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VINE VOICEon 12 December 2009
Extra Information: The first two books for this Harry Hole series The Bat Man and The Cockroaches have not been produced for translation at this time. If you were to start this series my recommendation would be from third book The Redbreast. The series then follows through in order Nemesis, The Devil's Star,The Redeemer which will then bring everyone up to date for the release of The Snowman March 2010.

Review - Nemesis (Harry Hole, Fourth Book)

Nemesis is a suspenseful, tightly complex twisted plot, full of illusion, nothing is as it seems. Jo Nesbø once again captivates us from the opening chapter with crystal clear visuals, letting our imagination take pictures of everything happening second by second. Were all standing in a bank queue; a robber walks in and quickly controls the area. He directly stands before a female bank cashier she's given twenty five seconds for him to receive his money, when he doesn't get the cash on time; six seconds too late, she's executed at point blank range, the robber escapes leaving no forensic evidence. Harry Hole is assigned to the case, all he has as a lead is grainy CCTV footage, a playback of the crime in slow motion, what he needs is a fatal mistake, just one discrepancy, until then the robber continues his spree of evil across Oslo.

Meanwhile Harry's girlfriend is in Moscow fighting for custody of her son. An old flame of Harry's gets in touch, they decide to meet up. The first part of the evening remains clear but as the night continues things become blurry with a complete touch of memory loss, how did he make it home? A phone call from a colleague brings nothing but more bad news, his ex has been found in her bed its an apparent suicide. Harry sets about to cover tracks while trying to unravel that fateful evening but as he starts to receive strange e-mails, he realizes someone wants to play a deadlier game!

Nemesis spirit of divine retribution. Jo Nesbø gives us a real brain teasing puzzle that's thrilling and gripping, just when you thought you had it; the plot twists and turns and takes us in many direction with art of trickery, manipulation. This book comes with all things dark, shady characters, crooked policeman, dirty family secrets and sibling rivalry, scars run deep, it's a marvelous story of betrayal and revenge.

Love this author work his very descriptive always changing the view, different reflections and it also comes with brilliant characterization, clear insight, observation and mannerism of people. Harry Hole is a compelling character to read, If you're reading about Harry for the first time, expect a loner, an alcoholic full of cynicism, who tends not to fit in with the office crowd but that's what he prefers, rubbing just about anybody up the wrong way, but he remains likeable. It's that touch of humour that Jo Nesbø adds to his characters and chapters (titles) which gives the novels an edge that rolls so easily into these thrillers, it translates into an English dry sense of humour and flows nicely into all the stories intertwining.

For anyone starting this series I would always recommend from The Redbreast and then following the series through with this book; Nemesis, The Devil's Star and finally The Redeemer. I read all books as they were published out of order which caused no problems either; but to get the full feel of the characters who come and go and references to other story lines it always best to take it from the top.

With added news reports from the Afghanistan War giving us a sense of time making this novel a modern day contemporary thriller another hugely enjoyable read to this series. Highly Recommended

Also adding here a thank you to Don Bartlett for the clear translation in the series.

Andrea Bowhill
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on 25 March 2008
Tricky things translations: does the book you're reading carry the authentic voice of the writer, or has it become coloured by the translator? All I can say is that author Jo Nesbo appears to have been well served by Don Bartlett, the man chosen to render this Norwegian novel into English. Set largely in Oslo, 'Nemesis' is a tremendous read. It's full of everything the reader of crime fiction wants: false trails, neat twists, a complex plot. Every time you feel you've got a handle on one of the cases investigated, Nesbo confounds you with another twist you didn't see coming.

The staples of a great many British/American crime novels are in here: the flawed ex-alcoholic detective (the unfortunately named Harry Hole), internicine divisions within the investigating police department, a criminal mastermind still pulling strings from within prison... but Nesbo's writing transcends these cliches, and it's a genuinely thrilling, totally refreshing book, with a rich atmosphere that permeates every page. Scandinavians have a completely different mentality to the British, and this helps make the characters all the more compelling.

Nesbo's other previously translated books, 'The Devil's Star' and 'The Redbreast' are now high on my 'to buy' list and I greatly look forward to reading them.
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Nemesis is the fourth Harry Hole novel (pronounced something like "Huller", I recall reading somewhere), and the third that's been translated into English. And it's difficult to find a review that doesn't make note of that. You'd think publishers would listen up when people moan about this issue. Then, Nesbo's risen quite quickly in the crime fiction league tables, so they must be doing something right. Or: Nesbo's growing popularity is a result of the undeniable quality of the books, regardless of the quirky order you're forced to read them in. I prefer to think it's the latter option. Because, to be frank, they are all so damn good.

Nemesis begins with a bank robbery. The teller is given 25 seconds to hand over the money. She does it within the time, but the robber raises the gun to her head and shoots her anyway. Then he escapes, having left no forensic evidence whatsoever.

Meanwhile, while Harry's girlfriend is in Moscow fighting for custody of her son, Harry hooks up with an old flame, Anna. As you do if you're an alcoholic cop on the route to trouble. He spends the night with her, but come the morning when he wakes up in his own bed, he can't remember a thing. Later on, she is found dead in her apartment, an apparent suicide. But Harry smells a rat. And as the bank robberies continue, he must quietly investigate Anna's death without drawing attention to himself. But that'll be difficult. Because someone's sending Harry strange emails. Someone who knows...

Jo Nebso really is a remarkably good crime-writer. The nearest British comparison is Ian Rankin, but there are many areas where Nesbo is simply better. He may not capture Oslo in quite the same way as Rankin does Edinburgh, or have quite the same... thickness, in his portrayal of periphery characters, but his plots are immense, thrilling beasts, and Hole is just as compelling a character as Rebus if not moreso. And Nesbo is just as good a writer, with just as compelling an insight into human beings. So far, none of Nesbo's novels have clocked in at under 450 hardback pages, and it's hard to imagine even Rankin sustaining a plot for that long in quite the same way. Writhing basilisks, there's always a new twist. The fact that he can sustain a plot for so long, constantly cutting it up and confounding expectations, is remarkable, and made all 474 pages of Nemesis a complete pleasure. To sustain the suspense, the pace, the tension, the interest, over so long, and to offer excitement from page one, is a stunning achievement. He shows a constant talent to surprise and shock, to pull the rug out from under you again and again in an almost Deaver-esque way, but manages to do it (unlike Deaver) in a way that doesn't feel contrived or as if you're just watching a particularly well-made but heartless piece of clockwork. There's a passion for the genre here, and it comes across in spades.

Nemesis is as thrilling and gripping as his previously would lead you to hope. Harry may be your stereotypical alcoholic cop, but he still manages to feel completely original and as engaging as this kind of protagonist is able to be, which is rare, given that the genre is as saturated with them as their blood is with alcohol. A brilliant thriller rife with violence and vengeance, it may be lengthy but you won't want it to end.
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VINE VOICEon 11 October 2010
I previously read both 'The Redbreast' and 'The Snowman' which I both enjoyed. However, I felt that Nemesis fell short of these other two which were both good. In this novel there are two main plot threads. The first involves a serial bankrobber and the second involves the apparent murder of one of Inspector Hole's former girlfriends. These are tenously linked by the character of Raskol, a Romany and career criminal, who is related to the dead woman and has detailed inside knowledge of the world of the armed criminal. There is also the ongoing thread of rogue detective Tom Waaler and Harry Hole's continuing search to bring the killer of Hole's former colleague to justice, a thread which was started in 'The Redbreast'. The major reason is that I thought this volume didn't reach the standard of the other two is that for me the plotting and characters' motivations here were rather unbelievable resulting in what I perceived as plot flaws. Unfortunately it is difficult to elaborate without plot spoilers. Anyway, I find the character of Harry Hole, the Rebus of Oslo, and his continuing rivalry with Waaler and Iversson interesting enough to carry on and read 'The Devil's Star'. Incidently, as others have noted, the series has been issued out of sequence in English translation. As I understand it 'The Redbreast' was the first, 'Nemesis' the second and 'Devil's Star' the third, although they haven't been published in this order in the UK. Ordinarily this may not matter, but it does here because the Waaler story line provides a continuous thread and therefore they really need to be tackled in the order they were written. This seems a puzzling publishing decision.
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on 19 April 2008
Having read all three novels by Jo Nesbo as they have been released thus completely out of order, I have still found each one brilliant. I would thoroughly recommend all three. Harry Hole the main character may have an odd name, but he is a complex protagonist who I found fascinating. An alcoholic and a bit of a loner, he is still very likable. Each novel has drawn me into his world and just as I think I have worked out the plot it twists another way. Intriguing story lines, beautifully written and completely satisfying. I would urge you to read these books. Norwegian writing at its best.
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I was eagerly awaiting the follow-up to Redbreast, which was a fantastic novel, and was not disappointed. Some less inspired writers would find material for at least 2 or 3 different books in that big one ! Nesbo manages very skilfully to merge these different strands into one riveting, tense narrative. I would not recommend it to people in search of light crime reading obviously but definitely to anyone enjoying a strong, solid and involving story to dip in. Contrary to other reviewers, I found the bleak, cold background of Oslo excellent and atmospheric. Again, if it's sun and sand you're after, this is the wrong book. But for a real feel of the North, perfect !
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on 25 October 2008
My first Jo Nesbo book and I've just ordered two more. Took me a while to get in to it because of the Norwegian references and detail but, to be fair, it did state this at the beginning of the book. Didn't want to put it down because of all the twists and changes in direction and would happily recommend this to any crime loving reader. Excellent way to spend a couple of hours.
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VINE VOICEon 16 May 2010
A detective who;
Is a recovering alcoholic with the occasional lapse
Doesn't get on with most of his colleagues
Has a very tangled and difficult personal life.
Defies his superiors and gets into all sorts of bother
Despite all this is the brilliant maverick who ends up solving the case through some inspired insight not available to others.

Yes, Harry Hole (possibly the worst name for a crime fiction hero ever) is a veritable cornucopia of detective clichés.

Let me add a few clichés of my own to describe this book.

Intelligent, enthralling, page-turner, gripping, thrilling; in other words just a fantastic read.

Jo Nesbo creates a real believable world in this novel. There is a real sense of place and the reader feels as if he is walking down the streets of Oslo with Harry Hole. It is one of those novels where I really felt as if I was living in a world created by the author.

The plot is great too, with a plethora of twists and turns; mostly unexpected but all believable. The characterisation is similarly excellent with an excellent supporting cast of characters all of whom have interesting slants on life and the story unfolding around them. Relationships seem like the real world with a mixture of the petty, the dislikeable and the noble.

This is a truly excellent novel, brilliantly written (and a round of applause please for the translator, Don Bartlett) which kept this reader hooked throughout. I'll have to go and read the rest of the series now. I simply could not recommend this highly enough.
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on 4 January 2012
I purchased a book called the Snowman first and then realised that whilst each is a stand alone story, with good twists and turns, it is far better to read them in the right order, as some things flow thro-out the books(So far). I then ordered all of the Jo Nesbo books on amazon. They are a very good read and look forward to the next one being printed.
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on 1 February 2012
Book 2 in the Harry Hole series (English version according to

This is the second book in the Oslo trilogy although one wonders if it is the 3rd or 4th book written in the series, actually it all depends where you source your information. The order in which you read them is somewhat irrelevant, they have not been translated in the same order they were originally written. 'Nemesis' is a thrilling, gripping and brilliant thriller, a bit lengthy but well worth the time.

The main plot is fortified with a multitude of sub-plots creating plenty of mystery and intrigue, this one opens with a bank robbery creating instant tension. Cloaked in a balaclava, the armed suspect grabs a teller and demands the bank manager open the safe within 25 seconds or else'.. All hell breaks loose and in all the confusion the suspect escapes from under the nose of the police, leaving them red faced and empty handed.

Investigator Harry Hole of Crime Squad is known for his drinking problem and his knack of rubbing his superiors the wrong way, however it is decided he work the case in collaboration with Robberies Unit. Harry's strong character takes him on a tangent that leaves the other department out in left field. Harry convinces his boss to give him more rope, so he and his partner Beate Lonn, a promising young video analyst, can work their own theory. Beate discovers discrepancies in CCTV footage, this leads to clues that up until now had been overlooked, and this eventually proves to be the game changer.

This clever book has so much going on it would take a book in itself to summarise. There are many twists and turns, dozens of red herrings and a pile of dead bodies. At one point the investigation brings Harry to Brazil, in another instance he looks into a gang of gypsies and still another he delves into the lives of cheating spouses and jealous brothers, this just covers only a few leads he had to follow. There are so many layers, it is a mind game to piece everything together and make sense of it all. I took it as a challenge and went with the flow and enjoyed every tense moment. It all becomes clear at the end.

This book is complicated, immensely rewarding and an enjoyable suspense filled mystery
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