The Redbreast Mass Market Paperback – 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
But the men of Judah, from the Jordan as far as Jerusalem, remained loyal to their king."
-- 2 Samuel 20:2
This is one of my very favorite police procedural stories, beautifully enriched by a deep dive into a part of the history of World War II that's not well known outside of Norway.
What does it mean to be loyal? That's the overall theme of this book and Mr. Nesbo provides some pretty interesting fictional food for self-examination. As you read this book, put yourself in the place of each character and ask yourself what you would do.
Harry Hole is that most useful of all detectives, one who is human . . . oh so human, so that we step back from admiring the detective to be astonished by the echoes of vivid reality portrayed for us. As a reader, it can be terribly easy to underestimate this book. True writing craft doesn't show its care, and Mr. Nesbo is astonishingly good at making a brilliant story seem like just so much ordinary potatoes until the cymbals clap together and jolt you into jaw-dropping amazement at what you've just read.
This is the first Harry Hole book I've read, and I can hardly wait to read the next one. The Redbreast ends in such a way that the possibilities for future plots are enhanced . . . rather than restricted by the events in this remarkable story.
This is a complex Norwegian thriller, a fabulous modern day mystery influenced by captivating and informative flashbacks from events and roles Norwegians were forced into during WW11.
The story begins with Harry Hole, the protagonist, a gifted policeman, who caused his department a high profile embarrassment and was subsequently relegated to surveillance work monitoring neo-Nazi activities, a punishment Harry quickly turns into a new challenge.
Harry''s speculative mind and acquired skills are just what is needed when word on the street surfaces that someone in the underworld is looking for a very particular vintage sniper rifle. He knows he is on the right track when a former Nazi sympathiser is found silenced with his throat cut and victims of the vintage sniper rifle start to accumulate. From the very first the reader follows the path that Harry takes and also the path the sniper takes, creating a unique suspense, a proverbial high gear cat and mouse game .
The tale''s WW11 tread slowly interweaves into the main as the pages go by. This is a page-turner at its best with narratives that move between Harry's present day inquiries and the Eastern front in 1944, where a small group of Norwegian Nazis with their own agenda are fighting alongside the Germans and at some point switch their allegiance to Russia and become part of the Resistance.
The plot is a gripping tale of political intrigue, love and a serial killer with multiple personalities. This fairly long novel is character driven, a rich creation brilliantly composed with every key stroke.Read more ›
I decided to start with REDBREAST because it is the first book of his Harry Hole series that has been translated in English (although there had been two books previous to this one in Norwegian - and there are references to the hero's previous cases). The story may be a standalone but the character development suffers from this truncation.
The story of REDBREAST steps on two timelines that slowly converge. One is the story of a group of young Norwegian Nazis fighting on the side of the Germans during WWII. The other is a mess of a police story where a mistake prone Harry Hole stumbles onto a case of the import of a vintage (and extremely expensive) sniper rifle and then manages to fumble most clues and miss a number of opportunities to solve the mystery long before its climax.
I am not going to continue with any more books by this writer. The narration feels forced, with a number of mood-killing reality TV references, predictable stereotypes and one-page chapters. What is worse, the characters are both underdeveloped and internally inconsistent. Nesbo is clearly not in Larsson's league.
I gave the book an extra star for cantor. When the Germans themselves try to squiggle out of their national shame of supporting Nazism (not to mention still avoiding paying their WWII debts), it was brave for Nesbo to admit that the majority of Norwegians in the 1940's indeed supported the National Socialists and were willing collaborators of Hitler's vision.
Unfortunately, the rest of the book does not justify the admission price.
Most recent customer reviews
This is the first Jo Nesbo novel for me. The Redbreast was recommended to me after reading The Millennium series by Stieg Larsson. Read morePublished 5 months ago by steel link
Interresting analogy with the redbrest bird, it's resilience, through out the narative of this complicated and captivating story.Published 15 months ago by Pierre Lambert
As usual with Jo Nesbo's books there are lots of twists and turns and he has you guessing right until the end 'whodunit'.Published 17 months ago by AvidReader
Great book and fully recommended, it should be noted that I am a big Jon Nesbo fan. this book keeps you guessing all of the time and is full of surprises. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Ken Foxcroft
Superb example of the Nordic fiction so deservedly popular today.
His works are all a surprise at the end, never quite guessed till it's over.
For a first novel, Nesbo's 'The Redbreast' offers a reader everything he or she might want in a psychological thriller: an intricate and well-managed plot, well-honed characters,... Read morePublished on May 30 2013 by Ian Gordon Malcomson