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Harry Hole #3

The Redbreast

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The Redbreast is a fabulous introduction to Nesbø’s tough-as-nails series protagonist, Oslo police detective Harry Hole. A brilliant and epic novel, breathtaking in its scope and design—winner of The Glass Key for best Nordic crime novel and selected as the best Norwegian crime novel ever written by members of Norway’s book clubs—The Redbreast is a chilling tale of murder and betrayal that ranges from the battlefields of World War Two to the streets of modern-day Oslo. Follow Hole as he races to stop a killer and disarm a ticking time-bomb from his nation’s shadowy past. Vogue magazine says that “nobody can delve into the dark, twisted mind of a murderer better than a Scandinavian thriller writer”…and nobody does it better than Jo Nesbø! James Patterson fans should also take note.

519 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2000

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About the author

Jo Nesbø

156 books20.3k followers
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, Doktor Proktors Prompepulver.

* Harry Hole
* Doktor Proktor

For exclusive content about Jo Nesbø and his books, register for the official fan newsletter: https://jonesbo.com/newsletter/

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,854 reviews
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
March 11, 2019
Jo Nesbo ups his game. Way up.

The third of Nesbo’s Harry Hole novels, this one published in 2000. In my review of the second novel, Cockroaches, I opined that as good a writer as Nesbo is, his best work lay in the future.

Every now and then I am right about something and this time I was, The Redbreast is head and shoulders above his previous two books. This is inspired, confident and mature – almost as if he were shrugging off his Journeyman title and moving towards the ranks of master writer.

And The Bat and Cockroaches were both good books, both introducing a charismatic protagonist and told a good story, making a reader want to come back.

The Redbreast is even better.

Set in and around Oslo we find Harry Hole stumbling and bumbling through his career. Nesbo has drawn Hole as a very real hero, with bumps and ugly problems (which is somewhat cliché as this kind of lead character seems prerequisite for a crime novel – the tough but tortured loner cop out on the edge, driven by his own demons and suffering under bureaucratic and legal obstacles that keep him from doing what is right) but he has also created in Hole a very likable and approachable protagonist, a lead actor whom the reader can get behind.

In John Steinbeck’s wonderful 1942 short work The Moon Is Down, we are introduced to the Nazi invasion of Norway and are given to the idea of a united Norwegian front against the invaders. Nesbo – and history – tells a different, more complicated story. Some Norwegians joined the Germans, fought alongside the Nazis in bright green uniforms, were cheered as keeping out the invading Russians. It is in this more complex field of competing loyalties that Nesbo illuminates and enthralls.

Nesbo tells The Redbreast in two alternating story lines, Hole’s present day investigations into neo-Nazi murders, and a second narrative from 1944 along the Eastern German front, in the trenches surrounding Leningrad. Nesbo weaves these two narratives into a plot structure that slowly grows together and draws in several interconnected sub-plots, blending group dynamics and character interactions into a denouement that is profound and mesmerizing.

A very, very good book and highly recommended.

** 2019 addendum - I've read several of these and still believe The Redbreast is his best.

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Profile Image for Harry.
319 reviews402 followers
April 7, 2013
Here's the thing about the recent popularity of Scandinavian writers and if you're a Nordic Thriller aficionado you couldn't care less about the distinction: the novels are depressed, somber, filled with ennui, a lack of humor, with flawed characters if not suffused with a strong tendency towards determinism; in short, whether you're reading Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, or Jo Nesbo you are likely reading Literary Naturalism. If you live in Scandinavia you might consider this par for the course, ennui is imbued into the populace (as it is also reflected in the works of prominent Russian writers - Anna Karenina comes to mind). Just as we continue to struggle here in the States with our history of slavery and the resulting racial tensions, so do Europe and Scandinavia struggle in coming to terms with Nazism and the Bolshevik revolution (More than a few reviewers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Nordic writers' pre-occupation with Nazism). And yet, the rise in popularity of these Nordic thrillers here in the States is puzzling given our strong tendency towards literary Romanticism. We like for the good guys to win, we like emotion, we like our heroes (as opposed to anti-heroes) we enjoy free will, and in general consider ourselves in control of our own lives.

Having said that: there is excellence in Literary Naturalism. The above doesn't mean we can't enjoy a well written novel, an intriguing mystery, a flawed anti-hero, a well crafted story written in the style of literary Naturalism. It doesn't mean we can't enjoy the works of Jo Nesbo. I did.

In Jo Nesbo's words: "I come from a family of readers and story tellers." With a librarian mother and a father who sat before the fire and told the kids stories they wanted to hear (each repetition bringing something new to the tale) Jo's foundation was carved in stone. Again, in his own life story we sense the determinism filtering into his life: he wanted to be a soccer star but an injury put a quick stop to this; with a dreadful feeling of fate guiding his life he entered the military in the hopes something would happen (what happened was "Self-Discipline"); thinking he might want to be an economist he entered the world of finance which he abandoned as well; someone told him he could play guitar (he only knew 3 chords) and he formed several bands, Di Derre being the most successful; and finally he wrote (on an airplane to begin with) and he never stopped.

The Redbreast is Jo Nesbo's third Harry Hole (pronounced "Hooleh") novel (the other two not being translated for a US audience as of yet) and is Nesbo's claim to fame. So, this is where we start. Yes, the books should be read in order! For an American audience, Harry Hole can be likened to Harry Bosch; he defies authority, is an outcast within his own organization, is best left alone to do this job (his office is at the end of the hall), is more of an anti-hero than a hero, has trouble with his romantic life, lives alone, has a fierce propensity for justice (as opposed to the Law) and once let loose is like a pit bull with a bone fastened to his jaws. But perhaps the most compelling reason why Harry Hole has such a following is Nesbo's devastating characterization of what exactly comprises a flawed hero. Upon reflection, American hard-boiled writers don't come close to accomplishing the same. This is not too dissimilar to the way Nesbo sees himself.

Bjarne Møller, my former boss, says people like me always choose the line of most resistance. It's in what he calls our 'accursed nature'. That's why we always end up on our own. I don't know. I like being alone. Perhaps I have grown to like my self-image of being a loner, too....I think you have to find something about yourself that you like in order to survive. Some people say being alone is unsociable and selfish. But you're independent and you don't drag others down with you, if that's the way you're heading. Many people are afraid of being alone. But it made me feel strong, free and invulnerable.

And...ah, yes, there is the matter of plot! So how do we justify this decided streak of fate/determinism within the novels with Nesbo's apparent mastery of plot? The two seemingly ought to contradict each other. On the one hand, we have Nesbo's almost Shakespearean tendency to cast characters as marionette puppets on the strings of fate (the very opposite of plot), while on the other hand we are riveted by the very complex actions and reactions made by Harry Hole during his investigations (Nesbo is a master at not adding anything superfluous to his novels). Perhaps it is an unholy marriage between the two that transfixes us. His plots are intricate, very complex, the seemingly irrelevant details exposed throughout the novels become larger than life as the story closes, and they can weave through time, forward and backward, as the story unfolds. But, with a little alacrity, we can remember we are reading Naturalism and so it isn't always Harry Hole making events happen, but rather the reverse, it is the events that move Harry Hole. Again, it is a matter of preference but in Nesbo's case it is done with utter expertise as a writer.

The exposition/setting is often Scandinavia: the weather is somber, the descriptions grey-like, the people absorbed with alcohol and withdrawn, if not bundled and sequestered. And yet, the dialogue and scenes are full of references to other millieus', continents, languages, and cleverly hidden philosophical references that speak to a widely cultured audience (as opposed to American writers of this genre who rarely venture beyond the borders of their land, if not their own State). And as with plot, there are no superfluous details. Everything in the novels matters and Nesbo does not forget even the tiniest detail to which he's made a seemingly furtive reference earlier on in the story. This is one of the biggest reasons why I love Jo Nesbo.

I thoroughly enjoyed Jo Nesbo's The Redbreast and am currently reading the remaining Harry Hole novels. I remain intrigued by events left undone (such as the fate of our undiscovered villain in this and other stories). You'll just have to read the novels to find out more.

Oh, yes, as with other series this review is likely to be repeated for all (unless there is a drastic divergence from what I have written here). So, if you've read this review, you've read 'em all. Enjoy!

Profile Image for Bibliophile.
760 reviews41 followers
October 8, 2010
The Redbreast is actually the third of Jo Nesbø's detective novels featuring the alcoholic Harry Hole (who is on the wagon for most of this particular novel), but alas, it was the first to be translated into English. Nevertheless, it works fine as a standalone, though the impact of one particular event might have been greater had we been able to read about the character in the two previous novels. Anyway ... back to The Redbreast, which involves Nazis, both Old Skoole and Neo-, a couple of touching love stories, mistaken identities, corrupt police officers and a marvelous and beautifully written evocation of wartime on the Russian Front during World War II. Though perhaps there are occasions where Nesbø relies a tiny bit too much on coincidence, this is a fantastic mystery - I was kept guessing until the very last page and I had to read this lengthy novel quite compulsively until I finished it. (One particular mystery that we, the readers, know the answer to is not actually solved in the book, so clearly it will be a theme for later.)

I seem to read a great deal of Scandinavian crime fiction, but The Redbreast really stood out for me in terms of plot, character development, and writing style. I know I am reading everything in translation, but Nesbø's writing seems far, far more elegant and crisp than Henning Mankell's for example, and it is miles away from the total infelicity of Stieg Larsson's efforts which I always felt would have been best served by some seriously tough love in the editing department. Indeed, because there was a similar sort of Nazi subplot in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I couldn't help but mentally compare that novel to this one, and yet again, I cannot fathom the undeserved popularity of the Larsson books compared to something like this which is actually well-written, has believable characters and a plot that makes sense. Nesbø manages to stay away from the tedious accumulation of unnecessary detail of which both Larsson and Mankell are guilty; all of his characters seem like real people, rather than random collections of cliched plot devices, and wonder of wonders, Harry doesn't actually solve one of the biggest mysteries of the story. Indeed, he only solves the main plot because the criminal wants him to, as opposed to all those amateur detectives who solve cases that have baffled the professionals for years - yes, I AM looking at you Mikael Blomqvist.

In short, highly highly recommended for everyone who likes their mysteries Nordic, their characters fascinating and their writing excellent!
Profile Image for Arah-Lynda.
337 reviews533 followers
May 27, 2013
According to goodreads alone, 7800 people gave this on average, 3.8 stars.

I should have liked this, but to be honest it was a struggle for me to even finish.

The story seems fractured, moving as it does, between two different time periods, the latter days of WWII and present day Oslo.

Nesbo writes with the kind of authority that assumes every reader would be familiar with the history of Norway and why Norwegians were mixed up with the Germans on the Eastern Front.

I kept looking, lo these many pages, for a character that I liked or didn’t, for that matter. I was looking for someone to connect to. I finally found one in Ellen, but sigh we see and hear way too little of her.

For me it all got confusing.

It gave me a headache.

I put it down.

And read another book (a good one)

I picked this back up.

The last 100 pages were good and I read them quite quickly.

Still too little, too late.

More bitter than sweet.
Profile Image for Federico DN.
400 reviews813 followers
July 17, 2023
Very very interesting.

Some empty shells of a very powerful weapon on a rural zone are the only leads available. Harry Hole, the controversial and problematic detective from Oslo, will be part of a hunt for an elusive sniper. A shadow from history with a very dark past, from WWII to the present day. And when the corpses start piling up, the search turns into a frenetic pursue to stop the assassin from killing his final target.

This was very very good! A highly entertaining sequel, quite emotional and enthralling. Perfectly thrilling and with a touch of romance. One of the best of Nesbo, that I'll keep in my memory with #1 and #7. The coming and going between the different timelines was well spaced and executed. A bit lengthy, like most of his works, but well worth the time. I really enjoyed the introduction of Rakel and Oleg and everything they brought to the series. . This installment also marks the beginnings of the rivalry with Ton Waaler. A satisfactory resolution, and tremendously gripping ending that had me glued to my seat until the very last second. Recommendable.

[2000] [519p] [Crime] [Recommendable]

★★★★☆ 1. The Bat
★★★☆☆ 2. Cockroaches
★★★★☆ 3. The Redbreast
★★☆☆☆ 4. Nemesis
★★★☆☆ 5. The Devil's Star
????????? 6. The Redeemer
★★★★★ 7. The Snowman


Muy muy interesante.

Unos cartuchos vacíos de un arma muy potente en una zona rural son las únicas pistas disponibles. Harry Hole, el controvertido y problemático detective de Oslo, se verá en la caza de un elusivo francotirador. Una sombra de la historia con un pasado muy oscuro, desde la segunda guerra mundial hasta el día presente. Y cuando los cadáveres empiezan a apilarse, la búsqueda se vuelve una persecución frenética para evitar que el asesino alcance su último objetivo.

¡Esto estuvo muy muy bien! Una altamente entretenida secuela, muy emotiva y atrapante. Perfectamente suspensiva y con un toque de romance. Una de las mejores de Nesbo, que guardaré en mi memoria junto con #1 y #7. El ir y venir entre las diferentes líneas temporales estuvo bien espaciada y ejecutada. Algo extensa, como la mayoría de sus obras, pero que valen el tiempo. Realmente disfruté la introducción de Rakel y Oleg y todo lo que trajeron a la serie. . Esta entrega marca también el principio de la rivalidad con Ton Waaler. Una resolución satisfactoria y un final tremendamente emocionante que me hizo agarrar del asiento hasta el último segundo. Recomendable.

[2000] [519p] [Crimen] [Recomendable]

Profile Image for James Thane.
Author 9 books6,944 followers
September 8, 2012
Jo Nesbo may be the best Scandinavian crime fiction writer going these days. He's created in Detective Harry Hole an interesting, deeply flawed protagonist who may remind American readers of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch.

The Redbreast is the third novel to feature Hole, and it's a complex story that moves back and forth between the Second World War and the turn of the Twenty-First Century. In the earlier action, a group of Norwegian soldiers are fighting for Hitler's Germany on the Eastern Front. The tide of the war is turning against them; casualties are increasing, and the ties among the men are tested severely. One of the Norwegian soldiers winds up wounded in a hospital where he falls in love with a beautiful nurse and begins a romance that will reverberate through the next fifty years.

In the present day (actually, 1999 and 2000) Oslo Detective Inspector Harry Hole makes a tragic, if unavoidable mistake. For this, and to save the government from being embarrassed, he is "promoted" into the Security Service. He becomes involved in an investigation of the neo-Nazis who are active in Oslo. One of them, a thug named Sverre Olsen, has been recently acquitted of a brutal assault on a small technicality, but clearly other crimes are in the works.

Along the way, Harry discovers that someone in Oslo has recently come into possession of a very rare and extremely expensive sniper's rifle. He has no idea who the owner is, or what he intends to do with the rifle. Harry only knows that this can't possibly be good.

As Hole tries to track down the rifle and figure out what the neo-Nazis are up to, the two story lines collide, leading to a great climax. The story is very well-told; the characters are fully developed, and the suspense is virtually non-stop. Any reader of crime fiction is almost certain to enjoy it.

A word of caution: If you are interested in reading any of Nesbo's Harry Hole books, it is critically important that you read them in order. There are developments in each of the books, particularly regarding the characters, that will spoil a good deal of the suspense if you read the books out of sequence.

Profile Image for Marty.
341 reviews5 followers
June 11, 2013
I'm quitting after four chapters. There have been four different scenes, a couple dozen characters and at least two dates (out of time sequentially). I HATE books written this way. Hate them. I already don't remember the characters. I don't remember which character goes with which scene. I don't want the first chapter preview of things yet to come. Mysteries are supposed to have confusing plots, not generate confusion by having the chapters in random order. I'm done with books written this way and authors who write this way.

I do not read as an exercise to see how many scenes and minor characters my short term memory can hold. I do not read to see if my brain can sort chapters presented out of sequence. I want a character I can identify with. I operate in a universe in which time moves monotonically forward.
Profile Image for فهد الفهد.
Author 1 book4,835 followers
September 14, 2014
تصفية الخونة

لدي عادة في السفر – تزعج زوجتي جدا ً -، وهي أن أزور أي مكتبة تصادفني، ولو كانت ركناً في مطار حقير، أتصفح العناوين الإنجليزية التي تكون نادرة أحياناً، اكتشف الأغلفة، أقلب الأوراق، حتى تجرني زوجتي بعيداً باتجاه الطائرة أو القطار المنتظر.

وكان جو نيسبو أحد أكثر الأسماء التي صادفتها في جولاتي هذه، رواياته البوليسية الكثيرة في كل مكان، وبكل اللغات، هذا الإصرار الذي يطاردني به نيسبو، جعلني أقرر الحصول على أحد كتبه حالما أعود للوطن.

ومن المحزن أن قراءة الروايات البوليسية تفسد البرستيج الافتراضي، وكأنما ليس للقارئ الحق في الاستمتاع بوجبة سريعة من حين إلى آخر، وسط كل هذه الوجبات الدسمة التي يتناولها، شيء يغير مذاق الكتب الثقيلة، هذا غير أن أشهر الروائيين العالميين وأكثرهم احتراماً، تطفلوا ويتطفلون في أشهر أعمالهم على فن الرواية البوليسية كما فعل ايكو وباموق وأوستر.

ربما كثرة الهراء الذي يندرج تحت مسمى رواية بوليسية هو ما يجعل هذا النوع من الرواية يعاني كثيراً، ويجعلنا نأخذه بجدية أقل، نسيبو وقد قرأت له عملاً وحيداً، ولا أدري هل ستقربني الأعمال القادمة التي سأقرأها له منه أكثر!! هو روائي بوليسي جيد، لديه بطل شبه ثابت في سلسلة من الروايات المنفصلة والمرتبطة معاً، فالمحقق النرويجي هاري هول، يخوض قضايا مختلفة، ولكنها مترابطة من خلاله هو، من خلال ذكرياته وشخصيته، عندما قرأت هذه الرواية وهي الثالثة في السلسلة – فالجزئين الأولين لم يترجما للأسف – كانت هناك إشارات خفيفة للعملية السابقة التي خاضها هول في بانكوك، كما أن بعض الأحداث تركت في هذا ا��كتاب للروايات القادمة.

يلاحق هول في هذا الكتاب رجلاً غامضاً، عجوز قاتل على الجبهة الشرقية في الحرب العالمية الثانية، نرويجي قاتل مع الألمان ضد الروس، هكذا اعتبر هو وكل رفقائه خونة حالما انتهت الحرب، ينقلنا نيسبو زمنياً بين خنادق لينينغراد زمن الحرب، وبين بداية الألفية، بندقية ماركلين حصل عليها العجوز لينفذ عملية اغتيال، هكذا تمضي بنا الأحداث، قد نشعر بمبالغات في جوانب معينة، ولكن لنسيبو أسلوب جميل، وعناية ممتعة بالتفاصيل، وقدرة على الوصف تمنح الرواية قيمة إضافية، سأحصل على أعماله التالية وسأقرأ له أكثر بالتأكيد.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,821 reviews12.9k followers
December 21, 2015
With Harry Hole focussing his attention on Norwegian soil, Nesbø brings the third book in the series to the writer's attention. After a heroic act during a political summit, Hole is promoted to inspector and moved to the POT, a security directorate. In his new role, Hole begins an investigation into rumours that a high powered rifle has been brought into the country and may be used in an assassination attempt of some sort. Working in conjunction with his former partner, Ellen, they discover that all roads lead back to a man named 'the Prince', though Hole is unable to uncover this individual's real identity. Ellen inadvertently stumbles upon a major clue, but is attacked before she can pass it along to Hole, who grasps at any clue he can to close the case. At this same time, Hole becomes involved with a colleague, Rakel, and her son, Oleg. This relationship blooms and fades throughout the novel, as Hole tries to synthesise all that is going on in his professional and personal lives. Alongside this storyline, Nesbø tells a tale of a handful of Norwegian soldiers who chose to fight with the Reich after Norway's capture by German forces in World War II. These men and their lives weave a complex story that spans sixty years, one which eventually pulls Hole into the centre, as the soldiers are being murdered, one by one. Who is the Prince and how does it tie into the rifle imported from South Africa? Will Rakel be a new addiction that Hole cannot shake? Will these traitorous soldiers ever be safe in the country on which they turned their backs? Nesbø has answers, but also a handful more questions, for the reader, as the novel takes turns never seen in the series to date. A must-read by all series Harry Hole fans, thought its depth and complexities leave the previous two novels in the proverbial dust.

There is no question why or how Nesbø won significant awards for this novel. Its complexities and detailed plot lines make this a stellar piece of writing, no matter the language in which it is read. Nesbø finally shows off how Scandinavian writing is so much more nuanced and complex, and forces the reader to dig deeper to pull out all the clues to craft a successful thriller. Hole and his character receive a multi-faceted exploration, alongside a rich and controversial historical review of Norway at the height of World War II. Nesbø adds a number of characters whose importance will become apparent in subsequent novels (so I have heard) and does so in a fluid manner, setting the scene for some Oslo-based mysteries, rather than flitting off to the vast reaches of the globe. While the historical story seemed to drag at times, its importance becomes readily apparent as the climax of the novel approaches and the patient reader will be rewarded for the delay. A thoroughly stunning piece of work that has breathed new life into the series for me and those who have come to respect Harry Hole up to this point. No matter what his past has shown, Hole is a man who has much more to show and with seven more novels, Nesbø has the time to peel away new layers to entice his fans.

Kudos Mr. Nesbø for this novel that does not give up from the beginning until the final sentence. You are to be applauded for your hard work and significant effort.

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Profile Image for Anna.
582 reviews109 followers
August 25, 2016
Και κάπου εδώ ξεκινάνε όλα για το Χάρι. Αν η μέχρι τώρα ζωή του θεωρούνταν βασανισμένη και τον οδήγησε ν�� γίνει αλκοολικός, είναι απορίας άξιο πώς κατάφερε να επιβιώσει από όσα ακολούθησαν μετά από την περιπέτεια αυτού του βιβλίου: είδε συνεργάτες του να σκοτώνονται, ήρθε αντιμέτωπος με πραγματικά άσχημες καταστάσεις, γνώρισε όλο το κακό συνάφι της Νορβηγίας… Ίσως ο λόγος για τον οποίο άντεξε ήταν η Ράκελ, η γυναίκα της ζωής του, που τόσα της έκανε, αλλά την αγαπούσε όσο τίποτα, αυτή και το γιο της.
Στον Κοκκινολαίμη, λοιπόν, ο Χάρι γνωρίζει τη Ράκελ και χάνει τη συνεργάτιδά του, με το τελευταίο να τον απασχολεί πάρα πολύ στα επόμενα βιβλία που θα προσπαθεί μανιωδώς να βρει το δολοφόνο της. Όσο για τη Ράκελ, τι να πρωτοπούμε: με δυο λόγια ήταν τα πάντα στη ζωή του. Η διπλή σκηνή μάλιστα (του φλερτ και του φόνου) είναι γραμμένη τόσο μαεστρικά που προσωπικά με ανατρίχιασε. Επίσης, είναι συγκλονιστικό ότι ο αναγνώστης γνωρίζει αυτά που αναζητεί ο Χάρι, αλλά, σαν το θύμα κι εμείς, δεν έχουμε φωνή να μιλήσουμε.
Στα παράπλευρα κοινωνικά ζητήματα με τα οποία ασχολείται το βιβλίο είναι οι θηριωδίες των Ναζί στη Νορβηγία και στα ψυχολογικού ενδιαφέροντος, αναλύεται η διχασμένη προσωπικότητα.
Το βιβλίο είναι το τρίτο της σειράς, όμως είναι το πρώτο που διαδραματίζεται στο Όσλο με χαρακτήρες πέραν του Χάρι να εμφανίζονται και στα επόμενα βιβλία. Καλό θα ήταν κάποιος να διαβάσει τα βιβλία με τη σειρά, έστω αρχίζοντας από τον Κοκκινολαίμη, ώστε να έχει μια συνέχεια στην εξέλιξη του χαρακτήρα. Εγώ, βέβαια, τα διάβασα σε εντελώς τυχαία σειρά, ανάλογα με το ποιο έβρισκα διαθέσιμο στη βιβλιοθήκη, αλλά και αυτό είχε τη μαγεία του, καθώς θεωρώ ότι έκανα πολλά μπρος-πίσω στο χαρακτήρα, οπότε πλέον αισθάνομαι το Χάρι σαν έναν τύπο 50+ χρονών (κάπου εκεί τον αφήνουμε στο τελευταίο βιβλίο) που αφηγείται διάσπαρτα περιστατικά της ζωής του. Ξέροντας ότι στον Κοκκινολαίμη άρχισαν όλα, ομολογώ ότι το διάβασα με αρκετή συγκίνηση!
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,531 reviews978 followers
December 13, 2014
There’s nothing wrong with this Scandinavian crime thriller, possibly the most popular of its category in recent years. Yet its technical achievements (pacing, characterization, research, atmosphere, etc) may have been what kept me being fully emotionally involved in the story. With a few exceptions of great character sketches, the story felt contrived and to clever for its own good. I would even go so far as call the plot forgettable if it were not for the numerous flashbacks to the World War II seeds of the current crisis.

The feeling I’m just along for the ride, with a big bag of popcorn beside me started with the prologue, and continued to the last page. We meet Harry Hole (in my case for the first time, because I skipped his first two novels in the series) as a burned out policeman, a bag of nerves that manages to shoot at a friendly target during a US presidential visit to Oslo. In order to avoid an international scandal, his superiors promote him to a special investigations desk, where instead of laying down quietly, he starts tracking the links between skinhead gangs violence, the purchase of a very exensive sniper rifle and resentments inherited from past collaborations of Norwegians with the Nazis in WWII.

Now for the good stuff:

- Harry is a great choice for the main character of a multi volume series. He is flawed, depressive, introspective, vulnerable in his personal life, a loner among his colleagues. Yet we see under all the darkness the flashes of a sunnier core, in his friendly bantering with his partner Ellen, in his tentative wooing of a woman he interviews during his investigations. The sense of humour is so much more precious and hard won, given his post-traumatic stress (I feel I should read at lest the two preques, to give him a better chance of winning me over)

- Born in 1965? You look older than that, Inspector Hole.
- Bad genes.
- Bad luck for you.
- Well, they let me into eighteen-certificate films when I was fourteen.

I laugh from tie to time, But Harry’s song is sung moe often than not in a key of sadness

Ellen had said he lacked natural buoyancy, or whatever it was that meant most people could struggle to the surface again. After his return from Bangkok he had been down for so long that he had considered giving up ever returning to the surface. Everything had been cold and dark, and all his impressions were somehow dulled. As if he were deeply immersed in water. It had been so wonderfully quiet. When people talked to him the words had been like bubbles of air coming out of their mouths, hurrying upwards and away.

- the controversy surrounding the role of Norwegians collaborators in WWII, and how history is rewritten by the victors, creating resentments and pushing waves of hatred far into the future, is a better and more original anchor to the novel than the terrorist with a big gun cliche. The historical flashbacks to the siege of Leningrad, to a hospital in Vienna, or to Hamburg after carpet bombing, worked much better for me thn the contemporary pieces.

... writing the history that the authorities felt postwar Norway deserved. By keeping quiet about the widespread collaboration with the Germans and focusing on the little resistance there was. For instance, Juul devotes five pages to the sinking of the Blucher on the night leading to 9 April in his history book, but he quietly ignores the fact that prosecutions against almost 100,000 Norwegians were being considered at the trials. And it worked. The myths of a Norwegian population fighting shoulder to shoulder against Nazism live on today.

- in line with other Scandinavian writers, Nesbo is aware and skillful in weaving together the individual with the larger social problems of his time. Harry Hole’s depression is rooted not only in his personal experiences in Australia and Bangkok, but also in the existential alienation of the modern man. To the issue of Nazi collaboration we can add the Israelo-Palestinian conflict, the Apartheid regime in South Africa, digs at the Russian and American superpower claims and more. A poster in his derelict apartment quotes Bjornebee:

And this acceleration in the production of horsepower is again just one expression of acceleration in our understanding of the so-called laws of nature. This understanding = angst.

- It may be a secondary plot in the novel, but once again, for me it was more important that the race to stop the killer: the abuse of women (read ‘rape’) by men in a position of authority. One case in Vienna in 1942 is echoed by another one in Oslo in 1999, almost mirror like. One sadist gets his just deserves, the other’s fate is left out for a sequel.

In conclusion : maybe the novel deserves a better rating than my three and a half stars, but I was a bit disappointed in the predictable ending and a few loose ends. Harry Hole is a great protagonist, and I may rate his higher after I read the two prequels I skipped. Recommended for fans of Nordic crime novels.
Profile Image for Suz.
1,159 reviews604 followers
October 24, 2022
I wholeheartedly embraced Harry this time around, having rated the first two in this hefty series at three stars. I enjoy the audio format for these as the name pronunciations and accents would be lost on me.

Harry Hole (pronounced hoola as in the hoop) is an alcoholic, a renegade, a hard arse. Pretty much friendless. He is gruff, unlikable to his colleagues. The sort of guy that would say night shift suits him, an office at the end of the hall, and someone that receives few messages on his answer phone over many years.

A very smart detective, one that makes mistakes, he is moved around the police force to suit those above him, to hide away due to his difficulties. A people person he his not.

This instalment takes us from the Eastern Front in WWII to early 2000’s Norway. I don’t know a lot about neo-Nazism of Norway, but there certainly is a problem there. Very troubling indeed. Harry handles himself well, the image of him kicking a chair out of the feet of a young skin head without breaking stride leaves me knowing we are in capable hands.

Harry may be gruff but he is a feeler, he loves those very few close to him, and it is heartbreaking when he does lose one he loves. The inclusion of two very important women in his life made this rewarding and satisfying reading. I love the character of Harry, faults, and all, he is brilliant and flawed, an appealing mix for this reader.

Add in the skill of this author, never a word is wasted. I must not forget to mention Sean Barrett, a highly skilled narrator in every sense. Just like the narrator in the Reacher series, he knows his stuff and it adds immeasurably to the experience.

Not leaving so long between drinks this time, 3 years is too long. Harry I miss you!
Profile Image for Luna .
147 reviews39 followers
October 28, 2022
INCREDIBLE. Really just a work of art! You know when I read any Harry Hole detective mystery/thriller by Jo Nesbo I actually think that I am reading not a Harry Hole novel but a Jo Nesbo detective thriller as I find him synonymous with Harry Hole. I tend to think that when an author becomes consumed with a series it’s a bad thing though I read many such novels. Yet let me tell you that with the Redbreast Nesbo shows that he can write on par with the best of them. And yes I know he has stand alone novels as well, maybe it’s just me that has such a strong association with Hole/Esbo but how can’t you?

I have to admit that though I loved this book it is not one of my favourite novels but I do admire, really admire what Nesbo has done here. It is a 600 pager and has so much material in it. I have to admit though that the subject matter is right down my alley way. I am a poli sci major and focused on international relations. I love mid east politics and studied WWII at length in university and I’ll get to why that’s important shortly. Having such a history of world politics helped with this book in the same way that watching Jurassic Park only enhanced my reading experience of that novel. Do you need a grasp of politics for this book? Well of course not, but it did aid me and yet I don’t think this book is overly political. It’s a great read for anyone.

So the book opens in 1999 with a presidential visit by the U.S. president, the Israeli leader, and of course an Arabic entourage. They come to Norway where Hole is assigned to this detail. So it starts off kind of comical with Harry Hole messing up big time. Of course as the mess up involves politics the real truth as to how Harry screwed up cannot become public and all involved countries come up with a cover story so as to not embarrass anyone over what happened. Hole gets promoted to inspector out of this and I had a good laugh on how Nesbo formulated all this.

Then the book moves to WWII in 1944 which I found odd. Here Nesbo takes us to the eastern front and specifically we are in Norway where a group of Norwegians are fighting with the Germans against the invading/liberating Russians. So they are Nazi’s. Here Nesbo illustrates that at the time many Europeans had given up on democracy and were choosing sides between Nazism and Communism. Nesbo is very realistic in how he portrays the fighting and conditions here. How the Russians took heavy losses and yet somehow just kept coming. Note that historians will tell you that it was in fact it was the Russians who won WWII. They lost 22 million (basically the population of Canada) men in that war and were so sick and tired of being invaded by the West which is the reason they hung onto the Eastern European countries as a buffer zone against possible future invasion. In fact many believed that Russia was going to continue west so as to occupy all of Europe so as to control it and many believe that when the U.S. nuked Japan it was in fact to send the Russian’s a message that should they be thinking about occupying all of Europe they too would suffer nukes. The U.S. was not about to let the Russians travel and occupy any further west. PS while at University I saw several video’s of Japanese recordings of Japan being nuked. Winds that made type 1 hurricanes look like a rainstorm. People being incinerated alive. Hard to find this kind of footage but it should be mandatory viewing especially for our friend Putin who just talks about it as an option……. Makes you really wonder and question nukes as an option, just no way.

Regardless, Nesbo takes us from themes of Nazism and fierce fighting to a bit of a love angle with his Russian front. While reading the first part of the novel it reminded me of reading Catriona Ward in that I didn’t know where things were going. PS Nesbo was well ahead of Ward but I had not encountered this style from him yet and have encountered it through my numerous Ward readings. I love this style as I find it engaging. Reading and wondering, where the f is this going? Well at about the 130 page marker it all comes together. One of the characters from the Russian front is angry and is going to take out someone or someones from a Penthouse suite in Oslo in the spring. Who this person might be is shrouded in mystery and following the clues through Harry Hole was a lot of fun. Again our suspect appears to be of a Nazi persuasion and for his assassination(s) he is after a rare killing rifle called a Marklin. He goes through various channels to secure this weapon and it is very very expensive. There is a lore tied to this weapon.

The book continues along the dark themes of Nazism. A lot of behind the shadow dealings. Then a real tragedy befalls Harry. The book is written in parts as well as chapters and Part 5 deals with Harry after the tragedy leaving phone messages on a machine of the dead person he so cared about so as to hear that persons voice and to speak to that person. It’s only about 7-8 chapters within that Part but man Nesbo has you really feeling Harry’s pain.

So the novel builds on the themes of WWII and the love triangle. It also builds off of the anger for those who fought on behalf of the Nazi’s and were all persecuted by the government of Norway post war, when in their eyes they were just fighting on behalf of the Nazi’s to stop the Russians from occupying Norway. I have to admit that even I learned a thing or two about this part of the war from Nesbo. Nesbo easily and effortlessly explains this aspect. So our suspect is full of hate due to the punishment he faced for fighting along side the Nazi’s (they were all jailed for 2-3 years minimum and a lot more if you did really bad things) and for losing out on his girl during WWII because of the associated politics. All this hate has been building up in him for years and fate has dealt him a card that makes him feel he should act out on that hate.

So as Hole starts piecing things together there are many great twists and turns that happen. Most were quite surprising to me, especially those centering on Hole’s love interest – seems to be one in each novel – good for Harry 😊

So as mentioned earlier the politics and knowing some of it is a nicety for this novel. However, I believe most already have a good idea of the politics contained herein and Nesbo lays it out in a way that is not political so anyone can understand it. Yet for me it was right down my alley so to speak and enhanced the read greatly. An easy five star read and an eye opener for just how good a writer Nesbo is. I can’t wait to get one of his stand alones just to read something on a different topic other than Harry Hole. Yet I have to marvel at the Hole series and taking off this book, the possibilities in the Hole series in and of itself. Even at the end of this book there are still some major points that clearly will be addressed in coming books. Man such respect for this series at the 3 book mark!

I should note that my issue contained a detailed bio of Nesbo. He started out a budding soccer star but an injury led him to being a Norwegian rock star. When commissioned to do a book about his leading rock star band Nesbo submitted his first Hole novel instead and the rest is history. It’s funny but sports stars and rock stars are so idolized. I mean I love my music and most sports yet as I get older I keep thinking more and more who the hell would want to practice a game virtually daily and then play it. Who would want to take a stage and play the same songs over and over? I would equate both professions sports/rock star as almost hell on earth in a way. I know I must sound crazy but think about it. Yeah you better pay me tons to repeatedly do the mundane. I once had two guys over installing a natural gas fireplace. They noticed my speakers (Klipsch corner horns) and my related rock memorabilia. The one pointed out that the other was in a rock band and quite a guitarist. So our talk started off all cool and the like, like the guitarist should be idolized but when I went on the tangent that I could see it actually sucking did things change and to my point exactly. The guitarist said practicing sucked big time as did playing the same crap over and over. He said having the fans idolizing you was rewarding but admitted my points were valid. His tone and demeanor changed like I was right in what I said, especially the practicing part. Like he was upset that I kind of figured out the ugly side of it. Lmao, just goes to show, right? So in my mind I think authors and writers are so under appreciated. Without them we would have no novels, no movies, no tv shows as everything needs or feeds off of a story and as a writer you can go anywhere you like – from fiction, to non fiction, horror, thrillers, sci-fi etc. Man their awards should be so much more publicized. Sorry for my rant but my point is that Nesbo gets my respect even more for choosing writing over being a rock star. Rock on with that very special keyboard Jo Nesbo, just rock on....... LOL enjoy this one, it's special!!

Profile Image for Ginger.
790 reviews377 followers
July 19, 2019
Fantastic!! I must love Norwegian mysteries and flawed detectives!!
Going with 4.0/4.5 stars on this one!

The Redbreast is the 3rd book in the Harry Hole series and I really enjoyed this one. I think you can read this as a stand-alone because I haven’t read books, #1 The Bat & #2 Cockroaches.

I read The Redbreast for my book club selection for July. I’m really happy they picked this mystery because it was complex, suspenseful and I enjoyed it all the way through.
Thanks Terry for joining me in a buddy read for this! It was even more fun to share the WWII madness and Neo-Nazi craziness with you.

The book starts off with Harry Hole embarrassing the force (not really, but politics is a bitch) and he’s been reassigned to do simple surveillance tasks. He comes across a high-powered rifle being bought on the black market. It’s the type of rifle that can be traced back to WWII that was used by Nazi soldiers and allies to Germany.

What’s up with this type of rifle being brought into Oslo, Norway under questionable circumstances? What’s it got to do with Neo-Nazi activities?

And this is the beginning of a slow burn with a fantastic ending!

There's the mystery of the soldiers fighting on the Eastern Front between Russia and German Allies. Norway at the time was invaded by Germany and they were sending Norwegian men to the front lines. When the war was over, these men came back as traitors to their country.

I’ve got to say, I really enjoyed the past to present format in this book. I love how it kept progressing the mystery of the men fighting in 1944 and to present time with Harry Hole trying to figure out Neo-Nazi conspiracies and motives.

I really didn’t see the plot twists or who was behind the killings until Joe Nesbø laid it all out for me at the end. Fantastic writing for me not to figure out a thing!

Definitely recommend this to crime detective fans and people who love Norwegian mysteries. Stick with it though if you can handle the slow burn. It delivers in the end!
Profile Image for B.
123 reviews168 followers
April 6, 2016
Điều đầu tiên xuất hiện trong đầu khi đọc xong những dòng cuối : lại tốn tiền - tốn tiến để rước thêm Nemesis (Kẻ Báo Thù).
Sau đó chợt nhận ra cái tên Nhã Nam =.=
Nhã Nam luôn rất vui tính.
Chim Cổ Đỏ là cuốn #3 trong serie Harry Hole của Jo Nesbo (bao gồm 10 cuốn). Số 1 và số 2 đắc tội gì với các vị mà lại chọn dịch cuốn đầu tiên trong serie là #3. Nhã Nam hứa hẹn sẽ xuất bản thêm Nemesis (#4) và The Son ( 1 cuốn hoàn toàn ko lq đến serie này). Âu kê, với "lời nguyền 3 cuốn" thường thấy thì...chẹp...mua Nemesis đọc sẽ càng thêm tức vì khả năng cao là #5 và các # sau sẽ ko đc cho ra đời, giống như Hannibal Rising, mít mùa rồi mà vẫn chưa thấy sủi tăm.

Ai nên đọc Chim Cổ Đỏ? Những fan cuồng của trinh thám hành động bắn nhau tóe lửa, đuổi bắt chí chóe như mấy a cổ to trong phim Biệt Đội Đánh Thuê hoặc những fan của trinh thám suy luận cổ điển như Sherlock Holmes thì chắc khó hợp với cuốn này. Tiết tấu câu chuyện khá chậm rãi và chỉ nhanh hơn khi đã đi qua được nửa chặng đường, tình tiết được đan cài rối rắm, các mốc không gian và thời gian trải rộng, nhân vật cũng tới hằng hà sa số mà quên tên là chuyện bình thường. Việc của bạn là nhẩn nhơ chậm rãi mà đọc, đừng nghĩ ngợi nhiều làm giề, nghĩ nhiều rồi lại thấy nó dở :v Đoán ra thủ phạm rồi (khá dễ đoán vì nó lù lù ra) thì cũng vẫn phải nhẩn nhơ vì người ấy đúng là người ấy mà ko phải người ấy đâu, tin mấy bác tác giả trinh thám thì quá bằng tin mấy bạn Tàu khựa đang trúng thầu cái đường ống sông Đà, "chú cứ tin ở anh", âu kê, đổ thóc giống ra mà ăn :3 :3

Điểm trừ lớn nhất của cuốn này đối với nhiều người là nó dày quá :| phải dày thế nó mới phê chứ ._. Còn về điểm cộng? Nó vẫn có đầy đủ những điểm cộng thường thấy của các rác phẩm ngôn tình là thuận lợi trong việc đập ruồi đập muỗi, kê chân bàn chân tủ hoặc xé ra làm giấy gói xôi :3 Còn điểm cộng ko thường thấy là đơn giản thôi, nó hay :v

Mình rất thích nhân vật Ellen mà chưa rõ tại sao? Có vẻ nhiều ng cũng vậy nên đâm ra ghét lão Harry vì lão ấy hám gái dẫn đến sự vụ thương tâm của Ellen. Với cương vị của 1 ích men đờn ông đích thực ko thích đực thì điều này cũng có thể thông cảm, gái như vậy thì ai chả hám =.=
Ngoài ra mình còn khá thích bác dịch giả, mặc dù bác ấy xấu trai nhưng có vẻ tạo cảm giác dễ mến :3

5 sao ko thương tiếc.
Profile Image for Judith E.
572 reviews195 followers
January 12, 2020
A complex and well developed mystery that Norwegian detective, Henry Hole, must solve. Harry is suddenly promoted after he makes a gaffe in an international security situation. In his new position he comes across a murder with a WWII rifle that leads him back to suspects who fought with the Nazis at the Russian front. Harry and his partner, Ellen, find themselves in a twisting and dangerous investigation.

This is, of course, a very Nordic mystery complete with Norwegian history and background. The audible was a bit confusing due to the multitude of characters with Scandinavian and German names and with the narrator’s indistinct pronunciations. Recommended but in print not audio.
Profile Image for Charlie Parker.
203 reviews48 followers
January 30, 2023

Una muy buena novela policíaca con dos tramas que irremediablemente van a coincidir, como es previsible. No es una novela policíaca al uso, es un poco de la historia de Noruega, de su pasado y, en cierta forma, un pequeño ajuste de cuentas.

Por una parte tenemos a Harry Hole haciendo de las suyas hasta que es destinado al servicio secreto por un tiempo. Ahí va a descubrir algo que está fuera de lugar ante el escepticismo de su superior.

Por otra parte tenemos una historia de la segunda guerra mundial. Voluntarios noruegos que participaron en el bando alemán. Así que nos vamos a los años 40 y nos adentramos en la historia de estos pocos soldados. Pero estos, aunque sean pocos van a dar mucho juego, un juego que va a durar muchos años.

Y hasta aquí se puede contar, la historia se sostiene sobre unos hilos que mejor no tocar para no estropear la tela de araña de Nesbo.

Se da la circunstancia que, a Jo Nesbo, cuando tenía 15 años, su padre le confesó que había formado parte como voluntario en las Waffen-SS alemanas en el frente del este. Siendo esta confesión un gran mazazo para él. Los voluntarios que se unieron a los alemanes fueron juzgados y castigados en su momento, pero hubo otros que se comportaron cobardemente que no fueron juzgados.

Es muy posible que este hecho influyese en este libro y en algún personaje concreto.
Profile Image for Leo.
4,390 reviews412 followers
January 24, 2022
I had started book 8 recently but heard this was best to read in order. I had read the first two and given them 3 stars And seeing this being a lot about Nazis and world war II, I really doubted that I would like it as it's not normally something I like to read about but the series really kicked up for me. Not sure if it was because I had a long break but I got so invested in Harry. I immediately started the next one
Profile Image for Howard.
1,288 reviews80 followers
March 5, 2022
4 Stars for The Redbreast: Harry Hole Series , Book 3 (audiobook) by Jo Nesbø read by Robin Sachs.

Another great Norwegian mystery. Harry Hole has a murder plot that goes all the way back to WWII.
Profile Image for Mark.
1,408 reviews106 followers
May 8, 2011
First off, there would never be a main character in an American mystery novel called Harry Hole, unless it was a crime-solving porn star, but it seems to work just fine, for this Norway based police officer. Harry is a tough, complex, hard-drinking cop, who may have discovered a possible assassination attempt.
I am not going to reveal very much here, because one of the joys of reading this terrific Scandinavian thriller, was never knowing where this baby was going. It’s a very ambitious novel, spanning 60 years, focusing on several characters, past and present. This is an impressive introduction to a highly talented author and I am looking forward to seeing what Harry Hole gets into next.
Profile Image for Mihaela Abrudan.
252 reviews17 followers
July 3, 2023
O intrigă interesantă despre cei care se scrie mai puțin, cei care au crezut în Hitler și care au dus mai departe ura și propaganda nazistă. Este povestea celor care au trădat, ucis, înșelat în numele unui patriotism înțeles după bunul plac. Și totuși cine sunt adevărații patrioți conducătorii care au fugit din țară sau cei care au luptat așa cum le-au dictat împrejurările?
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,331 reviews2,143 followers
December 21, 2014
]This is the third book in the Harry Hole series and Harry is developing into a very interesting and likeable character. It was nice to see him in this book in good relationships with two very important women in his life and some of the dialogue and observations were laugh aloud funny. There was a lot of concentration required as the book bounced around in time and place with many, many characters who mostly have Norwegian names! At first I wondered how it was going to all come together but of course it did and in a very thrilling way. Recommended reading for anyone who enjoys a good thriller but start with book number oneThe Bat as it is really worth getting to know Harry first.
Profile Image for Ms.pegasus.
723 reviews141 followers
October 20, 2017
I'm reading this series in order; this is the third book featuring Norwegian detective Harry Hole. Unlike many reviewers, I loved the writing in the first two books. There, much of Nesbø's attention was drawn to the challenge of characterizing the cultural underbelly of Australia and Thailand. THE REDBREAST is unquestionably different: more ambitious, with a wider assemblage of characters, carefully calibrated tension and adrenaline-pumping action. Yes, there are also the outlines of a classic mystery as Nesbø disperses clues for his detective, but the action itself is motivated by multiple betrayals which give this book a darker mood. It's a mood that seems to fit Norway's cold winters and re-invented memories of World War II when the country was occupied by the Nazis and patriotic Norwegians were torn by their loyalties. The shadow of that time continues to haunt the present with its potent mix of neo-Fascists, disillusioned war veterans, and new-wave Nativists.

The present day events span a timeline from November 1999 through the spring of 2000. The past begins on the Eastern front during World War II where the Norwegian Legion was deployed to fight the Russians. How do the two timelines connect? That is the major puzzle to be solved by the reader. I would have floundered in the convoluted trail of deceptions if not for my focus on Harry Hole. Hole has been “promoted” to a position in the foreign office. The idea is to keep him busy shuffling paper in glorified obscurity. His new boss, Kurt Meirik, is frustrated in executing that blatant political ploy. Hole comes across a routine complaint about a possible out-of-season hunting violation in the forest district of Siljan, lying in the southeastern corner of the country. Local investigators recover the shells which turn out to have come from a Märkin rifle. It's a powerful weapon designed for snipers and is banned in Norway. The most likely inference is that a serious crime is in the planning stages.

I loved the relationship between Hole and his partner Ellen Gjetten. Ellen is practical, smart and intuitive. She perfectly counters Hole's emotional demons and is dedicated to the goal of keeping him a recovering alcoholic, despite his many lapses. The relationship is all the more special because it is not a romantic one. Ellen has her own personal life which gives Hole an opportunity for light-hearted teasing.

I also love Hole's deft irony. Here is an exchange between him and his former boss, Crime Squad head Bjarne Møller who is a diligent, hard-working civil servant: “...he first of all knitted his eyebrows to show Harry that his concern was of a professional and not an amicable nature. 'I hear you're still spending your time sitting in Schrøder's, Harry.' 'Less than ever, boss. There's so much good stuff on TV.' 'But you're still sitting and drinking?' 'They don't like you to stand.'” (p.46)

This book easily works as a stand-alone. There are few references to events from the previous two books. However, anyone interested in the series should definitely read this book first. There are numerous loose ends, and I would be disappointed if Nesbø did not address them in later books.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
August 6, 2020
The Redbreast, Jo Nesbo’s third Harry Hole thriller, represents a leap forward in quality in his writing career, as others have been observing for years. The first two, The Bat and Cockroaches, the first set in Australia and the latter set in Bangkok, gained him an international following, and are solid thrillers, and well-written, but this third book, centered primarily in Norway and Germany, was in 2014 voted the best mystery in the history of Norway. The book begins with Hole monitoring neo-Nazi activities in Oslo, where he discovers the complicated legacy of Norwegian collaborations with the Nazis during WWII. The book alternates between 1944 and 2000, the two stories linking as some former soldiers are being killed in reprisal, and as an assassination attempt of Norway’s Crown Prince in retaliation for their Nazi support takes place.

The layers of politics, economics and history create a layered and anguished story that interconnects on a personal level with Hole’s friendships and love life. One of his friends and colleagues, Ellen, is killed in the line of duty, bumping the alcoholic Hole off the wagon. Maybe the most affecting ten pages of the book have to do with Hole leaving messages on his dead friend’s answering machine.

“Hi, this is Ellen and Helge’s answerphone. Please leave a message.”

Just anguishing. But the desire to solve that crime also gets him back on the anti-terrorist trail he had been on, not surprisingly. The book ends as most thrillers end,with second left to spare, but along the way it is a novel that is rich in Norwegian history and the west’s complicity at times with the Nazi regime. Sure, I can nitpick some of it--before she dies Ellen unbelievably leaves messages on Harry’s answering machine about the identity of the killer, though she fails to name him; I am also not a fan of the serial killer and multiple personality stories that seem to be a staple of thrillers and mysteries, he didn’t need these--but it is nevertheless a highly ambitious and accomplished project.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Marilou K..
146 reviews36 followers
March 8, 2018
Ένα αστυνομικό θρίλερ αρκετά δυνατό και πολύ πολύ ενδιαφέρον! Το παράδοξο με το στήσιμο αυτής της ιστορίας είναι ότι πρώτον, δεν υπάρχει φόνος εξ αρχής, αλλά κάτι προετοιμάζει κάποιος...


... και δεύτερον, ο αφηγητής μας δίνει ��ην ευκαιρία να παρακολουθούμε τα βήματα του θύτη (εννοείται χρυσό μου πως δεν ξέρουμε ποιος είναι!)... Επιπλέον έχουμε και αναδρομές στο παρελθόν (Β' Παγκόσμιος, αγαπημένο θέμα).Έτσι οι ώρες ανάγνωσης κυλούν πολύ εύκολα και μάλιστα αν το πιάσεις δε μπορείς να το αφήσεις (μη κοιτάτε που έκανα τόσες μέρες να το διαβάσω,έτερον εκάτερον).

Στα θετικά μπορώ να βάλω το γεγονός ότι ο Χόλε έχει επιτέλους κοπέλα!


Επίσης μου άρεσε πάρα πολύ η ανατροπή εκεί στα μέσα περίπου (πολύ στεναχωρήθηκα..ευτυχώς θα καταπιαστεί μ' αυτό το θέμα στο επόμενο βιβλίο και ανυπομονώ).

Στα αρνητικά.....εεεε..ντάξει, δεν είμαι φαν του τελικού αποτελέσματος,σίγουρα δε το περίμενα, I didn't see that coming που λένε και οι Άγγλοι και για να πω και την αλήθεια μου, δε με κάλυψε. Αλλά οκ, δεν αλλάζει αυτό τις υπόλοιπες 590 σελίδες.

Λοιπόν, το καλύτερο απ' τα τρία πρώτα. Τώρα με κέρδισε ο Νέσμπο!
Profile Image for Ken.
2,207 reviews1,330 followers
June 1, 2020
Even though I enjoyed the first two Harry Hole novels, it was the Norwegian based novels that I was keen to get to.
It certainly didn't disappoint!

Harry is soon promoted after shooting a suspect assin during the American President's visit to Oslo.
His soon assigned to monitor neo-Nazi activity and a very expensive sniper rifle.

The narrative also jumps to the Siege of Leningrad and the Norwegian soldiers who chose to fight with Germany.

Hole himself is trying to keep his alcohol addiction in check, he understands his flaws whilst also appreciating his one of the best men on the force.
Things get even more complicated as his attracted to work colleague Rakel, but shes reluctant to get involved during a child custody battle for son Oleg.

The plot races along with the jumps between the two time periods seamlessly.
It's easy to be swept along and the final third is so rewarding.
Profile Image for Miglė.
Author 13 books397 followers
July 31, 2023
Viskas gerai padaryta! Knyga iš 2000-ųjų metų, tai galima atleisti kai kuriuos jau kiek pabodusius elementus: pasakojimas susipina tarp praeities (II pasaulinis karas) ir dabarties, o irzlaus išgerti mėgstančio inspektoriaus vaidmenyje Hūlė čia visai mielas. Neonaciai nublanksta prieš senus karo veteranus, o policija labiau korumpuota negu atrodo. Gerai susiklausė!
Profile Image for Cathy DuPont.
456 reviews171 followers
April 21, 2013
Granted, I readily admit that I am not cosmopolitan.

Learning other languages (haven’t tried the Rosetta Stone) has always been a challenge for me never being successful---try as I may. Fortunately (or not) here in north Florida, knowing English is good enough although I do know my fair share of ‘red neck’ since north Florida is the center of the universe for the dialect. (Please don’t spread that around although I think it's already known.)

With that said, at times I found myself a bit lost reading Jo Nesbo's The Redbreast, not often but enough to bother me alot. By the way, the name is pronounced ˈju ˈnɛsbø. I've been saying Joe, oh, my.

Nesbo’s character Harry Hole is pronounced Hoo-ley per my friend Harry. I told Harry that I thought the character's name Harry Hole was an odd choice for Nesbo. My friend Harry who is much more cosmopolitan than I am, shared the correct pronunciation with me.

Hole is absolutely the kind of hero in books that I simply adore. He is honorable, diligent, kind and humble lacking arrogance which is quite refreshing to me in life and in characters.

Nesbo's storyline is the best, very intriguing and leaves a few unanswered questions at the end which I'm sure are to be addressed in the next book. Since some books have not been translated into English, not sure which one I'll read next. (I am not learning Norwegian to read the series.)

My only drawback is the fact that although the English translation is great, I was still stuck with unfamiliar words and references. And knowing Norway would benefit me immensely.

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Distance between St. Augustine, FL and Oslo, Norway is 4667, and kilometers from Jacksonville, FL to Oslo, Norway is 7272.


Next read, and there will be one, and it may already be on my bookshelf, I’m printing out a detailed map so I can see where Harry has been and is going.

Learning kilometers, well, that may be another thing. Not sure I’ll live long enough to learn both a new language and converting to the metric system.

For a much more thorough and articulate review, do yourself a favor and read Harry’s review at The Redbreast. Harry is an ardent Harry Hole fan, just ask him.

As an aside, I was emailing another reader of Nesbo and one comic said, "what's with the o's with a slash through them and the little o's over some letters?" He was talking about this: å prøve vår. No clue, but he gave me a laugh. Guess we are both Made in America. And yes, we need to broaden our reading beyond our boundaries.
Profile Image for Liviu Szoke.
Author 30 books382 followers
February 8, 2021
Primul Harry Hole de cinci stele. E drept că pornește mai greu, că nu știi ce să-i faci lui Harry, că autorul îl pierde vreo 100 de pagini, dar apoi să te ții. Și când te gândești că totul pleacă de la niște cartușe de pușcă gigantice găsite într-o pădure.
Pornind de la o poveste adevărată, care l-a marcat profund pe autor și, prin urmare, povestea de față reprezintă de fapt un omagiu amintirii tatălui său, despre soldații norvegieni care au luptat alături de nemți pe frontul de est, împotriva rușilor.
Numai că povestea lui Nesbo transcende deceniile și, astfel, personajele sale, acum niște moșuleți cu mulți demoni care să-i bântuie, bântuie străzile din Oslo și fac răutăți. Nu ca gremlinii, dar nici foarte departe.
Harry face ce știe. Supără lumea și-și bagă nasul unde nu-i fierbe oala, căci așa-i spune lui instinctul, de parcă ar fi un ogar care a luat urma unui vânat și nu mai vrea să-i dea drumul. Se îndrăgostește. E alungat, exact cum l-a alungat David pe Uriah (o excelentă referință biblică, magistral transpusă de autorul norvegian aici, numai că adevăratul său Uriah face năzbâtii în Viena acum multe decenii, iar alungarea lui Harry ilustrează perfect această poveste) ca să fie ucis în luptă, numai pentru a pune gheara pe soția acestuia, Batsheba (doar n-am citit degeaba cartea lui Geraldine Brooks, „Glasul de taină”), tocmai în Suedia, unde neo-naziștii norvegieni au un fel de organizație-soră într-un loc pomenit și de Stefan Ahnhem în ultimele sale două romane, numai că evenimentele se precipită.
Un bătrân mai are doar câteva luni de trăit, așa că decide să-i pedepsească pe cei pe care-i consideră responsabili. Un pervers de la ministerul de justiție trimite bolovanul la vale. Harry e mutat de colo-colo, dar nu dă drumul osului. Evenimentele par confuze la început, însă apoi, când începi să-ți formezi imaginea de ansamblu, ești cucerit în mod iremediabil.
Un soi de călătorie de maturizare, în care autorul își arată într-adevăr măiestria și scoate tot ce-i mai bun dintr-o poveste care-i mai bântuie și acum pe norvegieni: colaboraționismul cu naziștii în timpul celui de-al Doilea Război Mondial, partizanii, execuțiile și condamnările de după. Și faptul că mulți n-au uitat și n-au iertat ce s-a întâmplat în acele zile cumplite.
Un roman perfect, în care căpătăm cu adevărat o idee clară despre valoarea literară a romanelor cu Harry Hole și importanța acestuia în cadrul literaturii polițiste a ultimelor două decenii.
Mai multe, pe Biblioteca lui Liviu: https://wp.me/pz4D9-48P.
Profile Image for Lewis Weinstein.
Author 10 books512 followers
January 4, 2018
For those who enjoy the crime story/thriller/historical genre, this is as good as it gets. It is a complex story, with many threads, beautifully written (even in translation), great descriptions of people, places and action, never overdone, and with occasional splashes of humor. Nesbo presents the story in pieces, and much is unclear as it should be in this kind of story. I paused before the final pages, wondering how Nesbo would finish it. These last scenes were brilliant, even though several threads were left unresolved, perhaps to be picked up in subsequent Harry Hole novels.

Central to the story was the position Norway was put into between Hitler and Stalin, and the long-lasting impact of the choices people made in WWII, especially those who fought with the Nazis. Much of this history was new to me, but there are surely parallels to the position of Poland, which is part of my story in the sequel to A FLOOD OF EVIL currently underway. Of course Poland's tragedy lasted much longer than Norway's, roughly two hundred years versus five.
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