Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Review: Police by Jo Nesbø, translated by Don Bartlett

The Harry Hole series is interesting in that it hasn't been published in order in the U.S., and it doesn't seem to need to matter in what order it's read, and yet Harry has an interesting backstory. So this is the tenth book. The only other book of his I've read is The Snowman which is book #7 in the series. (and I own The Leopard which is #8).

In Police, Harry seems to have conquered his demons for the most part, but at a great cost. He has quit being a police officer. That was the very essence of his being, and he was the best, but that was what drove his demons, and so he has quit, in order to salvage his relationship with Rakel. And he picked a bad time because someone starts killing police officers in Oslo, on the anniversary of unsolved murders. One of the officers who was on the case is killed in a way that reproduces the original murder. And Harry isn't on the case. In fact, he doesn't appear in the book until more than 100 pages in. But of course he does have to help, particularly when it's his friends and former colleagues whose lives are in danger.

Nesbø is fantastic at suspense. Occasionally it's a little forced, as these people never seem to turn around and look to see who's come in the room, despite sometimes having been surprised by a murderer. And other times it's the narrator who will refer to "the man" for quite a while before finally revealing if it's a bad guy or an innocuous good guy whose been made to seem menacing simply by being unnamed. Contrived it may be, but it's nevertheless extremely effective. I cannot read these books and go straight to sleep. Nor can I read them alone at night (at least not if there's a scary bit. I can read the more bureaucratic parts, but you just don't know what the next chapter will bring.) He keeps me guessing up to the end, and I am happy ignoring the fact that more murders have occurred in Nesbø's fiction than in all of Norway in like the last 20 years. Funny how such a peaceful region is popular for such violent fiction.

I checked this book out of the library.

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