I’ve read several books in the Harry Hole series, and so I was interested in finally reading this, the first in the series. I was always curious as to..Show More » why it hadn’t yet been translated into English.
Perhaps the reason it took so long to bring this to the English speaking public is because it’s not as good as his other books? I might not have wanted to continue the series if I’d started with this book, BUT since I’d become acquainted with Harry Hole, I wanted to know more about his history and his beginnings. I did get to know a lot more about him and why his personality is as dark as it is.
I didn’t think the plot was as exciting or as good as the other books I’ve read by Nesbo. I also wasn’t very interested in all the philosophical asides that he threw in. A couple of them were interesting, but I started to get tired of them, and they started to seem like filler.
Wow, I just looked and there are quite a few I’d need to read to get to the one I started with, The Snowman. Also, it looks like #2 in the series, The Cockroaches, still hasn’t been translated. I’ll take a break from Harry Hole and see if #2 comes around in English, and then perhaps I’ll try again. Hopefully, Nesbo gets better with each book!
• In The Bat (1997), Hole is sent to Sydney, Australia to investigate the murder of a B-list celebrity. • In The Cockroaches (1998), Hole is sent to Thailand to investigate the murder of the Norwegian ambassador. • In The Redbreast (2000), Hole is promoted to inspector in the Oslo Police District and tracks an insane assassin with a vendetta against the Norwegian Royal Family. • In Nemesis (2002), Hole investigates a fatal bank robbery and becomes implicated in the apparent murder of an ex-girlfriend. • In The Devil's Star (2003), Hole suspects another detective, Tom Waaler, of being a murderous arms smuggler responsible for the death of Hole's former partner. • In The Redeemer (2005), Hole is on the trail of a Croat hitman who kills a Salvation Army officer during a Christmas street concert. • In The Snowman (2007), Hole struggles to identify Norway's first serial killer. • In The Leopard (2009), Hole returns from a self-imposed exile in Hong Kong and unofficially investigates a serial killer. • In Phantom (2011), Hole again returns from Hong Kong to look into a murder apparently committed by his would-be son, Oleg. His investigation draws him into Oslo's drug scene.
Returning to an earlier time has its advantages and its disadvantages. On the upside, you know the characters well (perhaps better than the author wou..Show More »ld have intended). On the downside, the story is not as fresh because you have read hints of it before and the plot lines are a little less mature (from a developmental perspective). Both of these attributes were apparent to me in this listening. Overall, I felt the book suffered as a result and if I'd had the opportunity to read it in sequence I would have been less critical and more comfortable with the plot. As it was, I thought the plot was a bit too obvious. I picked the villian very early and the false scents were not enough to throw me off the trail. The last Nesbo I listened to before this one was less obvious, I feel sure. Of course, Harry is more advanced as a character now too, so this was a throwback to a troubled soul at the beginning of a path toward redemption. By now I am very comfortable with Sean Barret's characterisation. There can be no other Hole for me. I am an official convert! I'm pleased I listened to this title, at least so I have all the pieces to date. I am looking forward to re-visiting a slightly more mature and maturing Harry in future installments. No doubt there will be falls from Grace, but Harry is a good metaphor for human fraility. It will be like renewing contact will an old friend. I'm hoping.
If you read reviews of any of the other books in the Harry Hole series, you will notice that Jo Nesbo is held in the highest esteem from listeners of ..Show More »thriller / mystery audio books. There are parts of this 2nd book in the series that are not great, but I never wanted to stop listening and found parts of it enjoyable. Here are some of my thoughts regarding this book:
1) The story was written with very short chapters so that you sometimes got lost with the changing scenery and people. I had to listen to several sections over again. Nesbo's plots are always complex so you had to constantly concentrate while listening. 2) If you try to read the books in some sort of order, you will realize that Nesbo's writing improves dramatically after this 2nd book.I also enjoyed the first book, but it probably got lots of editing and re-work since he was a new author. 3) The narrator, John Lee, was not a great choice for this book. His voice for Harry was acceptable, but his accent and voice for every other character was so affected that it could drive you nuts.
In the end though, there was some interesting scenes and the descriptions of Thailand were good. Give Harry Hole and Jo Nesbo another try. My favorite is "The Snowman."
If you're like me then you found this book because you read the Snowman, loved it, and decided to read the whole series. And then, like me, this revie..Show More »w is meaningless to you. You will buy it, without finishing the review, you will listen to it. You will love it. And then you'll buy the next one. So let me validate that decision. Do it. Buy the book. Buy the series. You'll LOVE it.
There, glad that's over with. The rest of you, then, have not read any of the Harry Hole series and have found that while there were two written before the Redbreast, this is the first on Audible. So you're wondering if, given the series' incomplete nature, it's worth reading. I'm glad you asked! YES, YES, YES, YES. It's worth it. This is an amazing series that only gets better with time.
In essence, the series is about a middle aged detective named Harry Hole who is lonely, sad and a recovering alcoholic. Not many people like him, but - as you would expect from a detective series - he's wonderful at his job. He better be, he has nothing else in his life. This book finds him involved with neo-natzis, brutal murders and a sad history with Norwegian solders who fought on the wrong side in WWII. We bounce through time as a tale of dispair and modern day aggression takes hold of your throat. And it doesn't let go.
As I said when i reviewed the Snowman. This series doesn't try and re-invent the wheel (a brilliant but disturbed detective, a series of murders, an investigation in the proverbial heart of darkness). You've seen this stuff before. What Jo Nesbo does is take these cliches and does them better, with more intelligence and more humanity and more depth than you've ever seen before. It's a wonderful series. And it begins here. So you might as well get started.
In the tradition of the great European crime novels like "The Laughing Policeman", "Smilla's Sense of Snow" and Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series, N..Show More »esbo continues with his Harry Hole novels in this terrific new entry.
Hole, struggling with his alcoholism as well as his new love relationship and the death of his partner, finds himself caught up in trying to solve a murderous bank robbery while trying to convince his superiors that his partner's death is - contrary to their belief - still unsolved and that he should be allowed to pursue an investigation into it.
This is a compelling entry in the series, with rich characterizations and impeccable plotting.
Couldn't listen to the narrator after five minutes. And I've just listened to three other Nesbo books in the Harry Hole series in the last two weeks. ..Show More »It's the narrator...who is markedly less effective in reading this Norwegian novel translation than Robin Sachs. Perhaps he can read a western...dunno...but this book is way out of his skill set. So disappointing that Nesbo and Audible ought to bite the bullet and pay Robin Sachs to redo this version...I bought the book...I'm reading it on my Iphone Kindle app...
Harry Hole, am I getting sick of that once handsome, now sort of ragged-around-the-edges, often drunken detective on the Norwegian Police force? I am ..Show More »perhaps feeling a bit impatient with Harry but my interest has not flagged. He is so flawed. How can Harry be so brilliant and so self-destructive? Every little setback sends him back to the bottle and that’s where we find him at the beginning of The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbø.
Harry knows now that fellow police officer Tom Waaler is not the upstanding, stable and well-organized detective he pretends to be. Tom and Harry are at the same level on the police force. Tom has plans to advance. Harry has plans to get through the day. Tom would never experience the strong emotions which tear at Harry. He is no tortured soul. I know Harry believes that Tom Waaler is a crooked cop and that he was involved in the death of Harry’s former partner, Ellen, but I don’t think Harry really realizes how cold-blooded the man who thinks of himself as The Prince is.
Harry has no idea how he will prove what he suspects about Tom and luck is not with him until a series of “ritual” murders leads him to the Prague connection from whence come the red diamond pieces of jewelry shaped like 5-pointed stars (devil’s stars or pentagrams).
Can you guess who the serial killer is before Harry finally figures it out. It is, as usual, a toughie. What connects Tom Waaler with the serial killer? Is there a connection? Is Tom the killer?
This tale is not for the fastidious. Nesbø gives us the most graphic and grisly details found in any of his novels so far. Forensics may be elegant in that it solves murders with science, but the evidence that must be analyzed is frequently made up of the bodily substances we avoid contact with; forensic explorations are often disgusting and not for the squeamish.
Of course, murder is also not for the squeamish. My brain enjoyed this episode in the Harry Hole saga, even if I felt inspired to utter the occasional “gross” or “yuck” about any number of the unpalatable details found in this particular Harry Hole adventure. If The Devil’s Star were made into a movie I would have my eyes covered through a few of the most memorable scenes. When all is said and done and the serial killer is caught and Tom “The Prince” Waaler, who may or may not be the serial killer, is dealt with, the novel ends with an interesting twist and a happy surprise.
Sean Barrett was outstanding with the delivery of the story
Dynamite outing by Nesbo. I would call it a page-turner if there were pages. Captivating, fun and with the usual Nesbo twists and turns. It will speed..Show More » your commute, ease the pain of your workout, or provide a not-so-soothing time alone with a peculiar evil.
This was my third Nesbo novel and, on balance, I enjoyed it the most. The "Prince" was never quite believable to me but the action was the strength of..Show More » these first reads. Redeemer is equally action packed and gets 4 stars because of a writing technique that is clever but tittitating. Chapters begin with a seeming continuation of the prior chapter only to be jolted later by discovering that Nesbo has changed character on the reader without the use of a proper noun or other identifying trait to signal the switch.
Corruption is everywhere in this book. We find corruption in the business world and the police department, which is usual, but now we find it in the Salvation Army!!! The ending expands the circle of corruption to an icon of respectability in Nesbo's world. And the shadow of corruption now appears on Harry's path. Did Harry do the right thing?
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 t..Show More »ribute 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.
Excellent story telling. Great narration. I love Michael Connelly's books, and his reccomendation of this author contributed to my decision to buy The..Show More » Snowman. The story is complicated - full of twists and unexpected turns. Characters have a lot of depth. I'll listen to more Jo Nesbo.
Certainly a gripping, can't-put-it-down, finish-it-in-the-wee-hours book, but it's also almost a horror story. One more gruesome killing of a terrifie..Show More »d woman, one more child with evil seething around him, and one more bout of Harry's horrific lapses into booze, and I'd have to put this one down as horror rather than mystery or crime. But the character development, the plotting, the pacing and the building of tension are all absolutely professional and highly impressive.
On the down side, there are a few unnecessary clichés: the relatively incompetent and sexist underling male cop who looks askance at the new and more competent female cop. Has that one not been done enough yet? (Mind you, maybe it was still somewhat fresh back when the novel was originally penned!) And Harry's battle with booze. I am so tired of cops and detectives with a drinking problem. The only thing different about Harry's drinking is that it's horrible to read about - that one scene where he's already drunk and then goes home, opens a bottle of hard stuff and starts just draining it practically made me ill.
But these are quibbles, really. I'll be reading more about Harry soon, I'm sure, since I've pretty much exhausted P. D. James, John le Carré and Stieg Larsson.
On the unbelievability index, it rates about a 7 out of 10, especially toward the end, wehere things get a tad out of control, but that's about par for the course in cop/thriller/whodunnits, so no surprises there. Sean Barraett outstanding with the delivery of the story
Jo Nesbo's 'The Leopard' was exceptional. An excellent story, and performance by Sean Barrett as usual. It is the first Harry Hole book I have listene..Show More »d too and I am going to get the entire series. It had many twists and turns in the plot which I really liked. This has been the first auidobook to cause me to feel squeamish while listening to some of the 'darker' events in the book. I loved it!!
I've listened to every available Jo Nesbo Harry Hole book. Each one seems to get more violent and harder to listen to, yet they keep me hooked. The pl..Show More »ots are intricate and twisted. Mistakes are made. But I want Harry to be happy, and it seems that he suffers more emotionally and physically with each book. The author is literally dismatling Harry by bits--a finger in the Snowman, his jaw in the Leopard. A brilliant, flawed and doomed hero. How can you resist that?
I hope the books currently unavailable in the US are soon translated; I want to know what happens in between those now available and in the beginning. I'll keep coming back as long as the books keep coming over.
What has happened to our "hero" Harry Hole? Never a matinee idol, a current description of Harry is starting to sound like an introduction to a monst..Show More »er. A towering 6'4"' Harry's face now has more scars than a plastic surgery ward. And when I first started listening in on the Hole saga, there was humorous cultural commentary woven throughout the unfolding story. Lately following Harry is a dark, sometimes tedious, journey into the worst of human nature with no comic relief. Harry is constantly physically attacked, piling on more scar tissue as he goes. You can just imagine Nesbo wreaking his revenge on his signature character and defining a love - hate relationship. And at the end of this book, you may wonder if we have seen the last of our old pal Harry. Certainly, it seems, any chance he ever had of personal happiness is doomed. I don't know if I will tune into his next chapter. Jo Nesbo, lighten up and show your guy Harry a little love!
If this isn't your first Harry Hole novel, all you really need to know that Police is every bit as good as Snowman, The Bat and Devil's Star. And it's..Show More » read by the best British narrator, john Lee.
If you've never listened to a book by Jo Nesbo, now is the time to start. It's the best in its genre including all the great American and British works. The police work is gritty, meticulous, competitive and brilliant. The story is simply magnificent. It's mystery is unique and, well, mysterious.
Sometimes I hate reviewing books because I simply cannot devote the time to do it justice. Do yourself a favor and listen to Police.