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The Son

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  43,155 ratings  ·  2,961 reviews
The author of the internationally best-selling Harry Hole series now gives us an electrifying stand-alone novel set amid Oslo's hierarchy of corruption, from which one very unusual young man is about to propel himself into a mission of brutal revenge. 

Sonny Lofthus, in his early thirties, has been in prison for the last dozen years: serving time for crimes he didn't commit
Hardcover, Deckle edge, 407 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Knopf (first published March 19th 2014)
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Kristine Walker He is so compelling for a number of reasons. First, he develops characters that are heroic, yet flawed, and so we come to care about them - we want to…moreHe is so compelling for a number of reasons. First, he develops characters that are heroic, yet flawed, and so we come to care about them - we want to be more involved in the lives of Harry, Rakael, and her son. Secondly, he's a great wordsmith who knows how to place the reader in the story; his descriptions of Oslo are superb. Lastly, his ability to create suspense - whether we know who the killer is, or we are following along with the police- is brilliant too. One of my favourite authors! I agree also with another commenter who stated that 'romance is a significant aspect of Nesbo's work' -so true.
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  43,155 ratings  ·  2,961 reviews

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Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes it's hard to express just how good a book is. Finding just the right ( often used), words and phrases to depict how it made you feel, but anyway, here goes. 'The Son' has gripping, unrelenting action, bent coppers, drug dealers, human traffickers, the dregs of the underworld, and then there's Sonny Lofthus (The Son), who is on a mission to rid the world of some very unpleasant characters, to avenge the death of his police officer father. There's a villain called 'The Twin', and also a ...more
Paul Bryant
It was clear the book had been read up to page 149 – crumbs between the pages, the occasional squashed insect – but after page 150 the rest of the book was pristine, the spine was uncreased.
We got a reasonable set of prints from the cover and ran them though the database of usual suspects. We got an immediate hit – they belonged to Paul Bryant, who we knew from a lot of smart aleck stuff on Goodreads.

We picked him up at 11.30 am on Tuesday hanging around Waterstones. He didn’t give us any trou
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reading Jo Nesbo a reader quickly realizes that Nesbo is always capable of producing a good book, but also has in him the ability to write a great book. Nesbo’s 2000 Harry Hole book The Redbreast is an example of Nesbo’s writing at its best.

His 2014 novel The Son is another example.

First of all, this is NOT a Harry Hole novel. The Son is a stand-alone book that centers around protagonist Sonny Lofthus, a convicted murderer and heroin addict. We find Sonny in prison and the reader quickly learns
Aug 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: steroid addicts
1.5 "hysterical, predictable, tedious" stars !!

Second Most Disappointing Read of 2019 Award

Last year I read Nesbo's Macbeth and although very disappointed I was also fairly entertained and garnered a 2.5 star rating from me. I felt that perhaps I might be more interested and impressed in his own original work rather than an adaptation of a classic. I was wrong.

I picked this up as I needed some respite from killer clowns (It), a biography on Alexander the Great and some pop anthropology. I cra
James Thane
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a very good stand-alone novel from Jo Nesbo, author of the series featuring the brilliant Norwegian homicide detective, Harry Hole. This psychological thriller features two protagonists. The first is a young man named Sonny Loftus. Sonny's father was exposed as a corrupt cop and took his own life. Completely destroyed by the loss of the father he adored and disillusioned by the revelations about the man, Sonny turns to drugs. Now in his middle-thirties, Sonny has spend half his life in p ...more
David Putnam
Jan 29, 2021 rated it liked it
Good read. I have openly admitted in the past that I unfairly, at times, compare one work of a great author against one of his/hers, others. Had I read The Son cold I’m sure I would’ve rated this book four stars instead of three but reading this one right after the stellar, Kingdom by the same author clouded my opinion. (Also, I absolutely loved Headhunters by Nesbo)
The Son is a solid crime novel with a good story. There are multiple points of view that kept me at arms-length and from dropping i
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jo Nesbø is a pure gold phenomenon. An economist, active musician/songwriter/vocalist, ex-footballer (retired due to injury); he confessed in 2013 to be behind the pen-name of Tom Johansen; novelist of a successful children's book series featuring Fart Powders and a wildly popular, mad-cap Doctor Proctor; he's considered the top Norwegian crime fiction author globally, and now with his new anti-hero, there is five-star splendor in The Son...

30 year old Sonny Lofthus is kept in a perpetual catato
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have read every book in Jo Nesbø's Harry Hole series and enjoyed them all so I decided it was time to try his stand alone books too. It was a good decision.
The Son is like a Harry book but with other police instead of Harry. Except of course the main character is an anti hero who you spend most of the book rooting for. If Harry had been there then Sonny would not have stood a chance:)
There were so many twists and turns in this story that I almost lost track of what was happening but enjoyed th
Thomas Edmund
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I confess beginning The Son with a healthy degree of skepticism, I was continually trying to second guess the rationale for writing a police thriller sans everyone's favorite detective. Suffice to say I think my question was answered by the end of the novel (you won't be disappointed to pick up this book) While there are some similarities with the classic series, such as a flawed detective hero, Kripos fighting with the local crime squad (I guess its no different from the cliche of FBI taking ov ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
****4.5 Stars**** This is an excellent tale of revenge, superbly written and very enjoyable. I usually avoid mysteries with too many gory murder details; but, this one was a satisfying and dark tale of the struggle between good and evil. The protagonist in the audio version of this story was so soft-spoken and his enemies so reptilian that his unique ways of dispatching each malevolent character seemed totally justified. It’s a stand-alone novel, which I prefer rather than a series. I was engros ...more
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it

Norwegian Sonny Lofthus, a thirty-year-old heroin addict convicted of two murders, has been in Staten Prison for twelve years.

Sonny was a promising athlete as as teen but lost his way after his police officer father, Ab Lofthus, committed suicide amid a corruption scandal involving a police mole. Sonny, in despair and needing heroin, has been an 'official scapegoat' for years, taking the blame for crimes committed by other people. Just recently Sonny was allowed out on day release just when a w
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, scandinavian
I finally read my first Jo Nesbo book and I mostly enjoyed it.

I found the storyline of The Son gripping and the characters likeable. I always enjoy stories set in prisons and even more if there is a breakout and I root for the runaway. Despite the large number of characters featured in the book, I had no problem remembering them as they were all easily distinguishable. One thing I was slightly disappointed with was some of the reveals at the end that concerned some of the characters I got to li
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Righteous Novel of Revenge
With "Noisy Mating Sounds" and "Many Loud Mating Noises"

Mating Dance of American Southern Redneck Male

A righteous novel of revenge that races toward a feverish conclusion, by startling bends, dazzling drops, and some jerks and jolts past a few stun grenades. The story is a bit far-fetched though and ties together too tidily to have the terrific ring of realism that surrounds the great thrillers.

Hilarious, unrealistic translation from Norwegian to English: a crimin
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it

3.5 stars rated up!

This was my first experience with a Jo Nesbø novel and it definitely won't be the last!

I won't lie, this book has been on my TBR for years and I have no idea why I neglected to pick it up. The synopsis pulled me in back when I first came across this novel and I knew it would be something that I would most likely love, but for whatever reason, I just never felt like picking it up until recently.

I don't think I have ever read a book that took place in Norway before and with Osl
Em Lost In Books
Story is pretty much as the blurb tell us. Sonny is in jail from last 12 years for accepting crimes which he has not committed but easy drugs and peaceful place is all that he wants. And these confessions are bringing him those. Things changed when a fellow prisoner tells him that his father was killed and not committed suicide, Sonny decides to come out and avenge his father.

First the good things. This is a stand alone book and a great story told in third person about Drug/Trafficking Lords vs
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
"The Son" is a standalone thriller written by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo and is a compelling, gripping and a highly enjoyable one too.
The story flowed so well, it could have been a movie playing out in front of me, the characters were so vivid in my imagination that I saw each one clearly. I really felt that the author truly wanted the reader to feel completely engaged with the plot so good was the writing and execution of the story.
This is a quite a chunky book for your money too but because it'
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of crime fiction
Recommended to TL by: GoodReads Giveaway
First read May 8th-14th, 2014
Re-read: April 2016
*upgraded my rating from four to five stars, loved even it more the second time*

Next stop on the brief re-read kick of April :)

This was my first book I ever won off goodreads... you should have seen my face haha and forwarding the email to all my friends, I remember counting the days till the book arrived in the mailbox.

Still the same feelings about this that I had before, just a gorgeous and well crafted story. It was also kind of new to me in som
Mike (the Paladin)
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
This is the second book I've read by Jo Nesbo and I frankly couldn't get into the first. I was "prevailed upon" by a Nesbo fan to try a different book, maybe not of the series Nesbo is well known for.

I've got to say that this is an excellent book. Time and time again the plot seems to be heading one way only to shift and surprise me. The characters while not all detailed are well done and throughout that book we will get to know Sonny better and better.

I even got to like him. Which can seem a bi
I am now a Jo Nesbo fan. His fast-paced stand-alone thriller has a terrific father-son revenge plot. The main characters are quite likable even when not the good guys. 30 year old, former addict Sonny Loftus, has a wonderfully calm voice when listening to the audiobook. I really enjoyed the interaction between Sonny, who is out to seek revenge for his father's death, and Simon Kefas, the veteran homicide detective assigned to the case.

Prior to The Son I have only read the first of the Harry Hol
Gripping. That is the word that I would use to describe this offering by Jo Nesbø. It was a difficult book to put down—the urge to read “just one more chapter” was strong.

I think it is safe to say that if you enjoy Nesbø’s writing and/or other Nordic noir fiction, you will enjoy The Son. There is unrelenting action, plenty of interesting clues to keep your brain busy, a little romance—just to confuse you a bit, and lots & lots of bad guys, plus several characters who inhabit the gray zone of bei
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Book Review

The Son, the latest stand-alone by Jo Nesbo is about a passionate, festering and pointless instinct. Or to put it differently: it's about revenge. And who better to deliver revenge than our favorite deviant writer, Jo Nesbo who says of the emotion"By avenging a misdeed we don’t regain what we have lost, but we ensure that misdeeds have consequences that we hope can be a deterrent in the abstract future: Your adversary knows that attacking your offspring has a cost, even if the attack
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jo Nesbo, author of the incredibly successful Harry Hole series, has written a fast paced and exciting stand alone thriller in “The Son.” Sonny Lofthus is a model prisoner at an Oslo jail. In prison for twelve years since the age of eighteen (for crimes he did not commit, but confesses to in return for a constant supply of drugs) , he is a mysterious and charismatic figure. Seen as a healer and a confessor, the other prisoners go to him for absolution of their sins. As a child, Sonny idolised hi ...more
3.5 Stars

Whenever I read a Jo Nesbo book, it has some great, thrilling parts and some interesting plot twists. But, it also has a lot of slower parts and places where I am confused about what exactly is going on. The Son was not an exception.

Each little anecdote about "The Son" and the details of (view spoiler) was great. But, the overall plot about the (view spoiler) was kind of convoluted, confusing, and sometime

Well...Now I know:

There ARE corrupted cops in Norway and...mafia!

I mean, if it were a novel set in Italy, Russia, Latin America or even USA, no one would have been surprised. But Norway?! REALLY?!


They are the worst . Believe me. Or at least I blindly ate up the whole story, and I am NOT GOING to question ANYTHING here. I sat on the edge of my seat and went almost crazy because the tension in many situations was UNBEARABLE. I got more grey hair, that's for sure.

But what a great s
switterbug (Betsey)
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Although I own a slew of Nesbo’s Harry Hole books, I never did know where to begin. So, when this stand-alone was offered, I decided to give it a go. Therefore, I can’t compare this to any book other than related thrillers or mysteries. It held its own, and I ripped through the pages in record time (just a few days), as I was riveted to the well-paced narrative. Nesbo did not squander character for plot; the main players were well-rounded and sympathetic.

Sonny Lofthus, now thirty, has been in pr
I have a new favorite author: Jo Nesbo. (No doubt kudos are owed to the unsung translator, too.) The Son is one of the best police procedural/action/crime novels I've read in the last 12 months. The characters, even minor ones, ring true, with the single exception (to me) of Kari Adel, who seemed to exist solely as a conduit for communicating facts to the reader which wouldn't have been in the possession of one of the other main characters - but this is a minor criticism. Plot pacing, complexity ...more
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kevin by: Maureen
Father kills himself and after finding some long hidden truths the son goes after everyone who caused the suicide to happen. I found myself cheering on the son and hoping he didn't get caught.
Corrupt police, corrupt prison officials, drug dealers,'s all here! Interesting writing with some excellent twists and turns in the storyline. I will definitely read Nesbo again!
David Staniforth
After reading and thoroughly enjoying Nesbo’s Headhunters, I dived into this one: my second Nesbo book. I almost gave up on it at chapter ten. Too many characters introduced too quickly, and too much chopping and changing from one scenario to another. Something, however, made me give it a little more time and by chapter 13 I was hooked to the point where I struggled to put it down. The characters just grew on me, I guess, and I needed to see where it was going to end up.

You almost lost me, Mr Ne
Joey Woolfardis
Sonny Lofthus is in prison, listening in silence to the confessions of his prisonmates who are convinced he can grant them forgiveness for their sins. But one of them confesses something a little too close to Sonny's heart and all of sudden Sonny needs to get out; get out of prison, get out of a false confession he's been forced to make, get out of this junkie life he's been living...

Ahhh, Nesbo. You have redeemed yourself in my eyes. His two shorter, first-person novels, Headhunters and Blood O
Lewis Weinstein
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If I have ever read a better detective story, I can't think of it. Nesbo controls a complex plot and numerous characters in a compelling way that never leaves the reader confused. The "detecting" is outstanding.

But "THE SON" is much more. The emotional connections to the characters are beautifully done and quite moving, and there are some significant surprises.

That's all I can say without revealing more of the plot than I think I should. 5*****
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Aussie Lovers of...: November 2018-Final Thoughts-**Spoilers Allowed**- The Son 4 24 Dec 04, 2018 05:27PM  
Aussie Lovers of...: November 2018 -First Thoughts-**No Spoilers**- The Son 11 19 Nov 26, 2018 01:50AM  
judging a book by the cover... and it is good. 4 49 Jul 14, 2017 10:28AM  
THE SON by Jo Nesbo 34 146 Dec 29, 2014 01:14AM  
Exciting!! 2 36 Jun 26, 2014 12:55PM  

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Jo Nesbø is a bestselling Norwegian author and musician. He was born in Oslo and grew up in Molde. Nesbø graduated from the Norwegian School of Economics with a degree in economics. Nesbø is primarily famous for his crime novels about Detective Harry Hole, but he is also the main vocals and songwriter for the Norwegian rock band Di Derre. In 2007 Nesbø also released his first children's book, Dokt ...more

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