"A FINE NOVEL, AMBITIOUS IN CONCEPT, SKILLFUL IN EXECUTION, AND GROWN-UP IN ITS VIEW OF PEOPLE AND EVENTS....RANKS WITH THE BEST OF CURRENT AMERICAN CRIME FICTION." -WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
Detective Harry Hole embarrassed the force, and for his sins he's been reassigned to mundane surveillance tasks. But while monitoring neo-Nazi activities in Oslo, Hole is inadvertently drawn into a mystery with deep roots in Norway's dark past-when members of the nation's government willingly collaborated with Nazi Germany. More than sixty years later, this black mark won't wash away, and disgraced old soldiers who once survived a brutal Russian winter are being murdered, one by one. Now, with only a stained and guilty conscience to guide him, an angry, alcoholic, error-prone policeman must make his way safely past the traps and mirrors of a twisted criminal mind. For a hideous conspiracy is rapidly taking shape around Hole-and Norway's darkest hour may still be to come.
"THE PACING IS SWIFT. THE PLOT IS PRECISE AND INTRICATE. THE CHARACTERS ARE INTRIGUIING....SURPRISINGLY WITTY AT TIMES AND OFTEN GRIM. BUT IT'S ALWAYS SMART." -USA TODAY
Harry Hole, newly promoted inspector for the Oslo-based national Security Service, is a surly, wounded sort, an emotional wreck. Introduced in Norwegian author Jo Nesbo's first novel, The Devil's Star, Hole lives alone, drinks too much, and is congenitally unable to relate to his fellow officers, save for his dependable partner, Ellen Gjelten. But Hole is good at doggedly and bravely solving crimes, and here he confronts a half dozen separate murders and felonies that initially seem unrelated. Of course, in prime Ross McDonald fashion, all interlock after a lot of globe-hopping footwork. Events both ultra-contemporary and lost in the mists of World War II usher in the headline-ready themes of the novel, in the manner of recent revelations concerning, say, GŁnter Grass's service in the Waffen SS. Nesbo's prose -- in a taut translation by Don Bartlett -- is delivered in compact, cohesive chapters that tantalize the reader without giving the game away. Redbreast defies categories like noir or police procedural, with more leisurely pacing and character unfolding than is common in domestic U.S. productions. And yet, this whole mode owes its very existence to American pioneers, and Nesbo's transnational stylings pay homage to this lineage, in everything from the faintly ribald name of his protagonist to an exegesis delivered by one character on the roots of Norway's America-philia. And could it be possible that the name of Harry Hole's boss, Bjarne Moller, is meant to echo -- Barney Miller? --Paul Di Filippo