Synopses & Reviews
From one of the most celebrated crime writers in Europe comes an epic new novel, brilliant in scope and design — a deep and fearless investigation of betrayal spanning two centuries and three continents.
Police Detective Harry Hole has made a terrible mistake. An embarrassment in the line of duty has pulled him off his usual beat. Reassigned to mundane surveillance tasks, he reluctantly agrees to monitor neo-Nazi activities in Oslo. But as Hole is drawn into an underground world of illegal gun trafficking, brutal beatings, and sexual extortions, he soon learns that he must act fast to prevent an international conspiracy from unfolding.
Trapped in the crosshairs of the man with all the answers, Harry Hole plunges headlong into a mystery with roots deep in the past. His investigation takes him back to Norway's darkest hour — when members of the young nation's government collaborated with leaders of Nazi Germany. Dredging up a painful history of denial, Hole turns his attention to the Norwegian troops who fought for Adolf Hitler on the Eastern front. Branded by their countrymen as traitors, the soldiers who survived the brutal Russian winter — the hunger, fear, cold, grenades, and snipers — returned home as scapegoats of a nation's atonement. Sixty years later, old grudges and betrayals appear to have been laid to rest, until Hole realizes that someone has begun to pick off the surviving soldiers one by one.
With only his troubled, guilt-ridden conscience as a guide, Hole must move quickly through the traps and mirrors of a twisted criminal mind. But as his sanity slips in a slow burn of anger and alcohol, his mistakes continue to pile up. And if he fails to quicken the pace, Norway's darkest hour since World War II just might lie in the future.
In a tightly woven plot that takes readers from the icy steppes of the Russian front to a seemingly peaceful springtime in modern-day Oslo, Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbo delves into a sinister national history with uncommon bravery. Transforming shades of moral gray into an explosive palette of characters, Nesbo holds readers in suspense until the final pages. His deft orchestration of parallel narratives knows no match in the genre, and his thematic reach exceeds even the most ambitious thrillers on the market. With the U.S. publication of The Redbreast, American readers will learn what European readers have known for a decade — that Nesbo's writing is quite simply brilliant (Weekend-Avisen, Denmark).
"Shifting effortlessly between the last days of WWII on the Eastern front and modern day Oslo, Norwegian Nesbø (The Devil's Star) spins a complex tale of murder, revenge and betrayal. A recovering alcoholic recently reassigned to the Norwegian Security Service, Insp. Harry Hole begins tracking Sverre Olsen, a vicious neo-Nazi who escaped prosecution on a technicality. But what starts as a quest to put Olsen behind bars soon explodes into a race to prevent an assassination. As Hole struggles to stay one step ahead of Olsen and his gang of skinheads, Nesbø takes the reader back to WWII, as Norwegians fighting for Hitler wage a losing battle on the Eastern front. When the two story lines finally collide, it's up to Hole to stop a man hell-bent on carrying out the deadly plan he hatched half a century ago in the trenches. Perfectly paced and painfully suspenseful, this crime novel illuminates not only Norway's alleged Nazi ties but also its present skinhead subculture. Readers will delight in Hole, a laconic hero as doggedly stubborn as Connelly's Harry Bosch, and yet with a prickly appeal all his own." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Pristinely translated by Don Bartlett, Nesbø's book eloquently uses its multiple horrors to advance a disturbing argument: suppressing history is an open invitation for history to repeat itself." Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"Reading The Redbreast is like watching a hit movie. Author Jo Nesbo's scenes are so vivid that you can imagine them playing across the big screen. The pacing is swift. The plot is precise and intricate. The characters are intriguing." USA Today
"A lengthy and complex story...one of the more fascinating detectives in modern crime fiction; and a well-drawn, engaging set of secondary characters make this one of the best new series of 2007. Highly recommended." Library Journal
Detective Harry Hole embarrassed the force, and for his sins he's been reassigned to mundane surveillance tasks. But while monitoring neo-Nazi activities in Oslo, Hole is inadvertently drawn into a mystery with deep roots in Norway's dark past — when members of the nation's government willingly collaborated with Nazi Germany. More than sixty years later, this black mark won't wash away, and disgraced old soldiers who once survived a brutal Russian winter are being murdered, one by one.
Now, with only a stained and guilty conscience to guide him, an angry, alcoholic, error-prone policeman must make his way safely past the traps and mirrors of a twisted criminal mind. For a hideous conspiracy is rapidly taking shape around Hole — and Norway's darkest hour may still be to come.
About the Author
Jo Nesbo is a musician, songwriter, economist, and one of Europes most critically acclaimed and successful crime writers today. His first novel featuring Police Detective Harry Hole was an instant hit in Norway, winning the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novelthe most prestigious crime-writing award in Northern Europe. Norwegian readers voted his novel The Redbreast the best Norwegian crime novel of all time. NesbØ lives in Oslo.