• The Son

  • A Novel
  • By: Jo Nesbø
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 17 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (2,117 ratings)
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The Son  By  cover art

The Son

By: Jo Nesbø
Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
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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

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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.

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62 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!

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50 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.

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25 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.

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23 people found this helpful

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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!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Another great book from this terrific writer.

Jo Nesbø impresses me to no end. I love the Harry Hole series and didn't know what to expect with this one. I thought without Harry it would be second rate. I was SO wrong.

This is simply an engaging mystery. Yes, again it's dark like his other books. But the characters are so engaging I could over look it. (Yes, they are implausible. That's why it's fiction.)

There are plenty of reviews on this site with more detail about the book. I don't need to rehash it. What I can tell you is this: if you're a fan of authors like Dennis Lehane, Stieg Larsson, and Adrian McKinty then you need to give Nesbø a listen.

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20 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Glad I gave it a second chance

I bailed out on this book about two hours in, but came back later and started over, and I was glad I did. This was the first Nesbø novel I have read and I was interested enough is his dark, psychological plot that I want to read more of his work.

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16 people found this helpful

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WoW! Hole-y Transcends "Flawed Detective Formula"

It took me awhile to realize (get) the thundering challenge Nesbø initially and so deftly hid within the usual 'flawed detective' ("FD") formula. Upon entering the world of this book and for quite a while thereafter, I thought it was worthwhile enough being there to stick around, but had to work through some initial disappointment that Nesbø wasn't yet again leading me into a darkly terrifying realm I could only endure by knowing I could escape then reenter, when renewed courage allowed, by simply closing the book or turning off the sound (i.e. Nesbø's "The Snowman"). Most all of these FD books surround the reader with sinners, saints, guilt, revenge, corruption, murder and/or inane mismanagement from the top, etc.; and I initially thought this book was riding this wave until something jigged and veered from the norm and I suddenly pictured myself at Pipeline in Hawaii grooving along thinking I'd soon be in the blue tunnel only to realize I had mis-"judged" everything and was falling off the lip to the exposed coral so faaaaaar below with that wall of water following to pound down, yikes...fortunately one can rewind an audio book and get a do-over. IMHO, Nesbø subtly challenges the readers mind to step out from just watching like a sheeple hating the evil and corruption to at least consider ...well, just when is unchallenged, ignored, too Big or Powerful to Jail, governmental, Criminal individual or gang, Corporate, Banker/Broker evil-doer harm enough for citizens to say enough is enough! If the appropriate powers ignore and will not implement "justice", when if ever should an individual or rise up and would they be justified in doing so? In the old days I watched for and applauded "Random acts of Kindness" ; now I am starting to applaud the few Random acts of civil disobedience I see reported more and more often...but I digress. You should like this book even if you just want to escape with a good book...no civil disobedience, or citizen revenge required. You will care deeply about many characters you meet, there are intelligent, plausible and surprising twists and shifts of viewpoints. I wish I could bet each reader $5 they will not guess the biggest surprise near the end...Brilliantly crafted...Bravo, Mr. Nesbø !

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Not his best, but still very, very good

It's hard to review Jo Nesbo novels. One tends to compare them against the author's previous work and it's hard to measure up. I did not think this was one of his best (it's not Snowman). Some of the plot twists are a bit too farfetched and there is never any good reason given for Sonny's ethereal qualities. (Did not really felt the novel needed him to be such an other-worldly guy...Simple goodness would have been just fine.) Still, the story moves with unrelenting pace and the mystery is a good one. Yes, I suspected how it would end sooner than I would have liked but I think that's simply because I am aware of Nesbo's tricks!

If you have not read Nesbo before, try Snowman first. If you are a fan of Nesbo, by all means download The Son. And enjoy!

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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.

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