33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
A good second half hidden behind a slow beginning,
This review is from: The Redbreast: A Harry Hole thriller (Oslo Sequence 1) (Paperback)Far from being 'the next Steig Larsson', Jo Nesbo's first Harry Hole novel is set in Norway and other than being in the crime genre and translated into English has nothing in common with the author he is so frequently compared to. I've also found out after reading that this is meant to be the third book in the series (the first two not being available in English), which explains the lack of introduction to the characters.
Hole's suspicions are aroused following reports of a rare firearm being smuggled into the country, however his investigation is constantly blocked by his bosses. The first half of the book is painfully slow, and the set-up described in the blurb does not even finish until over halfway through the book. During the early portions, half the story takes place in 1999, and the other half in the 1940s during the second world war. The narrative flicks between the two time periods with nothing to connect the two and is quite confusing until you get used to it.
Once a defining event hits just after the halfway point, and some new characters dropped in, the story picks up, and becomes readable - before this I only found myself able to read a chapter at a time as the plot was moving so slowly. It took me a week to read the first half compared with a day for the second. The story finally begun to make sense but there was little to suggest the reader had been meant to work any of it out as they went - the whole mystery had to be spelt out by the characters at the end to make clear what had happened.
The ending itself was abrupt and sudden, with very little follow-up to the climax, and leaves some annoying unresolved plot lines that I can only assume will be picked up in the sequel. I was defiantly going to give up on Nesbo during the first half (and almost considered giving up on this book), but given how it picked up I think I may have a go at the second novel before deciding whether to continue with the series.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Oct 2011 13:29:32 BDT
mr r strong says:
hi, i have just finished redbreast, and although i enjoyed it i agree with your points, would you have any other suggestions as to any similar, but better books like this?
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Oct 2011 14:12:01 BDT
J. R. Johnson-Rollings says:
Hi. A couple of others I've read recently are 'Dead Simple' by Peter James, which is set in Brighton so has the same feel of being somewhere different to most crime stories, and 'The Complaints' by Ian Rankin, which is in Scotland. In terms of Scandinavian crime I can't help much as I've read so little - only these and Steig Larsson's Millenium trilogy, which while I preferred over 'The Redbreast' are a little like Marmite - you either love them or hate them. Hope that helps!
In reply to an earlier post on 19 Dec 2011 11:47:20 GMT
MAUREEN SAUNDERS says:
I agree with you about the slow start and it came as a surprise to me because this was the third of the Harry Hole series that I had read (not in order obviously!).The others (The Snowman and The Leopard) grabbed me from the start and were much more thrilling. Give them a try.
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