The Redeemer is the fourth book in translation by Jo Nesbo and he captures our imagination with this book by bringing us readers into the storyline twelve years prior to the main plot. We start with the rape of a fourteen year old girl that takes place at a Salvation Army summer camp in Norway. Although we know there was a rape we are not given clues who committed this act or disclosure of the victim. In a second separate event we are also given the story of a young Croatian boy caught up in history of Croatia and it's political cruelties his known by others as the little redeemer.
Current Day: Oslo, shots ring out at a Christmas Concert, a volunteer dressed as a Salvation Army soldier is executed by a man in the crowd. Less than an hour later Inspector Harry Hole is at the crime scene and with hardly any leads to go on in the hunt for his faceless killer his luck's about to change, the current snow storm that has hit Oslo has grounded flights. Stranded, the Killer looks for a place to stay and keeps a low profile but as the cold night draws on he also discovers he made a fatal mistake his shot the wrong man. With his contract job still pending he makes the most of his time in Oslo and decides to finish his work. He takes refuge for a while with the Salvation Army trying to hide behind the seamy side, where drug dealers and dope heads sell their clothes for fixes even if it could mean life or death in a freezing city. As twisted events unfold Harry suddenly finds himself looking for two types of psychopaths an assassin and a rapist; on the wintry streets of Oslo it suddenly becomes an increasing desperate situation for all.
Fantastic reading! all the ingredients of evil in one book, lies, deceit, revenge, biblical passages, manipulation, bribery, corruptions, violence and more twists and turns than a twisty-turny thing! I will never look at my vacuum cleaner in the same light again!
The Author Jo Nesbo does a wonderful job in this book with his incredible observation, not only of people with their thoughts and feelings making all characters seem so very real, but also about every day life and little things in general. Subjects such as politics, giving us the good/bad sides to his city, level of corruptions in Oslo and of course if you haven't been to Oslo, like me, he gives us those clear visuals, a sense of place for our minds to work towards. You can clearly tell when reading through his interviewed people thoroughly, tapping into different areas also adding parts of history to build the story. He remains very descriptive throughout his writing, which is something I love more than anything and it really adds and helps us readers use our imagination to lose ourselves in the whole dark twisted plot.
I actually refer to this book as Harry new start, his ex girlfriend is very much in the background and he also managed to get himself to AA meetings and stay soberish for this book. But his still having that constant battle since he requires to carry a hip flask with his favorite tipple as a safety precaution. Even though there are three others books before this one; you can start straight from here, but I would always recommend from the beginning. There will be references to other characters in passing but explanations on them are given throughout.
Harry Hole remains a compelling character to read; a romantic with a very cynical side, he also realizes he needs to confront and question his own weaknesses. After reading the first three books The Redbreast
and The Devil's Star
you will learn Harry's Achilles heal is alcohol, his an alcoholic. His job requires him to live between good and evil in his every day life, but between the lines, could his own addictions and rule breaking finally make him face those two sides of good/evil, which one will finally take hold of him first. Other nice touches to Harry's character, he is, his own man, clearly likes women, well read and he has his love of music and films. But something I noticed over all others right from the first book, Norwegian Hole maybe, but my favorite characteristic in him would be directness of conversation spun with an English dry sense of humor.
For all books that I've read so far in this series, the stories are fascinating to read, constantly moving forward and the plots interwoven with smaller stories throughout bringing in the old and new characters along the way keeping everything fresh with the right pace, suspense, tension and interest. The Author holds the excitement from one page to the next and knows how to surprise, twist and shock.
The Redeemer maybe 460 pages but it's entertaining all the way especially loving the twists. It engages the mind to the very end which clearly makes this book another winner to add to a great series.
Also adding here a thank you to Don Bartlett who gave us all the clear translation of each book in this series. Next in translation The Snowman
released March 2010.