by Jo Nesbo, translated by Don Bartlett
This complex novel shifts back and forth between the Eastern Front during World War II and modern day Oslo. The World War II soldiers were Nazi sympathizers fighting for Germany against Russia. The modern day story is intertwined with neo-Nazi skinheads taking aim against Muslim immigrants.
This is the third of NesbØ ‘s 10 Harry Hole novels.
Inspector Harry Hole, a recovering alcoholic, is promoted into a deadend job with the Norwegian Security Service, after being involved in an accidental shooting that has diplomatically embarrassing potential.
In his typically perverse fashion, Hole pulls an anomaly out of a haystack of routine reports. His superiors keep redirecting him to focus on possible trouble by neo-Nazi groups against Muslim immigrants on a religious holiday,
Hole can’t let go of why shells from an exceedingly rare, expensive gun typically used by assassins should be found in an out-of-the-way Norwegian town.
There is exceptionally fine writing in this book. NesbØ captures detail and brings people, places and situations to life. That makes it easier for a reader to suspend disbelief at some of the plot convolutions.
The book is a war novel as much as it is a crime novel. It does an exceptional job of covering the history and the challenges facing a country coming to terms with its past.
As an aid to keeping things straight while reading this novel, we provide the following:
About the Author: Jo NesbØ
NesbØ, 53, Is known for his Harry Hole novels, which earned him an Edgar Award nomination (Nemesis, 2008). He is also the main vocalist and songwriter for the Norwegian rock band Di Derre. In 2007, he released his first children’s book, Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder. The 2011 film, “Headhunters,” is based on his novel, The Headhunters. Before he became a writer, he was a freelance journalist and a stockbroker.