nature That s why we always end up on our own I don t know I like being alone Perhaps I have grown to like my self image of being a loner, too.I think you have to find something about yourself that you like in order to survive Some people say being alone is unsociable and selfish But you re independent and you don t drag others down with you, if that s the way you re heading Many people are afraid of being alone But it made me feel strong, free and invulnerable.Andah, yes, there is the matter of plot So how do we justify this decided streak of fate determinism within the novels with Nesbo s apparent mastery of plot The two seemingly ought to contradict each other On the one hand, we have Nesbo s almost Shakespearean tendency to cast characters as marionette puppets on the strings of fate the very opposite of plot , while on the other hand we are riveted by the very complex actions and reactions made by Harry Hole during his investigations Nesbo is a master at not adding anything superfluous to his novels Perhaps it is an unholy marriage between the two that transfixes us His plots are intricate, very complex, the seemingly irrelevant details exposed throughout the novels become larger than life as the story closes, and they can weave through time, forward and backward, as the story unfolds But, with a little alacrity, we can remember we are reading Naturalism and so it isn t always Harry Hole making events happen, but rather the reverse, it is the events that move Harry Hole Again, it is a matter of preference but in Nesbo s case it is done with utter expertise as a writer.The exposition setting is often Scandinavia the weather is somber, the descriptions grey like, the people absorbed with alcohol and withdrawn, if not bundled and sequestered And yet, the dialogue and scenes are full of references to other millieus , continents, languages, and cleverly hidden philosophical references that speak to a widely cultured audience as opposed to American writers of this genre who rarely venture beyond the borders of their land, if not their own State And as with plot, there are no superfluous details Everything in the novels matters and Nesbo does not forget even the tiniest detail to which he s made a seemingly furtive reference earlier on in the story This is one of the biggest reasons why I love Jo Nesbo.I thoroughly enjoyed Jo Nesbo s The Redbreast and am currently reading the remaining Harry Hole novels I remain intrigued by events left undone such as the fate of our undiscovered villain in this and other stories You ll just have to read the novels to find out.Oh, yes, as with other series this review is likely to be repeated for all unless there is a drastic divergence from what I have written here So, if you ve read this review, you ve read em all Enjoy