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.
Source: Amazon Vine