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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2009
Jo Nesbo's last 3 books were almost like a Trilogy, ending with Devils Star, so I was intrigued to find out what was going to happen next in Harry Hole's life.
The Redeemer does not disappoint. It's really the start of a new beginning. There's a new police chief for starters and inevitably he clashes with Hole.
I won't give too much away about the story except to say it's complex, and with enough twists to keep you guessing right til the very end.
If your a fan of the Jo Nesbo series you will not want to miss this. Even if you're not, it is still a great story in it's own right.
NB. This version is paperback, but its as big as a hardback.
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102 of 108 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 1 October 2009
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,Nemesis 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.

Andrea Bowhill
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2009
A Croatian hitman arrives in Harry Hole's home city of Oslo to assassinate an officer with the Salvation Army. Due to the vagaries of the Norwegian weather the hit man is unable to make his flight out from the city so he is forced to stay overnight. Only then does he realise he's blundered and taken-out the wrong man. At the same time Harry is investigating the apparent suicide of a drug addict.

From this Nesbo develops his plot complexities and takes us through his twists, where each time we believe (or are meant to believe) the hit man has been collared by the law, but hasn't. This is very much Jeffery Deaver territory - see `The Coffin Dancer' for example - but to be fair, Jo's reversals are much less `forced' than a lot of the American writer's. And, although some of the twists in `The Redeemer' are telegraphed, the author still serves up a real stunner at the book's conclusion, that I guarantee you won't see coming.

The book is shot through with real quality, and the whole Salvation Army milieu is brilliantly evoked. He also captures the drug-ridden, seamy underside of Oslo superbly and realistically.

In Harry Hole, he has created another great entry in the grizzled, ex-alcoholic, unlucky-in-love, detectives. In `The Redeemer' Harry joins the AA to resolve his problem - and this brings to mind, among others, James Lee Burke's, Dave Robicheux, and Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder. But, despite occasionally being derivative, Harry Hole is still one of the more multi-faceted and interesting detectives out there. And another plus is the fascinating and believeable back story he establishes for his Croatian hit man.

Such is the regard in which I hold the phenomenal Jo Nesbo, that although I was slightly disappointed with this latest translation, I still think it's worth at least four stars, and I almost gave it five. Gripping, with a superbly drawn sense of place and time, 'The Redeemer' is still good enough to knock the spots off most of the competition.

If you've never read Jo Nesbo before, then 'The Redeemer' would be a good introduction, and may well lead you towards investigating the three previously translated books. However, these form a sort of trilogy and should be read in the correct sequence. All I can say is this writer is now firmly fixed on my list of 'must read' authors, and I'm hungry for more from this world class talent.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 20 May 2012
I did not enjoy this book. It hovered somewhere between not interesting or exciting enough to capture my imagination but yet not bad enough to abandon. I have given it two stars because I suspect that it may have just been a personal preference issue as opposed to being badly written or constructed. I found the writing quite clinical and the only really vivid bits of writing were about the weather, which as the book is set in Norway just made me cold all the time. I didn't care about any of the characters and I wasn't either surprised or particularly interested in the twist. I don't think I'll be reading any more of this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Man's compulsion to do what he considers good and right, even though it requires him to act in ways that society and the law consider morally and legally wrong, permeates this book on all levels, with several characters assuming this role of "Redeemer" in their actions throughout the novel. Norwegian author Jo Nesbo, in this fourth novel of the Harry Hole series to become available in English, introduces three seemingly disparate plot lines in this thriller set in Oslo--a hired assassin from Croatia is fulfilling contract killings in Europe and has just arrived in Oslo for his last job; the Salvation Army, its officers and soldiers, are trying to fulfill their mission by providing food, clothing, and shelter to those most in need of their help, no questions asked, and they are seeking some new leadership; and Harry Hole, an alcoholic police inspector, who is sometimes off-the-wagon, is still trying to find the Big Boss behind the gun-running and related crimes which brought down one of his fellow police inspectors in The Devil's Star, the previous novel in this series.

Murders link the three plot lines, which quickly begin to overlap. To add to the complexity (and sometimes confusion) of this very complex mystery, there are a number of characters who are similar. In the Salvation Army subplot, two brothers look almost identical, and both are in love with the same woman, though one of them may be a dangerous sadist. The woman, Thea, is also a member of the Salvation Army, and her brother Rikard is a major player. Another attractive young woman, the daughter of the Salvation Army Commander, is also involved in the romantic angles, and it is easy to mix up these characters, especially when their roles overlap.

The assassin who has come to Oslo has a characteristic called "hyperelasticity," which enables him to mimic with his facial structure, a number of different facial types, and descriptions of this person vary significantly when he commits a murder, raising questions about his true identity. In the third plot, Harry himself is still not exactly stable. Though he seems to be reconciled with the fact that his long-time love, Rakel, has written him off as an unacceptable suitor, Rakel's young son clearly still loves Harry, and Harry seems to be still pining for Rakel. Professionally, he must deal with an attack on one of his men.

Nesbo is a compelling writer, one who has completely mastered the art of creating suspense and propelling the action along. In this novel he does something new, however, creating short action scenes in which he does not always identify the main character, presenting information for the reader to process and hold in the back of his/her mind till another piece of the puzzle is revealed to connect with it. Harry Hole might ring a doorbell, for example, and in the immediate next scene, another person entirely will be about to answer the door. This is a clever technique for involving the reader, but it does sometimes create confusion by forcing the reader to backtrack to keep all the characters and their immediate stories straight. Eventually, the loose ends get tied up, but the extent to which the resolutions are realistic is an open question, and some readers may lose track of all the issues before the conclusion. Nesbo does reflect much of the atmosphere of Oslo and the attitudes of the police, as he has in the past, but overall he has a less broad sociological focus here. Exciting and atmospheric, the novel's scope seems to be narrower than in the previous novels.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2009
For the last three or four years I have been completely converted to Scandinavian Crime Writers. Jo Nesbo writes complicated and convoluted stories, which I find interesting and fascinating.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2009
You can read the Harry Hole novels out of sequence but it is far better to read them in the order they were written.

Sadly the first two of the series are seemingly unobtainable. The Bat Man being the first and The Cockroaches the second were either never translated into English and published or so few copies were printed there are none available second hand. If any one reading this has a copy of these books and wishes to sell or knows where I can get them please let me know.

The first available in English is the Redbreast, followed by Nemesis, next is Devil's Star and last is this one, the Redeemer. I believe the next has been published in Norway, the Snowman, and is to be published in the UK some time next year.

Nemisis was published in English after Devil's Star which is a great shame as the recurring theme of Hole investigating one of his fellow Inspectors kicks off in Redbreast and continues through Nemesis and reaches it conclusion in the Devil's Star.

Nesbo writes some of the best detective thrillers I have ever read. If you know Mankell's Wallander books you will really enjoy Nesbo. You will already be used to dealing with Scandanavian names and places which I found takes some getting used to as does the rather introspective style of writing with the hero examining his flaws and failings throughout the text. This may sound dull but far from it. Nesbo integrates his hero's flaws into the plots and his plots always take you to new and unexpected places.

Read but read after you have read Redbreast etc.

Amazon, if you have any influence with Random House or any other publisher please get Bat Man and the Cockroaches published in English and please get Snowman out as soon as you can!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Jo Nesbo usually produces a taut crime story filled with unexpected turns just to give his anti-hero Inspector Harry Hole a hard time.

Yet again in The Redeemer he succeeds very well. I wasn't too enthusiastic about the opening sequences but, that aside, once Harry moves centre stage, the story develops well. This time around he has a new 'boss' who, of course, gives Harry a rough ride. As ever, Harry is one step ahead, though, once more, people close to him are caught in the crossfire.

His love life remains a problem, his drinking remains a problem, his sense of justice remains a problem but his detective work notwithstanding keeps the reader turning those pages.

Nesbo always manages to convey his Norwegian country and its people in a well presented style, engulfing the reader in the atmosphere of a cold Christmas in Oslo this time.

The motive and resulatnt discovery of why the killings happen is pure Nesbo and it makes one appreciate the style of his writing. Add in the excellent translation from Don Bartlett and, yet again, we have a top class crime thriller from Scandanavia.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
It is Christmas week in Oslo. The streets are filled with shoppers getting ready for the holidays. A small crowd gathers around a Salvation Army band giving a Christmas concert. A shot rings out and the next thing you know a Salvation Army officer is lying dead on the street. Inspector Hole, Nesbo's troubled and lonely police inspector is on the job. Revealing too much of the plot is probably not a good idea for a Nesbo book. One of the pleasures of reading Nesbo's work is seeing how the plot develops. However, I don't think it will spoil much to say that there are one or possibly two plot lines at work here. There may be a professional killer on the loose and there may be a sociopathic killer on the loose. They may be separate individuals or it may be just one.

As the story develops you gradually see Hole's thought and investigative processes at work. He is a troubled man dealing with troubled individuals and groups. The development of the plot and its resolution were each very well drawn and very satisfying.

I liked a number of things about The Redeemer. First and foremost was the plotting. The action starts right away but Nesbo paces the development in a manner that kept me involved and kept me guessing. Some aspects I `got' pretty early on but there were enough twists and turns to keep me guessing and engaged.

Second, and critically for me, you have Inspector Hole taking a critical look at two faces of evil. It is a nuanced look and not one painted with a broad, stereotyped brush. Hole's exploration of both those faces colors his actions and responses to the investigation, the witnesses and the suspect(s). There may be no heroes, but in an imperfect world Hole is forced to make choices,any one of which may properly be cast as choosing between the lesser of two evils.

The writing is brisk, the characters (especially Hole and his colleagues on the force) are portrayed in what appears to me to be a very real fashion and the ending was satisfying and entertaining. All in all, I very much enjoyed The Redeemer. Fans of Nesbo will certainly like it. Fans of "Scandinavian noir" will certainly like it. And fans of good detective fiction will certainly like it.

Jo Nesbo's The Redeemer is another excellent addition to the Inspector Harry Hole series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 18 November 2010
Translated by Don Bartlett from Norwegian, The Redeemer is a suspense thriller based mainly in sub-zero Oslo over the course of about ten days before Christmas and is another in a series built around enigmatic Police Inspector Harry Hole. In this case, he is lead investigator into a contract kill gone wrong; the assassin shoots the wrong man and much of the tale involves his efforts to execute the original target. Both the actual victim and the intended one are officers in the Salvation Army.

While not quite as good as The Snowman in my opinion, this eventually merits a five-star rating despite a slightly frustrating conclusion. In many ways it will be remembered for its ending, because in my case I realised that a lot of very clever deception had been orchestrated by the author throughout all that had gone before. During the middle part of the novel I was beginning to feel that it was dragging on too long, but the ending made up for it. Of course it's difficult to go into any detail about the ending without spoilers, so I shall just say that there was something of a conflict in my mind. The ending was in fact excellent and even memorable but there was just something about it that wasn't completely satisfying, and left something of a question mark hanging over the image of Harry Hole. One thing's for sure though - this wasn't an ending with a neatly tied bow on it, it was one to make you think and draw your own conclusions. About redemption, among other issues. I believe the consequences of Harry Hole's actions are carried over into the next novel in the series, The Leopard.

For characterisation though it can't really be faulted, and this despite the compromises that are presumably created as a result of any translation. That's not to criticise Don Bartlett, it's just that it is a Norwegian story told in English, and I would guess that while the basic ingredients might be the same, the finished product must inevitably differ in some small but noticeable ways. Harry Hole is a great character and as good as any of his peers (such as another 'Harry', Michael Connelly's Bosch) although I wish he had a slightly more interesting or unusual vice than alcohol. It's nit-picking, but sometimes he does seem to be a little too clever at times, working out a killer's unusual methodology rather more quickly than would probably be the case in reality, but that's crime fiction for you. I very much liked Harry Hole's relationship with his former boss Bjarne Moller, one that helps the whole story make sense at the conclusion. A relationship of a different kind is very well drawn too, that being the new one between Hole and Moller's replacement, ex-Special Forces Gunnar Hagen. In fact there are at least half a dozen characters in this novel that the reader can associate with on one level or another, be it like or dislike, respect or scorn.

As for the story itself, well eventually I have to concede that it's a good one even if it did drag on a bit at times. It's a murder mystery I guess, but the identity isn't really the issue as much as the motive; for a long period within the tale I thought I knew everything except the reasoning. Then, and most satisfyingly, I discovered that my thinking had been wrong all along, that I had been deceived, and that doesn't often happen so kudos to Nesbo for pulling it off. It's an intelligent piece of writing that for once has a better ending than beginning or middle. There are numerous sub-plots or story strands, not every one is truly relevant but all make for fascinating reading and always entertain in some way or other. Ultimately it IS about redemption, but not in the way I had expected.

The two Nesbo novels I have now read have convinced me that he is a classy crime fiction thriller writer, so I'm definitely going to get the other three that have so far been translated: The Redbreast, Nemesis and The Devil's Star - and by the way, all past Nesbo novels are currently available from Amazon at attractively low prices (esp on Kindle), check for yourself. It's a slight nuisance that one or two characters in those novels are now known to be dead, because their fates are mentioned in The Redeemer, so if you haven't read a single Nesbo novel yet, start with The Redbreast (I hear it's very good too) and work forwards from there.

As for The Redeemer, it's in the top league as far as I'm concerned and can be safely recommended.

(By the way, the Norwegian pronunciation of 'Hole' is notably different from the English word of the same spelling. It is pronounced Hool-e with the 'e' slightly emphasised as a second syllable. A bit like 'hooler' but cut short a bit.)
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On 13 Dec 2010 23:18:29 GMT
G. J. Oxley says:

Hi OEJ - absolutely excellent review, and I love your title! I'm glad you're getting into Jo Nesbo - I think he's phenomenally good, and I'm greatly looking forward to 'The Leopard' in January; it's one I'll be buying on publication day, and no doubt reading in very short order.

You're sure to enjoy the three other (currently available) translations that you mention, but please read them in the 'correct' order (in the UK they were published out of sequence) as there's an important thread linking them together.

Cheers,

Garry
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