Genevieve's Reviews > The Redbreast

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø
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Mar 08, 12


My first introduction to Jo Nesbo’s writing was in the stand alone book, Headhunters. After that I hesitated to read another one of his books as Headhunters was engrossing but pretty gruesome. But the story was sticking with me and I took that as a good sign. I’m so glad I picked up another one of Nesbo’s books.

Harry Hole has an awful name and an undeniable appeal. Even though it takes a while for this book to get into the characterization of Harry Hole, by the end Nesbo has developed a protagonist that feels real and interests the reader. Outside of Harry the rest of the cast of characters are equally compelling and do exactly what the plot needs them to (you hate them, you feel sympathy for them, you laugh at them). The dialogue for Harry is witty and entertaining, especially between him and Ellen.

The plot is clever and full of surprises; Nesbo is very good at planting little details that return later on. I was still guessing the outcome right up to the end.

As for the comparison between this and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I do see it. There’s lots of coffee, a troubled but likable anti-hero, and lots of names that look like Bjorletinoro. But overall it feels a little different. I think I might like Nesbo’s writing style better. Nesbo has a knack for describing facial expressions and personal mannerisms that really draw a clear picture and let the reader get into the story. Nesbo also doesn’t rely on strings of realisms to move the plot forward. For example, there are passages in Larsson’s books that read like “she went to the Ikea; she ordered a bed and a coffee table, at H&M she bought a stack of sweaters, she got a Billy’s Pan Pizza…” Nesbo’s details feel more important and deliberate—for instance the mention of split personality disorder in the first chapter.

This is a fantastic mystery novel and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for an exciting, engrossing read. There are several more Harry Hole novels and I’ve already started the second one (the second one that’s been translated to English anyway.)
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