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Review: The Redbreast

The Redbreast
The Redbreast
By Jo Nesbø
(Harper, Mass Market Paperback, 9780062068422, August 2011, 576pp.)

The Short of It:

Took a little time for the story to build but ended up being a rather satisfying read.

The Rest of It:

This will be short because my hand is a hurtin’!

This story is a mix of old and new and leaps back and forth in the telling. Part war story, part crime fiction. The war story involves the Norwegian’s fight against the Russians which leads up to the creation of a neo-Nazi movement in Oslo right around the turn of the 21st century.

In the present day, Officer Harry Hole accidentally shoots a secret service agent and is given a “promotion” which basically means that he is assigned to a glorified desk job. However, when he realizes that the shell casings from that day appear to be from a weapon that is no longer around, he digs deeper and what he finds goes all the way back to WWII.

The Redbreast is the third book in the series featuring Detective Harry Hole but it was not my first time meeting Harry. No, I started with book #5 The Devil’s Star and have been reading them out-of-order ever since. The books are wonderful but they have been translated out-of-order which makes it difficult impossible to read them in order. In fact, the first two books are not available anywhere so you make do with what you can get.

However, the evolution of Harry as a person is what keeps me reading and I don’t mind taking these trips back into his past to see how he started out. The latest books in the series seem tighter and more fast paced whereas the older books include quite a bit of set-up. The first half of The Redbreast was very slow and tedious for me, but once I passed the halfway mark I was in familiar territory and loving every minute.

Nesbo’s books contain a sophisticated air that I don’t normally detect in American crime fiction. The tone is a bit different and although I can’t quite put my finger on why, it works for me. If you enjoy well-written crime fiction, you cannot go wrong with this series. Even if you have to read them out-of-order.

Source: Purchased
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