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.
©2013 Jo Nesbo (P)2013 Random House Audio
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!
How can the characters in this year's True Detective be worse? Ferrill is asexual, drunk, corrupt, a child abuser and worse!
The Redeemer is the 6 th in the series, but you don't have to follow the books in order. It is another riveting suspense/ mystery / thriller from Nesbo. I think it is every bit as good as The Snowman, Devil's Star and The Bat.
Once again Nesbo exposes Harry Hole as the brilliant, vulnerable, articulate detective we know him to be. The mystery itself is complicated and entirely unique.
John Lee does an outstanding job reading. The audio version is dedicated to the memory of Robin Sachs, who died earlier this year.
I realize this review assumes you have some experience or knowledge of this series. If you don't, investigate the series further and start where you like. All I can say is that Jo Nesbo is the best novelist in this genre I've ever read.
As others have pointed out, this is not the last in the series. Since I had not liked the last one -- Phantom -- I was happy to have my faith in Nesbo restored with this earlier installment. Once again, we are following Hole's ingenious (but perfectly sensible) thought process as he unravels the mystery: A man is murdered and, as Harry tracks the killer, the killer appears to be tracking a new victim -- or is he? As usual in Nesbo novels, the clues are often psychological. The root of the evil is in the past. There is no black and white. And the pieces come together nicely. Hole solves the puzzle of course, but not without some suffering of his own in the process. Part of the lure of this series is the vulnerability of the main character, so we are not surprised.
The plot is fantastic as always. The writing is classic Nesbo...tough, brutal and real. But I can't hear anyone but Robin Sachs as Harry. Just as Eric Conger IS Virgil Flowers to me, so has Robin been Harry. His passing will be mourned. I love John Lee as a narrator of Follett books, but not Nesbo.
The story never captured my interest, just seemed to ramble and how I wanted to enjoy it. Not enough of the Harry charm and wit! I enjoyed the rest of the series immensely and would definitely recommend all of the other books in the series. If there is another, I will listen, hoping that this was a fluke!
I found the plot development somewhat forced -- hard to believe -- but enjoyed it nonetheless. Fascinating look behind the scenes of the Salvation Army. Harry seemed somehow less vested in the problems he was solving.
As for the narrator. The loss of Robin Sachs is huge. I especially missed his distinguishing voices for each character. Much as I like John Lee -- his nicely dark voice and his delivery -- his reading here made the book more difficult to follow, and more difficult to keep the characters straight. It's probably because the names are unfamiliar, but also may be because the voice of each character was less than distinctive. But what are you going to do?
Redeemer might be another excellent book in the Harry Hole series, except that the narrator does such a poor job as to make the book hard to follow. I almost stopped listening several times, but it's Harry Hole, and I don't quit on Harry!
I know we're used to Robin Sachs, and I was entirely prepared to cut John Lee some slack because inevitably he'll be compared to Sachs. I'm sorry to say that after finishing the book, I'm not prepared to cut him any slack at all. His narration of this book was unacceptable, standing on it's own, without comparison to Robin Sachs.
John Lee doesn't do voices. This makes it difficult to follow the characters. The book skips between characters and places without transition, so I often found myself wondering which "he" was speaking, and where, and about who/what. The transitions weren't marked by pauses of suitable length either, again, making the book hard to follow. Many times I was simply lost, and kept rewinding until I thought maybe I was back in sync. Sometimes it wa just a lost cause and I had to plow on.
This is a shame, because there are good themes and good character development in this book. The title isn't empty, but a theme that runs throughout. In this book, Harry himself seeks personal redemption.
I found myself getting mad at Harry sometimes. Mad at his inability or unwillingness to get sober and stay sober. Maybe Harry's mad at himself for the same reasons, and that's one reason he seeks redemption. Decide for yourself, I won't give away the book!
We also wonder about the future of his love for Rakel, Is there a future at all?
This almost felt like it might be a last book in the series. I hope not.
If there is a next book, I do hope they'll try a different narrator
While this book does not as deftly and brilliantly cause the reader to stop breathing, lie lower wherever they are to hide from that "heavy force" as they realize they have entered into a realm of bewildering darkness such as Nesbø revealed in The Snowman and The Leopard and his other books, The Redeemer still is brilliantly and intricately crafted and rates better than most of the "Scandinavian Noir" books IMHO. Actually this book was written earlier than both The Snowman and The Leopard so we in America haven't the pleasure of reading in order. If you are new to Jo Nesbø and Harry, and want to read the books in order, most of this series has finally been translated. Here is the actual order of the series:
The Devil's Star
However, this is the rare instance when I recommend one read The Snowman first then The Leopard as each are not just brilliantly crafted mysteries, but transcend the usual mind-read state to capture you - the essence of your being and take it elsewhere. Then start the series in order.
The Redeemer addresses more of a complex mix of everyday sicko murderer(s) and everyday corruption on many moral levels. Yet, personally I had to face why I felt less horrified than in his previous novels as murder is murder and corruption is corruption. Harry and others make interesting unlawful rationalizations which are tantalizingly easy to buy into...but should I? The ending in particular even though centered on a small thread of the multiple storylines in this book but add to a previous books conundrums then invites one to question "good/evil/justified/redemption" and reveals how easily one can start with high intentions then be blinded before realizing one has ended corrupt and evil on one level...then be faced with what one should do to atone or not; plus what should their peers do; how should they judge? It makes you think.
Enjoy your pondering!
As with his other books, I love the intricacy and detail of Jo Nesbo's plots. Harry Hole continues to delight me, and, as with his other stories, I found myself listening to this in my driveway before going into the house after getting home from work. The narrator is fantastic…he has a gritty, dark tone that is perfect for the series.
John Lee is now narrating Harry Hole mysteries after the death of Robin Sachs. It takes a while to get used to the change. Mr. Lee provides a little more emotion for Harry than Mr. Sachs. I liked the lower key of the previous narrations. But Mr. Lee, as always, does a wonderful job, and it's a terrific performance.
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