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Publisher's Summary

The author of the best-selling Harry Hole series now gives us an electrifying stand-alone novel set inside Oslo’s maze of especially venal, high-level corruption.

Sonny Lofthus is a strangely charismatic and complacent young man. Sonny’s been in prison for a dozen years, nearly half his life. The inmates who seek out his uncanny abilities to soothe leave his cell feeling absolved. They don’t know or care that Sonny has a serious heroin habit - or where or how he gets his uninterrupted supply of the drug. Or that he’s serving time for other peoples’ crimes.

Sonny took the first steps toward addiction when his father took his own life rather than face exposure as a corrupt cop. Now Sonny is the seemingly malleable center of a whole infrastructure of corruption: prison staff, police, lawyers, a desperate priest - all of them focused on keeping him high and in jail. And all of them under the thumb of the Twin, Oslo’s crime overlord. As long as Sonny gets his dope, he’s happy to play the criminal and the prison’s in-house savior.

But when he learns a stunning, long-hidden secret concerning his father, he makes a brilliantly executed escape from prison - and from the person he’d let himself become - and begins hunting down those responsible for the crimes against him.... The darkly looming question is: Who will get to him first - the criminals or the cops?

©2014 Jo Nesbø (P)2014 Random House Audio

What listeners say about The Son

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Break From The Harry Hole Series Is a Hit

Jo Nesbo has said there are advantages and disadvantages when writing about the same universe. The author and reader sharing a knowledge of the back-story might make things a little easier in some cases, but there is a significant challenge in keeping the characters fresh and interesting.

I am a big fan of the Harry Hole series and this book represented a 17 hour investment of my time in a different Nesbo universe - would it be up to the standard set in 12 Harry Hole books?

It was. I've always loved the insights Jo Nesbo gives us into his characters and their motivations. This book had more of the same. It was actually a little refreshing to be immersed in this authors style of writing and not revisiting the same old battles that Harry Hole contends with. We get introduced to different detectives with different flaws and a hero who is viewed by many as a villain.

While listening to this book there never was a moment where i looked at the time remaining and felt like there was work. It was more like - ten hours left ... I don't want this to end.

Being familiar with this authors style at the 16 hour mark I remember having an aha moment. The current was pushing me in one direction and this was fine, but having been tricked so many times before I actually anticipated a twist in the plot. This was one of the few times I've twigged to a Nesbo formula. That did not detract in any way from the book and there were still plenty of Nesbo zigs when I was ready to zag.

In short, this is an excellent book and this review has not imparted any of the story line. Sometimes that is the best way to start a book. So download this gem and start listening.

57 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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My favorite Nesbo

Where does The Son: A Novel rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have listened to hundreds, but this is one of my favorites, and definitely my favorite of Jo Nesbo's books.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Definitely on the edge of my seat, every page beyond the first few. It took me a chapter or so to get hooked, but once hooked I couldn't stand to stop. A classic page-turner.

Which character – as performed by Gildart Jackson – was your favorite?

There are many great characters in this book, but the main character is magnetic and redemptive, as he is meant to be.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely.

Any additional comments?

The first thing I want to say is that many reviewers have given bad reviews to this narrator, and I have no idea why. This is a terrific narrator. Beautiful narration. There are very few narrators that I really love, but I LOVE this one. There are so many narrators out there who mispronounce words, are lazy with inflection, or just generally don't try all that hard. Gildart Jackson does a nearly perfect job with this book. Every word is carefully-enunciated and perfectly-pronounced. The different voices are well thought-out and fleshed-out, believable and full of meaning. He is intelligent, believable, concise, precise, and extremely literate. I really don't know what people think they are talking about.

As for the book, it's far and away my favorite of Nesbo's books. Is it formulaic? Yes. But masterfully-so, and perfectly-written, without a spare word or unedited passage. The pace is ideal and it is engaging on all sorts of emotional and moral levels. I am an optimist who loves dark Norwegian literature, so I guess I've found my ideal book. It is a perfect cliffhanger, written with sardonic humor, sensitivity, love, and an odd kind of hope. I love everything about this book. Don't miss it.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Maybe The Best Mystery Novelist Anywhere

Any one following my reccomendations will know what a huge fan I am of Nesbo's Harry Hole series. That said I was a bit reticent to purchase this one based on some reviews and the publisher's summary. Fortunately I came accross Gail's review and she persuaded me to take the plunge.

The beginning chapters, which are critical to understanding the mystery of the main character, were a bit tedious for me. I may have given up had it not been for my confidence in Nesbo's writing. Somewhere soon after the first few chapters, a remarkable sense of purpose reveals itself to the son as well as to the reader. As the story unravels so does the suspense. This is a fantastic story.

The Son is a complex story of betrayal, shame, pennance, masterful revenge. It involves a great deal of great police work, with remarkable characters.

Gildart Jackson does a great job with the narration.

This is easily a five star book for me!

49 people found this helpful

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Even Better Than Previous Nesbos!

Is it because these people way up there in the North of Europe have so many loooong nights? Is that why their novels are so dark and cold? This one is pure Nesbo. Which is to say... captivating to the point of kidnapping your attention away from the rest of life.

Now... this starts slowly... the way winter comes on, y'know? But all at once you're in and wandering around inside of Nesbo's full-gust imagination. And Gildart Jackson has a voice that seems to grab its air from an impending thunderstorm. Y'know... a sense of oncoming menace but always just faintly felt.

Liked this production and, didn't see the ending coming, yet it held together like nighttime blood pooled outside during Nesbo's Northern European winters.

24 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Nesbo Does It Again

I was sure I was going to miss Harry Hole as the main character, but Nesbo did a wonderful job of providing a fascinating story. There wasn't a single moment during this 17 hour audio book that I thought the story was stuck or too long. This was a very smart story with Nesbo's usual twists and turns at the end. It is on my list to revisit again when I am craving the excellent story-telling of Jo Nesbo. The narrator kept the story moving at the right speed and tone. I think Jackson did a fantastic narration.

My only warning is that you get lots of scary moments and cringe-worthy deaths, but that is what you get with every Nesbo story.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Much more than I expected!

I am a Harry Hole fan, so I expected a good story. This was so much more.

Built on the same format--police, criminals, an evil plot--but unexpected twists and turns with every page. Then the story became more about the people than the plot. Nesbo doesn't write 3-dimensional characters; he takes them even further.

You will never guess the ending!

23 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Off the Charts

Where does The Son: A Novel rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book is, without doubt, one of the finest books in its genre (serial killer, I guess) that I've ever read.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Son: A Novel?

The ending is just astounding, and Nesbo keeps your eyes glued to the page (or your ears fully alert) to the very last word.

Which character – as performed by Gildart Jackson – was your favorite?

The narrator made each and every one of the charters in this book come to life--he is fabulous.

Any additional comments?

I think that a huge nod is also due to the translator of The Son--he or she did a fabulous job. I've read badly translated Scandinavian books, so I know how important this is.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Jo Nesbo never disappoints

If you could sum up The Son: A Novel in three words, what would they be?

It is impossible to summarize any of Jo Nesbo's novels in three words. This is a complex story of police corruption, love, revenge,serial murders....the plot has some contrived twists but it flows. The characters are interesting. I liked "The Snowman" (Harry Hole is already a classic and for good reason) and "Headhunters" better but I certainly enjoyed "The Son".

Who was your favorite character and why?

Nesbo did a good job in developing the key character in this story, who is not necessarily "The Son". The anti-hero here is a middle age, ex-gambler, a brilliant detective who has somehow not fulfilled his promising professional beginnings. I was also fascinated by "The Son"; this is a character that the reader can read into...

Have you listened to any of Gildart Jackson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I consider Jackson's reading adequate, although I did not necessarily liked the way in which he chose to read dialogue for the female characters.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I am a fast reader and listener and love to "binge" but I do not find Nesbo's novels amenable to "one sitting" readings. His plots are very detailed and complex and I need time to digest them.

Any additional comments?

I recommend this book. Nesbo writes well thought out, high quality crime fiction.
His books never fail to provoke and entertain. This book, like "Headhunters", give us a break from Harry (which some of us may not necessarily want). This is not an exeptional Nesbo....but is still great crime fiction.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Entertaining and gripping

This is the first book I've read by Jo Nesbo and if his other books are this good I'll be reading a lot more. “The Son” reminded me a lot of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy in that it is a revenge fantasy (and it's always better to leave revenge in the realm of fantasy in my opinion). But it is satisfying to sometimes see the bad guys get what they deserve and "The Son" does that in spades.
If you are looking for fiction that is believable you probably want to look elsewhere because this book demands significant suspension of belief. I am willing to do that when the story is this compelling and the characters are well drawn and resemble real humans. Some reviews emphasize the graphic violence in "The Son" and it is a pertinent warning, although I don’t think there is any more blood and guts than any other books of this genre.
The narrator is competent. I didn’t love the narration but I think it was just a matter of personal preference because I can’t find fault with it. The narrator did not interfere with the enjoyment of this book, which is my bottom line. All in all I agree with the other folks who recommend spending a credit on this one.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Did NOT like this narrator

I really liked this story in the typically dark Scandinavian murder tradition, but the narrator was one of the most wooden readers I've ever listened to. In places it really ruined the story for me. I will avoid Gildart Jackson in the future.

23 people found this helpful