Christmas shoppers stop to hear a Salvation Army concert on a crowded Oslo street. An explosion cuts through the music and the bitter cold: One of the singers falls dead, shot in the head at point-blank range. Harry Hole - the Oslo Police Department’s best investigator and worst civil servant - has little to work with: no suspect, no weapon, and no motive. But Harry’s troubles will multiply. As the search closes in, the killer becomes increasingly desperate, and Harry’s chase takes him to the most forbidden corners of the former Yugoslavia.
Yet it’s when he returns to Oslo that he encounters true darkness: among the homeless junkies and Salvationists, eagerly awaiting a savior to deliver them from misery - whether he brings new life or immediate death.
With its shrewdly vertiginous narrative, acid-etched characters, and white-hot pace, The Redeemer is resounding proof of Jo Nesbø’s standing as one of the best crime writers of our time.
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Love Harry Hole, RIP Robin Sachs :(
I love this book-- classic HH, with a thoughtful plot that takes place, as usual, between several countries. I was deeply saddened to hear the short tribute to Robin Sachs at the beginning, who passed away earlier this year. His beautiful narration was my favorite part of the previous audio HH books, but John Lee does an excellent job with the reading. It actually brought a tear to my eye-- when you fall in love with a series and the narrator, losing them is like losing an old friend.
I gave the story four instead of five stars, only because this book seems a bit more expositional and features Harry's friends and family less. One thing I've grown to love about these books is the wonderful supporting cast of characters. It's always fun to hear about Harry's relationships with his colleagues, and this installation in the series didn't have much of that. However, it's still very strong, a bit different than the other books, and minus the presence of Raquel and Oleg (they do make very minor appearances, emphasis on minor). It's also the first book with Gunnar Hagen as Harry's boss, and some of the playful interchanges between Harry and his old boss aren't there simply because his old boss has left Oslo. I missed more of those character moments. They are present in the book, but in much shorter supply than in previous and later HH stories. However, the same attention to multi-faceted characters is still very much alive in the writing of this story-- it's just applied to new characters, the Salvation Army contingent, Harry's new love interest, and the unstoppable hitman.
Yes, thought it's a bit more slowly-moving than other HH stories. However, it's always moving forward, and the action is expertly inter-woven between each character's story. It has moments of thrilling suspense, and many unexpected moments as well. As in the other books, Nesbo takes us into the mind of the antagonist, and that is always a treat. He treats his killers, crazies, and psychos as if they are humans, just like the rest of us, which makes them impossible to dismiss outright as just evil. In The Redeemer, we care about the "bad guy" and as with other HH stories too, the main villain is complicated, and has a strong reason for doing what he does. He is deeply layered and has feelings as strong as Harry's, and indeed you come to respect him in a sense, despite the fact that he is clearly on the wrong side of what most of us consider normal morality. I won't say much more than that, only that the person we suspect of most bad behavior in this book isn't the only one who needs to be stopped. There is a powerful subplot that I found simply excellent, that contains both a commentary on hypocrisy and a meditation on modern religion.
I haven't heard him before, but I will add him to my list of favorite narrators. As I mentioned, I became so used to listening to Robin Sachs' HH narration, and it took a while to get used to a new voice. John Lee is excellent, however, and I'm now officially a fan.
Yes, but it's a massive spoiler. All I can say is that it involves Harry talking to an old lady in Kosovo, and it brought a tear to my eye as well.
This series is neck in neck with James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series for the #1 spot in my heart. I have listened to the audio recordings many times over, and I love love love the characters and the delicious, textured stories. Nesbo, I'm your reader for life!
Best Modern Detective Series on Audible!
- Charles Atkinson