Friday, 5 August 2011

Jo Nesbo: The Redeemer Reviewed

Another very good novel from Nesbo, really hitting his stride after some early hiccoughs. A Croatian serial killer is on the loose in Norway, Detective Harry Hole is hunting him, or justice, or either.

Nesbo introduces a fascinating element in the Salvation Army: the first victim is a carol-singing young SA officer; it's in the investigation that we hear more about this longstanding but under-publicised organisation - with its property empires and its promotions, its politics and its pragmatism. Officers are born, court, marry and breed amongst other officers, they have careers and whole lives in the uniform. Indeed, it's in the early lives of several of today's bright young officers that the seeds of today's killings lie.

That first victim is a mistake: the near-identical brother of the real target. The Croatian, hardened by his experiences of Serbian atrocities, remains in Oslo to finish the task. Hampered by lack of money and lack of contacts, nontheless he stays on the trail - though the only person killed by his hand is a policeman. The hunt moves up several gears and a shoot to kill policy creeps in.

Detective Hole has meanwhile spotted flaws and inconsistencies that arouse his suspicions: he moves his inquiries to Croatia itself, to the displaced people that the war threw up. He remains on the killer's heels but there's ambivalence there - but he's faced that before and doggedly pursued a legitimate quarry.

The hunt in Norway, the Croatian segment, a mentally-wounded young female Officer, all are skilfully combined to put this just about on a par with The Snowman. There are echoes of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch - the lone detective acting in parallel to a larger investigation, the blurring of lines between state and natural justice.

All in all, an excellent read for any lover of strong police procedurals.



2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a terrible review of a fantastic book!

"Hampered by lack of money and lack of contacts, nontheless he stays on the trail - though the only person killed by his hand is a policeman. The hunt moves up several gears and a shoot to kill policy creeps in."

Halvorsen wasn't killed by 'Stankic', he was murdered by Jon Karlsen to maintain his cover following Mads Gilstrup's confession!

Did you even read the book???

Paul Ward said...

I'm well aware of who killed Halvorsen and the circumstances. I was attempting to convey the general thinking at the time and how it set the scene for the "mistaken" killing by a remorseless SWAT man.

The alternative was to ruin the plot. As you have.

Post a Comment

What do you think?