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From my review of 'The Bat':
The Harry Hole character reminds me a little of Jesse Stone. He's definitely not your squeaky-clean hero. This series was recommended to me by someone who saw that I enjoyed Stieg Larsson's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and its sequels, and I'm grateful that he did. The summary is that it was worth the credit, but I'm not yet hooked and pining for the next book. I've purchased the next available audio book, number 3 in the series. We'll see how it goes. If I don't get a little more out of it, Harry may have to go on the shelf for a while.
Keep in mind, when reading my opinions, that darkish detective fiction is not really my thing, so I don't have a lot to compare Nesbo's work. I thought it was solid believable fiction, and, like Larsson's, very well translated. It felt like it was written for native English speakers. In a number of parts, I was amazed see that the humor translates well. Someone did a great job. Sean Barrett's performance of the various accents was very good, but the voice of Harry never quite fit the character for me. Other reviewers have stated a preference for another reader as Harry, but as this is my first in the series, I can't say. Sometimes, when the reader of a series changes, the new one doesn't get a fair chance. We (fans) like of character's voices to stay the same.
If you like the genre, give Harry a spin. You won't regret the credit, and may get to really like him.
Review of 'Phantom':
Well, I'm not at book 9 of the series. I find that I do prefer Robin Sach's narration, and I've come to think of him as Harry. As always, he does a very creditable job with 'Phantom.'
My views on the series and the Harry character haven't changed. It's too dark for me. Each release in the series shows Harry giving in more and more to his personal demons - drugs, alcohol, and ruined relationships. I understand that there is trauma in real life, but real life usually has some ups and downs. Harry never seems that get off of his slippery-slope. In addition, I prefer my heroes to have redeeming values besides just a particular skill. The only consistent positive in Harry's life is his uncanny ability to solve crime. By book 9, Harry has dropped all pretense of caring anything about the rule-of-law. I find it disturbing when fictional characters like Harry are made into heroes, or at least examples of the real world. It doesn't have to be, and shouldn't be, that way.
I thought that Harry's downward slide might be a literary gimmick to keep us reading in the hope that there would finally be a turn-around, but after 9 books, I don't see it coming. I'm not likely to continue the series.
All that said, 'Phantom,' like the rest of the series, is solid fiction. If you disagree with my perspective on the character of Harry, and enjoy dark detective fiction, then you will probably like it.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I have been hoarding this audio book in my stash because it is narrated by the late, great Robin Sachs. It was worth the wait to listen and was an excellent performance. Sachs is missed greatly.
This audiobook is a long listen, but there is always something interesting happening with Harry Hole, one of my favorite characters. Harry returns from Hong Kong to Oslo to investigate the murder of his former lover's son, Oleg. Fast paced, complex, but so satisfying. I have never gone wrong with a Jo Nesbo book.
My only complaint is that I am weary of drug dealers, addicts, sad stories that are a direct result of drugs. I would have never listened -- except that is was a Nesbo book and it was an excellent listen afterall.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful