For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
--Job 19:25-26 (NKJV)
For most people the attraction of this book will be to the challenges of being an unconventional, alcoholic police detective experienced by Harry Hole. If you haven't read any of the books in the series before, Harry isn't a poster child for the good influences of serving in the police. He's more akin to Harry Bosch, someone who serves despite his demons.
The Redeemer is that rare work of detective fiction that causes you to reconsider what you know from other perspectives. In this case, Jo Nesbo portrays virtually every kind of potential redeemer you can imagine in the course of this thought-provoking police procedural.
The book also has gritty roots that will remind some series fans of the unforgettable war scenes in The Redbreast.
There are also many story lines carried over from the earlier three books that have been translated into English (The Redbreast, Nemesis, and The Devil's Star). Although I certainly feel you can read this book as a standalone novel, I believe you will gain about a half-star's worth of benefit by having read the other three books first.
To me, one of the most interesting aspects of the book was having it contain so many characters who are involved in the Salvation Army. You get looks into day-to-day life and ambitions that resonated well with what I've read in nonfiction accounts of serving in the Salvation Army.
I was also drawn to the many moral choices that Harry Hole had to make during his investigation.
I hope that more of these novels will become available in English. What a blessing that will be!
One evening during Christmas a Salvation Army man is shot (assassination style) at his collection post. As the police try to find whether this murder is aimed at the Salvation Army as a whole the man's brother is shot at and barely escapes with his life. Now it becomes a family thing and the police want to know which brother was the real target or are they both wanted dead? But when a seemingly unrelated woman's brutal death soon follows the police are stumped as to whether there is any connection. There is an unknown hit man on the loose and the bodies are piling up when another man related to the case kills himself.
An absolutely brilliant piece of crime fiction! Starting out slowly with the first hit and lots of character introductions and generous characterizations filled with background the reader gets to know the people involved. This is a thinking man's mystery, no car chases or helpless females running through the woods with a serial killer chasing after them. No, most of the detection is done inside Harry Hole's head as he pieces the bits of evidence together and his team goes out into the field to bring him answers to his questions. An amazingly intricate plot, I had no idea how this was going to end. Once I had my mind on whodunit a wide curve would set my mind reeling in a different direction and I was completely shocked by the solution. Of course, I found myself set up with a misconception right from the beginning too. True brilliance. Somewhat slower of a read than the slash and dash thrillers I usually read but oh so much more rewarding with it's intelligent plot and real, flawed characters. I'm anxious to go back and read the other's in this series I've not read yet and I so hope the publishers go back and have #1 and #2 in this series translated to English as soon as possible. Highly recommended!
I love mysteries and detective novels - especially series, where you can really come to know the protagonist. The Redeemer was a great new find for me. It's the fourth book in the Harry Hole series by Norwegian Jo Nesbo. It's just been released this month in Canada by Random House.
Harry Hole is a highly effective detective in the Oslo police department. However he is a bit of a rebel - he has a problem with both alcohol and following orders. Because he gets results he is tolerated.
The Redeemer opens with a scene from 1991 at a Salvation Army retreat. A crime is committed but never reported. Fast forward to present day. An unnamed hit man is on his last job - he has decided to call it quits. When the hit man kills the wrong target and a snow storm prevents his escape from the country, Harry Hole isn't far behind. The hit man has limited resources in Norway and Harry is tightening the noose.
I found the first few chapters a bit confusing as the action changed rapidly from character to character, especially as the pronoun he is used for the hit man in the beginning. This cleared up fairly quickly though. Because it is so unique, I found the settings and the attitudes especially interesting. I thought it was very different to use a known religious organization as a main part of the plot. It does showcase the Army's good works, but also paints a portrait of an organization subject to the same issues as any other business. Oslo seems to have an inordinate amount of drug users and the tolerated sale of drugs in a specific area came as a surprise. (haven't yet discovered if that's fact or fiction)
I enjoyed the character of Harry - his flaws make him even more interesting. Other characters are well drawn as well, eliciting sympathy, anger, disgust and pity. The past of the hit man is told in flashbacks, changing our view of him. The ending provides an excellent twist, definitely turning in a direction I had not foreseen.
This was a first rate detective novel - I'll be looking for future Harry Hole novels.
Jo Nesbo has created a series of fast paced mysteries full of flawed characters we care about, the brilliant writing has come to be expected. This book has plotting that is seemless and twists that are as unanticipated as they are believeable. The ending makes sense even though you never see it coming. One of Nesbo's strength as a writer is that he gives you what he gives Harry - you know what he knows when he knows it. It's fun to guess what's going on, but I defy anyone to guess this one before the last few pages.
on September 17, 2013
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.
on April 10, 2013
This Harry Hole novel [termed “Oslo Sequence #4” in the series and the newest to be published in the US] may be an allegory, but it certainly is a high-powered crime story. It begins in Oslo in the days before Christmas when a Salvation Army soldier is shot on a street where he stood by the familiar kettle. Complicating Harry’s investigation efforts is the fact that there are no witnesses despite the crowds attending a nearby street concert, and no suspect, weapon or motive. And to make matters worse, the assassin soon finds out that the victim was not his quarry, so he continues his mission.
The taut writing is supplemented with a broad cast of characters. But more important are the insights into Harry’s psyche. He is still suffering from the death of his partner and the corruption of some of his colleagues who ran an arms supply business right out of police headquarters (an enterprise to which Harry put an end, somewhat to the disdain of some other police officers).
“The Redeemer” is a complex mystery which slowly builds to the point where the reader needs Harry’s help in understanding just what has transpired. Along the way, it is filled with deep observations about junkies, rape, and even Serbian brutality, homelessness and other social issues. It probably is the best in the series to date, and is highly recommended.
"'The Redeemer'" is the 4th book I have read and one of the most captivating so far. Some may shy away from this book because of its size but I personally enjoyed every moment spent reading it. It features Inspector Harry Hole, an alcoholic maverick Oslo detective who has been our compelling protagonist throughout the series so far. This installment is written in a particularly vivid manner with revenge as the major theme.
This brilliantly woven and constructed plot opens with a 12 year flashback to the rape of a 14-year-old girl during a Salvation Army summer training camp. It soon brings us back to the present day murder of a Salvation Army officer in which Inspector Harry Hole and his team have been assigned. The first indications have everybody wondering why the officer was targeted, could this be a case of mistaken identity and is the killer still out there determined to fulfill his contract. The chase proves to be long and arduous and an intricate and detailed web of mystery in which Harry uses every trick in the book to flush out the suspected killer. Time is crucial when they discover a Croatian refugee, hired as a professional assassin is still hell bent on completing his mission at any cost.
As the investigation advanced and the plot thickens my interest was continuously stimulated by the unsuspected twists and turns. Renegade Harry and his freewheeling approach prove to be a hand full for his new boss. Their continuous confrontations create a boss/employee from hell scenario that is quite entertaining at times, however, Harry proves once more that he is nothing but a good detective by unearthing facts that his slicker colleagues have overlooked.
This story has a complex narrative packed with intricate psychological features concerning sexual perversion, child abuse, and the desire for revenge. I found the characters with similar personalities and Scandinavian names are a bit of a challenge to keep track of at first a real stimulus for the brain however I soon overcame this hurdle and enjoy the ride from then on. This exciting mystery is a big puzzle and the author feeds us one spicy piece at the time to keep us on our toes and captivated till the end.
The guessing game, the chilly manhunt, the cliff-hangers and the many crime clichés that pepper the chapters are just some of the factors that drive me to pursuit this series.
on June 5, 2013
Not one of the better Harry Hole books but still should be read to keep up with his chronology. This was the only book I found to go on a bit too long. In the end, of course, Jo Nesbo never fails to intrigue with his twists and turns.
on November 27, 2013
I own and have read all JN's books and I recommend them all to anyone who likes stores about strong single characters.
I learned about JN from my Norwegian cousins who were here visiting.
on April 27, 2015
I love this series. Harry Hole is interesting and struggles with his inner demons. Very intriguing and the writer keeps you guessing throughout. Couldn't put it down.