Mark's Reviews > The Redbreast

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø
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's review
Feb 08, 10

bookshelves: fiction, mystery, thriller
Read in January, 2010

OK, I grant that despite the standard action scene beginning, this book starts slowly.

I also grant that you have to especially suspend your sense of disbelief to accept all the psychological and plotting twists and turns.

Those caveats stated, I nevertheless really liked my first taste of Nesbo. In this novel, protagonist Harry Hole is kicked into a desk job because of an embarrassing faux pas regarding a presidential visit, and while there he stumbles across a mystery that compels him to keep digging -- why has someone smuggled an extremely powerful sniper weapon into the country (and remember, this is Norway, not America, where there might be truckloads of such weapons)

Interwoven into this unfolding plot are flashbacks to World War II, where we get riveting descriptions of the dug-in warfare on the Eastern Front, when Norway was allied with Nazi Germany, and where we later get to see a wartime romance unfold near Vienna. These historical scenes offer some of the best writing in the book and are worth the price of the novel by themselves, although they also set up the eventual explanation for why the gun has been imported and important lives are in danger.

Harry has the same kind of pessimism, iconoclastic behavior and fondness for strong coffee that other Scandinavian detectives seem to favor (at least in novels), so I'll probably visit him again.
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