Tuesday, May 7, 2013


The Scandinavian invasion in crime fiction caught me off guard, so much so that I am only now trying my first novel from that phenomenon.  I know, I'm years late but at least I finally decided to jump in.  I had heard about Jo Nesbo and his hero Harry Hole; I even know how to pronounce Hole's last name, so I wasn't totally behind times.  Anyway, I noticed Nesbo's newest volume was available at Amazon Vine so I requested it.

I wonder now if all of these novels would give me the same reaction.  Reading The Redeemer is like watching a black and white movie.  It's colorless for the most part, the only color being the light turquoise blue of one character's eyes, and of course red blood in the snow.  Hole is a complex alcoholic loner detective whose heart is in the right place.  He defies authority to do what he knows is right, and he has compassion for victims.  I like him even though I find him somewhat depressing.  He figures things out with the help of experience and thought rather than being a super-detective who just seems to know things.  The killer is exactly his opposite.

Perhaps it's because this novel is set in Oslo in the winter, with a little foray into Serbia, but the predominant impression is of freezing cold, darkness, gloom, isolated characters who are irredeemably sad, and people who suffer through no fault of their own.  The Salvation Army as an organization is very much a character as well and some of the characters are members.  Despite the overwhelming sadness, I followed the story greedily as I tried to deduce who did what to whom and why.  I didn't actually know until near the end.

Thankfully about the time I finished the book the sun came out here and the temperature went up into the 70s.  Gosh, it was nice to warm up.  I should read the next one in this series during a heat wave.  And I will read more of them.  The writing, the atmosphere, the characters are all beautifully written.

Recommended reading
Source:  Amazon Vine


  1. I haven't tried Nesbo yet but have heard a lot about his work. It sounds like he had you completely immersed in his world.

  2. This was actually one of my least favorite of his books! :--)

  3. I haven't read any of these books, so I thank you. Do you have Netflix Instant? We just watched three episodes (all that is available)of the very good Jack Taylor. This led me to the books by Ken Bruen. I began with the first, The Guards, and found it quite, quite wonderful. I like the language, the way it is written, the story, and the main character. I've bought the second, and plan to begin tonight. I think you would like them.

  4. Jill, The wonderful thing about books is that there are books for every taste. However, your comment makes me think I need to read more of Nesbo's novels.

    Kathy, I'm glad to hear other readers haven't tried him yet either. I really did get into this one.

    Nan, We used to have Netflix for the DVDs only but we watch so many sports that we just weren't watching movies much so I dropped it. I will keep Ken Bruen's books in mind. Thanks for the tip.

  5. I'm another one who hasn't read any of Nesbo's books, although I have the first one on my Kindle. I really should read it. It's good to know you liked his book so much, even if it's freezing cold and full of darkness and gloom etc. I must say it's that that has been putting me off, although I have a friend who raves about his books!

  6. Hi Barabara,

    It sounds as though the Scandinavian style of writing is a little like 'marmite', you either love it, or hate it!

    On my TBR shelves I have several books by various Scandinavian authors, although I have yet to read a single one of them.

    I generally loan all my mystery/thriller books to my Dad first, as he reads much quicker than I do. My reticence to try one of these books may stem from the fact that Dad has now requested no more books by Scandinavian authors, as he finds them too morose and boring, so just can't get into them at all.

    I really should make the effort to decide on the fate of these books for myself, by reading one to try it!

    I am pleased that you enjoyed this style of writing and thanks for sharing. Have a good weekend,