Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Redbreast: Jo Nesbo

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo is a complex police procedural, following the story of a Norwegian detective investigating neo-Nazi activities in Oslo, with flashbacks to events during World War II on the Eastern Front. It is a very long book (my copy was a mass market paperback with 567 pages of small print) but I enjoyed almost every page of it.

Nesbo has written nine Harry Hole novels, and this is the third in the series. As yet, the first two in the series have not been published in English. I did not find it difficult to start the series with this book, although there were references to earlier exploits.

Harry Hole has many of the typical problems of policemen (at least the fictional ones): struggles with alcohol and smoking, depression, talented but has difficulty taking orders and dealing with co-workers. But I found him likable and interesting. He had integrity; he was confident of his abilities but not full of himself; and he was vulnerable. I liked the developing relationship with a single mother and her child.

There is a large cast of characters and they are convincingly written. I cared about what was happening to them.  I liked the short chapters and the headings for each chapter noting time and place.

I have recently become very interested in World War II and in reading both fiction and non-fiction on that time period. There is so much to learn. Although I was aware of the term "quisling," I was not fully aware of the origins of the term nor how many Norwegians aligned themselves with the Germans during World War II. This books was very educational for me, and entertaining at the same time.

The unfolding of two story lines at the same time and the fact that one of them was during World War II doubled my enjoyment of this book. However, I liked the contemporary sections a lot, and I am sure I will enjoy future books in the series whether or not they share this element.

This counts as one of my books for the following challenges:
Mt. TBR Challenge, Read Your Own Books Challenge, A-Z Challenge, Chunkster Challenge
European Challenge, Merely Mystery Reading Challenge, Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge, First in a Series Challenge

Note: Even though this is not technically the first in the series, I am counting it because it it the first book in the series available (at this time) in English.

I am also participating in the April Challenge (Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Group) at Goodreads, and this book counts for that challenge.

1 comment:

Gilion at Rose City Reader said...

That sounds great! I don't have any Norway books to read for the European Reading Challenge, so I will try to track this one down.

Thanks for including your review on the European Reading Challenge page.