Jo Nesbo - Shastrix Books

Jo Nesbo

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Knife

Knife

Jo Nesbo

29th July 2019

Book one-too-many in the Harry Hole series sees the crime hit a bit too close to home, and… well actually, I didn’t finish it.

The Hole novels have always been on the dark end of the popular crime spectrum, featuring quite graphic scenes, and a generally depressing alcoholic detective. But this one really goes too far for me.

I don’t know if it’s me, and I’ve aged or become more sensitive - or whether it’s the book and Nesbo has got darker over time - but this was definitely too far for me, and I found myself hating reading it, and unable to consume more than about three pages in a sitting. So I decided to abandon book and find something the I’d actually enjoy.

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Macbeth

Macbeth

Jo Nesbo

26th May 2018

I bought this book under the false belief that it was a new story in the Harry Hole series. It certainly is not. Having discovered that it is actually a relatively-modern retelling of the Shakespeare classic, I thought that sounded interesting, and proceeded to read.

The setting is vaguely defined as somewhere in Scotland, sometime in the recent past - in a slightly lawless city with little contact with the outside world, ruled over by rival drug gangs, the police and mayor pretty interchangeably. Macbeth himself is cast as a senior police officer with an ambitious lady friend and a dubious array of acquaintances.

It just didn’t work for me. I couldn’t get into the characters - they felt two dimensional and false, and the setting’s darkness and vagueness didn’t draw me in. It was weird vaguely knowing what was coming (because of course I am familiar with the original) - and I imagine the enjoyment is intended to come from learning how Nesbo has re-imagined it, but I didn’t experience this.

I’m afraid to say I gave up halfway - it wasn’t inspiring me, and I was choosing not to read at allover reading it.

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The Thirst

The Thirst

Jo Nesbo

16th July 2017

Jo Nesbo returns to his regular character, former detective Harry Hole, in this eleventh adventure. When a new and shocking series of murders hits Oslo, Harry struggles not to be drawn back into his old life.

And they really are quite surprisingly brutal murders in this one, more so than I’d come to expect from this series. Otherwise though, and especially once the plot gets moving, it’s very similar to what’s come before it, being a mix of criminal investigation story and dive into the psychology of the main character.

I think ultimately I was a bit disappointed - I’m not sure there needed to be another Harry Hole novel, and I don’t feel like it added much to the series that the earlier books didn’t have. I didn’t appreciate the more brutal violence (maybe I’m getting old) and while it’s not a bad book, it just feels like retreading old ground.

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The Son

The Son

Jo Nesbo

18th November 2016

This standalone novel from Jo Nesbo introduces us to 'The Son', who has become a religious figure in his prison, relieving the other prisoners of their guilt through confession, as well as involving himself in various other goings on. Until one day he receives some surprising news, and immediately things change.

This is a fantastic story which I really loved. The narrative gripped me throughout as I was desperate to start pulling together all the threads on my mind and learn what everything meant. Despite that I was still surprised by how things worked out.

One of the best things about this story is the way that the narrative is presented. Throughout the story we are aligned with many different characters, some only for moments, and it's through their eyes that we see the whole story - at no point are we aligned with the Som himself. I thought this was a great way to tell the tale while leaving some things a mystery, and it really goes to show off the creativity of Nesbo's mind.

I found myself completely hooked on this story and would strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery or thriller. Have fun.

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Headhunters

Headhunters

Jo Nesbo

25th March 2016

I've put off reading his standalone Jo Nesbo novel for some time. However having finished the Harry Hole series and being up to date on his latest releases it came to picking this up. I really enjoyed it.

Headhunters is the tail of a recruitment specialist who is known for always getting the right person for the job. But there's more to him than that, things that not even his wife knows about. It's an excellent story about an interesting character that goes from a fascinating look at a mans life to a hilarious adventure that keeps the reader gripped.

Okay, so there was a point at which I felt like the author had spoiled the good thing he had going with one of the twists, and I felt that the story was moving dramatically from something I'd been loving into a different type of story, but then everything became a step more awesome and I got sucked right back in.

Nesbo has a real talent for creating characters with shades of grey that really engage and deAw you in as a reader, and I'd have no qualms about recommending this book.

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Buy book: UK
Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun

Jo Nesbo

4th December 2015

Midnight Sun is the second book in the loose new series by Jo Nesbo, the Norwegian author of the Harry Hole novels. It shares only a slim connection with its predecessor, Blood on Snow, and isn't really a sequel. The story is set in the seventies at the most northern tip of Norway, where twentieth century civilization has let to reach, and where Ulf is hiding out from folk who are out to get him.

It's an interesting short novel, with a straightforward yet captivating character-driven plot presented in the first person in a combination of recent narration and personal flashback. As we learn more and more about the main character, Nesbo plays with the reader's emotions and you're never quite sure what to think about Ulf and which way things are going to go next.

The characters are rich and varied - a real mix of different types who grow in depth and interest with each detail we learn about them, and Knit in particular I found to be an entertaining addition to the narrative.

Nesbo's style really lends itself well to this shorter format of story - I finished in just three sittings - and despite it not being the direct sequel I had half expected I found it an enjoyable read.

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Buy book: UKBuy ebook: UK
Blood on Snow

Blood on Snow

Jo Nesbo

25th May 2015

Blood on Snow is something new from Jo Nesbo, famous for the Harry Hole series of Oslo-based crime novels (and touted as 'the next Steig Larsson' though I don't see the similarity). It's a first-person tale, which I found surprisingly engaging, telling the story of a contract assassin in a modern-day city.

The point of view character is used really well to tell an interesting quick read - and it is quick; a much smaller novel than I was expecting in terms of page count, and with particularly large text. That shouldn't put you off though, because it's a really good story.

And as a bonus, there's a sequel coming in just a few months that I hope will continue the style and experience of this book, even though it's hard to guess where the story could go next.

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Buy book: UKUSBuy ebook: UK

Other reviewed books

Police
Phantom
Cockroaches
The Leopard
The Snowman
The Redeemer
The Bat
The Devil's Star
Nemesis
The Redbreast

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