Three books in and I can say without doubt now that I am a Jo Nesbo fan and will probably end up reading all his books. To be honest I was probably a fan after reading the first chapter of The Snowman but it’s good to still feel the same a few books in. Normally crime thrillers wouldn’t be my first choice- but these books at 600+ pages are really hard to put down. I’m also quite fussy with chunksters, often preferring shorter books so am especially impressed at how easy these are to get through.
So Norwegian police inspector Harry Hole returns in Nemesis, the second in the series of books available in English. I read the first, The Redbreast earlier in the year (that was my least favourite of the three so far) and Nemesis sits in the middle. It will be interesting to see how the next two go and if the tempo changes at all. The fifth in the series, The Snowman, seemed to have a more dramatic style, I’m wondering if there will be a gradual build up towards that.
Hole is a struggling alcholic with unorthodox methods and a high crime solving success rate. His peers are not without their faults, minor and major and on the whole they tolerate Harry only because they have to.
The parallel cases taking up Hole’s attention in Nemesis are a bank robbery/murder and the murder of Anna, an old flame of Harry’s. To complicate things (there always seem to be complications in Harry Hole’s life) Harry finds himself implicated in one of these murders.
I’m noticing a few patterns now in the series, one being that Harry becomes personally involved in the murders or with the murderers he is investigating and the second that he has an especially skilled female officer assisting him in his cases. I’m not sure how realistic the personal involvement each time is but I don’t mind, it makes for an exciting read.
Hole’s assistant in Nemesis is Beate, young and talented, she has the ability to remember every face she has ever seen. Her father had been a police officer before being killed in the line of duty and it’s not hard to figure out that this will be relevant at some point in the story.
There are a host of other characters including a cunning inmate with knowledge crucial to the case and an ongoing storyline that started in The Redbreast. On that point I would recommend starting with The Redbreast for anyone thinking of trying the series, each book has a separate case and is quite readable on its own but there are characters that reappear with spoilers if the books are read out of order.
Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett
2002, 695 pages