With Headhunters, Jo Nesbø has crafted a funny, dark, and twisted caper story worthy of Quentin Tarantino and the Coen brothers.
Roger Brown is a corporate headhunter, and he’s a master of his profession. But one career simply can’t support his luxurious lifestyle and his wife’s fledgling art gallery. At an art opening one night, he meets Clas Greve, who is not only the perfect candidate for a major CEO job, but also, perhaps, the answer to his financial woes: Greve just so happens to mention that he owns a priceless Peter Paul Rubens painting that’s been lost since World War II - and Roger Brown just so happens to dabble in art theft. But when he breaks into Greve’s apartment, he finds more than just the painting. And Clas Greve may turn out to be the worst thing that’s ever happened to Roger Brown.
©2011 Jo Nesbo (P)2011 Random House Audio
“If you don’t know Nesbø, it’s time to get with it.” (USA Today)
“Like [Stieg] Larsson, Nesbø explores the darkest criminal minds with grim delight and puts his killers where you least expect to find them. . . . [and] his novels are maddeningly addictive.” (Vanity Fair)
“Chances are you’ll be hooked ... as Nesbø lays down a trail rich in Nordic atmosphere and in character-driven development ... Ultimately, though, what sets Nesbø apart is his ability to keep the pages turning with such intellectual dexterity.” (Newsday)
This book and its premise about professional headhunters, people who recruit high level professionals for employment, got off to a great start with a great character. Then came a nice, well-placed twist. So far so good. Then, the main character begins an adventure that lasts the majority of the book and requires a HUGE amount of suspension of disbelief. The ending is mildly entertaining but I did not care for Nesbo's methods of exposition through a lot of the book. He's written better ones. I will say the narrator was excellent in all respects.
I have admired Jo Nesbo for his Ruth Rendell-style psychological thrills in the past, and this one starts out promising to deliver the same. Quickly, however, it devolves into a string of implausibilities as well as scenes of distasteful and gratuitous gore and violence. Characters are one-dimensional and plot is littered with drawn out action scenes that do little to further development. (Was the author hoping for a movie contract, maybe?) Dialogue is macho, stilted Bondesque nonsense. The protagonist's intermittent reflections upon his childhood and family losses are an unsuccessful stab at complicating him: they don't work, and he doesn't add up as a coherent character. Did I mention the book is misogynistic? A disappointment. Narrator is great; book isn't.
I've listened to 3 other books by Jo Nesbo (The Snowman, The Redbreast & The Devil's Star) and loved them. Headhunters feels like it was written by someone else, and the reader is beyond dry. Deadly dull. I gave up after 4 chapters.
I agree with other reviewers, that this story doesn't seem to hold the listener--at least not this listener--the same way or to the same degree that Nesbo's Harry Hole novels do. I enjoyed the first third, forwarded some through the second third, and listened to the final third, which made up for some of the middle third. The end is so unexpected, that it made up for some of the missing enjoyment. Oh, but this story just reminded me how much I miss Harry's "MMMMs". And nothing else but that will do, I guess. For me, apparently, it's not enough to have a Nesbo novel, but it must be a Harry Hole novel. The story and character he's created there just can't be filled with anything else. So, if you feel that same way, this story--though, certainly, ok--won't feel the Harry Hole hole for your either. I suppose it's one of the downsides of Nesbo having created such an enigmatic character and such a believable world in the Harry Hole novels.
I've been a member for 3 years and over 280 titles. I listen during my commute to/from work. Mysteries around the world...Jo Nesbo, Larsson, Erin Hart, Tana French, Verghese, Stuart Neville others?
I love all the Jo Nesbo titles in Audible so far. They all have a touch of weird or disturbing plot and Headhunters is no exception. My least favorite Narrator of the series. Audible give me all the Harry Hole series please.
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