It’s been a long time since I have been so affected by a novel that I’ve read. Whilst reading The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø, I have literally shouted, yelled and gasped while reading it. It was such a riveting experience that when the novel got to the good part, I knew I just had to finish it in one read. I did it in two.
The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø tells the story of Inspector Harry Hole, a Norwegian police officer who finds clues to an illegal import of Marklin rifles. When investigating the rifle, he stumbles upon a secret relating to a group of Norwegian soldiers fighting for Germany on the Eastern Front. Little by little, with help of vividly portrayed flashbacks, dark secrets are revealed until the climax is reached. By then, it was actually too late as many had been killed.
This is actually the first time that I have read anything by Jo Nesbø though I am not a stranger to Norwegian crime thrillers. I have read the Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larsson and to me, there is no comparison to that trilogy. However, The Redbreast is coming close to beating the legacy of the Millenium trilogy. It has the same equation that made Stieg Larsson’s work great: an out-of-sorts idealistic man who has peculiarities, a female assistant who will be in almost constant danger and a mysterious crime that dates back decades before the protagonist even investigates it.
The scenes that lead up to the part where I became ’emotional’ was when Harry Hole finally meets a woman who could love him after all that he has gone through but then, suddenly, that woman is forced to have sex with her boss. I almost yelled when reading that scene. Harry Hole was a poor guy from all the long descriptions by Jo Nesbø and I felt sorry for him. He is like a narcissistic and sadistic version of Inspector Jaques Clouseau. When he meets love, I felt happy for him because of how Jo Nesbø expertly conveys Hole’s feeling to readers. Then the blackmail happened and I was devastated and I also felt kinda bad because after that, when her boss was killed, I felt happy. Not normal, right? That’s exactly what Jo Nesbø makes you become.
Though there is a long, long beginning to the novel that introduces the surrounding and background in an excruciating manner of flashbacks and also foreshadowings, it is worth it to stay and read on because in the very end, all will be revealed in a way that you will feel that reading more than one hundred pages of description is worth it. To people who want to find a replacement for the late Stieg Larsson, Jo Nesbø is the man you want to look for.