It is 1944: Daniel, a soldier, legendary among the Norwegians fighting the advance of Bolshevism on the Russian front, is killed. Two years later, a wounded soldier wakes up in a Vienna hospital. He becomes involved with a young nurse, the consequences of which will ripple forward to the turn of the next century.
In 1999, Harry Hole, alone again after having caused an embarrassment in the line of duty, has been promoted to inspector and is lumbered with surveillance duties. He is assigned the task of monitoring neo-Nazi activities; fairly mundane until a report of a rare and unusual gun being fired sparks his interest. Ellen Gjelten, his partner, makes a startling discovery. Then a former soldier is found with his throat cut. In a quest that takes him to South Africa and Vienna, Harry finds himself perpetually one step behind the killer. He will be both winner and loser by the novel’s nail-biting conclusion.
The Redbreast won the Glass Key prize for the best Nordic crime novel when it was first published, and was subsequently voted Norway’s best crime novel. The Devil’s Star, Nesbø’s first novel featuring Harry Hole to be translated into English, marked Nesbø as a writer to watch in the ever more fashionable world of Nordic crime.
©2007 Jo Nesbo (P)2011 Random House Audio
Jo Nesbo is a wonderful mystery/chrime novelist. I would recommend him to anyone who loves the genre.
Harry Hole, the protagonist of the series.
With the surging popularity in Nordic Noir fiction, many audio books are springing up. Nemesis, I believe was for a long time the only audio book of Nesbo, narrated by Thor Knai. I am not sure why they used two other narrators for the remaining books. Neither Sachs nor Barrett come close to the reading of Knai. In fact I would rank them Knai, Barrett, and a distant last to Sachs. Unfortunately, Sachs got to narrate 5, Barrett 1 and Knai 1. Not sure what the producers were thinking, but this was a MAJOR blunder.
This review has three stars, because I am still not sure what I think of this book.
I admit there were times when I laughed out loud at the humour written into this story (e.g.., asking the woman he thinks is attractive, to help him push his Ford Escort because he forgot to park on a hill..., and rather than saying this happened, he simply makes mention of the dirt on her clean white gloves from pushing on the trunk.).
However, I was so confused at the start of the story, because it flashes backwards and forwards, tying the plot together, so that I wondered if it was mere convention to entice the reader. I also had a very difficult time keeping track of who was who, and that may be my fault, but I actually couldn't remember who the villain was supposed be, and it turned out I may have been wrong.
Norwegian writers are gaining a reputation as great mystery-thriller writers, but in this case I was more confused than surprised. I will definitely try another book by Nesbo, and feel confident that I will either love it or hate it.
I purchased both the Kindle version and audio version of this book, and I'm glad I did. This story was very difficult to follow with only the audio book. I believe it was difficult to follow for these reasons: 1) the beginning of the story jumps around to different time periods with no explanation why or early assistance understanding how the story's pieces fit together, 2) for an American reader, the Norwegian names are difficult to differentiate when spoken, so it takes quite a while to keep the characters straight. This markedly increases the difficulties caused by #1. Seeing the names written in the Kindle version helped a great deal, and 3) because of #1 and #2, if you are doing anything else while listening and lose your concentration for a second, you can miss very important details of the plot.
I did enjoy the book, found the story to be well crafted, and finished it. I'm certain that without the written version to refer to, I would have given up early on.
It was beautifully written. This is the first Jo Nesbo book I've listened to so far, but not my last.
I look forward to the rest of the series.
This is probably my fifth or sixth audiobook by Jo Nesbo and I love his style of writing and storyline.
I love the way that the story flashes back and forth from WWII era to the present. I also love the charactar Harry Hole - not only do you get a great story line, you get a charactar study of a fascinating, self-destructive hero.
His voice just brings you right into the story. As soon as I start to listen I am right there in the middle of whatever he is describing.
I think the title is appropriate.
I look forward to Jo Nesbo's new novel this month!
I’ve been listening to audio books for over 25 years, and I’ve come to know that there are some very good books, which do not work well for me in the audio book format. The Redbreast, by Jo Nesbo, is better read than listened to. According to an online site, it has 82 characters and all of them have unfamiliar Norwegian names. The plot is very intricate and takes place in 107 chapters, which switch back and forth between the years 1942 to 2,000, and within numerous cities of Europe. Quite frankly, I was confused during large parts of the book, a confusion that, if it existed at all, would have been cleared up by reference to the printed page. The omission of a map included in the print edition, didn’t help matters. As for the book itself, it is an excellent book, which is hard to characterize; part WWII history, psychology, existential angst, love, contemporary politics, hate crimes, and detective drama. The Redbreast is such a good book, that I regret my decision to select the audio version, even though the narrator is as excellent as the book.
I love reading and I love Audible. Their fantasy and Sci-Fi selection is excellent!
This is my first book by Jo Nesbo and narrator Robin Sachs. Both were excellent!! A gripping story, well told, beautifully read, what Audible is all about.
This is one you almost need to listen to twice unless you are truly engrossed. It really comes together at the end with a surprise, but to appreciate that surprise, it helps to have a solid recollection of the rest of the book. I will listen to this again.
The Scandinavian authors can show American authors a thing or two. A wonderful story told with style. I did have a bit of problem keeping the Norwegian names straight, but that's me not the author. I'll be back for more Nesbo!
This was a very interesting story. Overall I completely enjoyed this book. But, that said, it was a little confusing. Going back and forth in time, and all the names to keep up with. I had to get onto Wiki to figure out who was who at one point, as I has lost the characters names. I don't often get lost in books in that way, I have been busy in my real life and maybe it was only hard because of life... but, again, it was a little confusing to listen to. I think I may have enjoyed reading it, as it's easier to follow names if you're reading them.
All this said, I love Harry Hole, he is a great character and Jo Nesbo's writing style is wonderful. This is the first Jo Nesbo book I have read and I am onto the rest. A really great story and a great storyteller.
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