Phantom (Harry Hole, #9)
Following from Jo Nesbø's electrifying international best-sellers The Snowman and The Leopard, now comes Phantom, which plunges the brilliant, deeply troubled, now former police officer Harry Hole into a full-tilt investigation on which his own tenuous future will come to depend.When Harry left Oslo again for Hong Kong—fleeing the traumas of life as a cop—he thought he was there for good. But then the unthinkable happened. The son of the woman he loved, lost, and still loves is arrested for murder: Oleg, the boy Harry helped raise but couldn't help deserting when he fled. Harry has come back to prove that Oleg is not a killer. Barred from rejoining the police force, he sets out on a solitary, increasingly dangerous investigation that takes him deep into the world of the most virulent drug to ever hit the streets of Oslo (and the careers of some of the city's highest officials), and into the maze of his own past, where he will find the wrenching truth that finally matters to Oleg, and to himself.

Phantom (Harry Hole, #9) Details

TitlePhantom (Harry Hole, #9)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 2nd, 2012
PublisherKnopf
ISBN-139780307960474
Rating
GenreMystery, Crime, Fiction, Thriller, European Literature, Scandinavian Literature, Mystery Thriller, Audiobook, Scandinavian Lite..., Nordic Noir, Detective, Suspense

Phantom (Harry Hole, #9) Review

  • Miles
    January 1, 1970
    How on earth do I do justice to a book of this magnitude, the simple and honest answer is I cannot, I’m not even going to try. Phantom is a terrific novel, one that will keep you turning the pages and on the edge of your seat from the very first moment you pick up the book right up until the powerful ending, the author placing you smack bang in the middle of a city torn by drug addiction, murder and corruption - politicians and policeman alike. Trust is at a premium and betrayal the key word of How on earth do I do justice to a book of this magnitude, the simple and honest answer is I cannot, I’m not even going to try. Phantom is a terrific novel, one that will keep you turning the pages and on the edge of your seat from the very first moment you pick up the book right up until the powerful ending, the author placing you smack bang in the middle of a city torn by drug addiction, murder and corruption - politicians and policeman alike. Trust is at a premium and betrayal the key word of the day, believe me, you don’t want to miss this novel, it will shock and surprise. I certainly didn’t see the twist coming and I’m still reeling!Very few authors write better than Nesbo in my eyes – aided once again by a superb translation by Don Bartlett - and I am so grateful I’ve had the chance to read and review three of his novels namely The Snowman (still my favourite book), The Leopard and now Phantom, the latest in a mesmerising series featuring the damaged Harry Hole. Alcoholic. Drug Addict. Policeman. Husband. Father. I really have to make time to read his previous titles.Phantom isn’t your typical Jo Nesbo novel; this is all about drugs and the devastation they cause both directly and indirectly. Everyone is affected in one way or another but Nesbo pulls no punches as he paints a different kind of Oslo from the one politicians and the tourist boards would like to promote. The streets are full of pushers and gangs hell-bent on cornering the market no matter the cost or who gets in the way; they certainly don’t take kindly to Harry Hole’s interference. You won’t find an unhinged serial killer in Phantom but you will find murder most foul and an ex-policeman in Hole struggling to secure the release of Oleg - his son - who has been arrested for the murder of a drug addict, a supplier and someone who just happens to be his best friend. Things are never clear cut and the way Nesbo weaves his magic is incredible. Take it as read, Nesbo mentions a character for a reason, there is no dead wood in this novel.I’m not even going to mention the narrative there really is no point – you know what you’re going to get and you certainly won’t be disappointed! Suffice to say it’s both powerful and gripping and although this is a steady read without too much gore – certainly compared to The Snowman - for the first two thirds of the book, you’ll find with 120 pages to go the pace moves up a number of gears and you’ll struggle to put the book down. The way he hooks you in is sublime to say the least. This is Nesbo at his very best.Harry is back in Oslo after a three year exile living in Hong Kong. No longer a policeman, he returns wearing the only suit he owns and has cleaned up his act and as a recovering alcoholic he faces temptation on every corner. This is personal and only Harry has the determination to see it through but is he ready to meet the truth. Can he handle the truth? Only time will tell. A compelling read, Phantom is a taut and multi-layered thriller that simply deserves to be read and although a rather sombre read it will most definitely entertain. Rush out and get this one, it’s a cracker!
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  • Glenn Sumi
    January 1, 1970
    A slow-burning, impeccably plotted thriller featuring Nesbo’s gruff, tough, haunted and incredibly resourceful ex-cop detective, Harry Hole.After three years in Hong Kong (for an explanation of the gnarly scar on his face see the previous book, The Leopard), Harry returns to Oslo because Oleg, his ex-wife Rakel’s son (whom he helped raise), has been arrested in a drug-related murder. Turns out there is a highly pure form of heroin on the streets called violin, and Oleg was involved in its distri A slow-burning, impeccably plotted thriller featuring Nesbo’s gruff, tough, haunted and incredibly resourceful ex-cop detective, Harry Hole.After three years in Hong Kong (for an explanation of the gnarly scar on his face see the previous book, The Leopard), Harry returns to Oslo because Oleg, his ex-wife Rakel’s son (whom he helped raise), has been arrested in a drug-related murder. Turns out there is a highly pure form of heroin on the streets called violin, and Oleg was involved in its distribution...and also a user.Once again, there are lots of characters in the book: police, politicians, a pilot, a chemist, a lawyer, a waitress, a bartender, a priest.. oh yeah and a mysterious phantom-like character, connected to the Russian mafia, named Dubai. It seems most everyone is corrupt, but who is the murderer? Who can clear Oleg?It takes a while for all the narratives to intersect (and the men are more fleshed out than the women), but the finale is deeply satisfying. Nesbo’s major coup in the book, besides believably getting under the slimy skins of some really unsavoury characters, is interweaving passages from the deceased drug dealer’s point of view - a charming, handsome, charismatic orphan/hustler named Gusto.My only caveat isn’t about the book proper, it’s about the marketing. My edition’s cover features a wintry scene, but the book takes place in the autumn. Yes, Scandinavia has seasons, too, book jacket artists!
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  • Nancy Oakes
    January 1, 1970
    I'd quite forgotten how tense I get while reading one of Nesbø's Harry Hole novels; a little while into the novel upon Harry's return to Oslo and it all came back to me. Harry is a character I've become rather attached to over the years, but I've also become used to things not going so well for him over the course of the series. Phantom is the ninth installment of this series and the seventh to be translated into English; if you've been a faithful follower of Nesbø's novels, you definitely do no I'd quite forgotten how tense I get while reading one of Nesbø's Harry Hole novels; a little while into the novel upon Harry's return to Oslo and it all came back to me. Harry is a character I've become rather attached to over the years, but I've also become used to things not going so well for him over the course of the series. Phantom is the ninth installment of this series and the seventh to be translated into English; if you've been a faithful follower of Nesbø's novels, you definitely do not want to miss this one. If you are just beginning with Nesbø, do not, I repeat, do not make this your first experience.A few years have passed since Harry Hole was last in Oslo; when we last saw him he was on his way back to Hong Kong, where he retreated to clean himself up and deal with the demons plaguing his life, having to do mainly with his relationship with Rakel. Now he's back and it's personal: Rakel's son Oleg is in prison, after being incarcerated for killing a heroin addict named Gusto. Everything points to Oleg as the shooter; Harry doesn't believe it and returns to clear his name. Having been officially warned to stay away from this particular case by his former colleagues, Harry being Harry is not content to sit idly by and finds himself in the middle of his own private investigation that leads him into the murky depths of drug addiction and production, gang wars, corruption and a reclusive but powerful Russian known as Dubai. Dubai, "a kind of phantom ... like the wind, impossible to catch," has worked to corner the market on a new drug called Violin, which offers its users a prolonged euphoria, making it the newest high of choice among heroin users, a "junkie's dream," "stronger than heroin, longer effect, and little chance of OD'ing." The story is related through different viewpoints, one of which is from a dying Gusto. It is here where the reader discovers how Oleg becomes involved in events that will ultimately lead him to prison. Normally I dislike the "voice from the grave" approach, or actually in this case the "as I lay dying" device, but here it is engaged to provide necessary backstory and it works as a focal point for bringing together the various storylines as they are played out individually throughout the novel -- at least, up to a point.Phantom is an intensely bleak read -- from the sadness of the addicts on the streets doing whatever is necessary to score to the final moments of the novel, the atmosphere Nesbø creates is one of sheer darkness, alleviated here and there with some humorous moments, including a neck wound held together by duct tape, or the running gags about his one and only suit. And Harry's back with his trademark angst, this time ruminating over his shortcomings with Oleg who looked on him as a dad in years past, and the "curse" he's carried with him in which he realizes that all of those he loves eventually suffer at his hands. At the same time, it's a very compelling read; so much so that it's easy to overlook a few other standard Nesbø trademarks, including the sometimes over-the-top verbosity, sometimes clunky dialogue, scenes that could have been easily shortened with no damage to the overall story, and related plot lines that capture your interest then sort of fade out. The second half of the book is where the action really picks up and where the story becomes its most intense, with many twists and turns that I never saw coming, and writing that maintains a tightly-strung tension, literally up until the very last moment.Die-hard Harry Hole fans should consider a kleenex as a necessary accompaniment to this novel, and you'll seriously feel the need to put the book down, get up, go outside and find some sunlight as you get into the story. I'm happy to see that the Stieg Larsson comparison is gone from the cover (yay!); Nesbø has no need of putting his work up against that of anyone else -- his standing in crime fiction, Scandinavian or otherwise, needs no bolstering by setting his work against that of others. Do not miss this book if you are continuing the series, and as I noted above, you should absolutely NOT start the series with this story. To the book's naysayers I can only answer with the following: this is not great literature, but it's a hell of a ride.
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  • Phrynne
    January 1, 1970
    I'm giving this one four stars because although it finished superbly it started very slowly and for the first third of the book I was thinking it was not very good. But then it got going and positively rampaged towards a shocking finale. I'm still not sure quite what to make of such an amazing cliff hanger. I may just have to dash out tomorrow and buy the next book to see what happens. I am so glad that I have read all the Harry Hole books in order because the way they have developed is so good. I'm giving this one four stars because although it finished superbly it started very slowly and for the first third of the book I was thinking it was not very good. But then it got going and positively rampaged towards a shocking finale. I'm still not sure quite what to make of such an amazing cliff hanger. I may just have to dash out tomorrow and buy the next book to see what happens. I am so glad that I have read all the Harry Hole books in order because the way they have developed is so good. The characters, the authors style, the depth of the story lines have all grown along the way. This is an excellent series all round and one I recommend wholeheartedly.
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  • James Thane
    January 1, 1970
    At the conclusion of the last book in this series, The Leopard, Harry Hole, no longer on the Oslo police force, retreated to Hong Kong where he built a new life. But three years later, his past calls him home. Oleg, the son of his former lover, Rakel, has been arrested for allegedly killing a drug dealer who was also his friend and the foster brother of the young woman that Oleg loved. The evidence seems incontrovertible, but Harry comes back to Norway in an effort to prove that Oleg is not guil At the conclusion of the last book in this series, The Leopard, Harry Hole, no longer on the Oslo police force, retreated to Hong Kong where he built a new life. But three years later, his past calls him home. Oleg, the son of his former lover, Rakel, has been arrested for allegedly killing a drug dealer who was also his friend and the foster brother of the young woman that Oleg loved. The evidence seems incontrovertible, but Harry comes back to Norway in an effort to prove that Oleg is not guilty and to find the real killer.In his absence, the boy who once called Harry "Dad," has fallen into a life of addiction and crime as a powerful new drug called Violin has swept through the city. Harry is someone who understands the power of addiction and, now clean and sober, he sets himself to the task of saving this boy that he loves.Without the power of the police force behind him, Harry faces a seriously uphill struggle and the effort takes him deep into the shadowy world of drugs, criminal gangs and the police and politicians who either attempt to resolve the problem or to capitalize upon it. It's a gripping story that leads to a shattering climax, and Nesbo teases out the story in a way that's almost as addictive as the drug at the center of it.It's a powerful novel and a great read but one cannot emphasize enough the importance of reading this series in order. The reader new to the series certainly does not want to start here. Admittedly, the first two books in the series, The Bat and Cockroaches are a bit weaker than the ones that follow, but at a minimum, one should start with the third book, The Redbreast before moving on. The principal attraction of these books is the character of Harry Hole and the world that surrounds him and no reader would want to deprive him or herself of the pleasure of watching these relationships unfold in order.
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  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    Really, really good. If you haven't read any Harry Hole books yet, do yourself a favor, and read them in order. The people and the places and things that happen or have happened will make much more sense that way. The first two books of the series have not yet been translated in English (hopefully soon though), so for the English language readers, this is the correct way to proceed (so far): The Redbreast -> Nemesis -> The Devil's Star -> The Redeemer -> The Snowman -> The Leopard Really, really good. If you haven't read any Harry Hole books yet, do yourself a favor, and read them in order. The people and the places and things that happen or have happened will make much more sense that way. The first two books of the series have not yet been translated in English (hopefully soon though), so for the English language readers, this is the correct way to proceed (so far): The Redbreast -> Nemesis -> The Devil's Star -> The Redeemer -> The Snowman -> The Leopard -> Phantom.After The Leopard case, Harry returned to Hong Kong, from where he returns to Oslo to work as an ex cop to resolve a case that involves him too deeply. Rakel's son Oleg has become a drug addict, and is accused of having killed one of his friends. Oleg a killer? What happened really, and why? While Harry tries to find out, it turns out everyone wants to keep him out of Norway, everyone for a different reason. The (corrupt members of) police, the corrupted someone elses, the bad guys, the drug lords, the real killer. A(n adorably) loose cannon as always, and again with less than orthodox investigation methods. But he's set to find out the bad guy(s), and nothing will stop him. Five stars, and there were some very beautiful parts in the story. There were also of course some very shocking things (despite Harry saying that people don't change)... It's not possibly to say anything about the end or the solution without spoiling the book, so I'll leave out everything regarding the end or the fix (at least until someone comments on it). This book will be out in the US in September (I couldn't resist so I got a UK copy). And as always, Don Bartlett helps keep Harry's adventures enjoyable by being a great translator.A question is left lingering in Phantom. Perhaps to give a clue (without spoiling it), a new Harry Hole book will be out next year (in English).
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  • Harry
    January 1, 1970
    Here's the thing about the recent popularity of Scandinavian writers and if you're a Nordic Thriller aficionado you couldn't care less about the distinction: the novels are depressed, somber, filled with ennui, a lack of humor, with flawed characters if not suffused with a strong tendency towards determinism; in short, whether you're reading Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, or Jo Nesbo you are likely reading Literary Naturalism. If you live in Scandinavia you might consider this par for the cours Here's the thing about the recent popularity of Scandinavian writers and if you're a Nordic Thriller aficionado you couldn't care less about the distinction: the novels are depressed, somber, filled with ennui, a lack of humor, with flawed characters if not suffused with a strong tendency towards determinism; in short, whether you're reading Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, or Jo Nesbo you are likely reading Literary Naturalism. If you live in Scandinavia you might consider this par for the course, ennui is imbued into the populace (as it is also reflected in the works of prominent Russian writers - Anna Karenina comes to mind). Just as we continue to struggle here in the States with our history of slavery and the resulting racial tensions, so do Europe and Scandinavia struggle in coming to terms with Nazism and the Bolshevik revolution (More than a few reviewers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Nordic writers' pre-occupation with Nazism). And yet, the rise in popularity of these Nordic thrillers here in the States is puzzling given our strong tendency towards literary Romanticism. We like for the good guys to win, we like emotion, we like our heroes (as opposed to anti-heroes) we enjoy free will, and in general consider ourselves in control of our own lives.Having said that: there is excellence in Literary Naturalism. The above doesn't mean we can't enjoy a well written novel, an intriguing mystery, a flawed anti-hero, a well crafted story written in the style of literary Naturalism. It doesn't mean we can't enjoy the works of Jo Nesbo. I did.In Jo Nesbo's words: "I come from a family of readers and story tellers." With a librarian mother and a father who sat before the fire and told the kids stories they wanted to hear (each repetition bringing something new to the tale) Jo's foundation was carved in stone. Again, in his own life story we sense the determinism filtering into his life: he wanted to be a soccer star but an injury put a quick stop to this; with a dreadful feeling of fate guiding his life he entered the military in the hopes something would happen (what happened was "Self-Discipline"); thinking he might want to be an economist he entered the world of finance which he abandoned as well; someone told him he could play guitar (he only knew 3 chords) and he formed several bands, Di Derre being the most successful; and finally he wrote (on an airplane to begin with) and he never stopped.The Redbreast is Jo Nesbo's third Harry Hole (pronounced "Hooleh") novel (the other two not being translated for a US audience as of yet) and is Nesbo's claim to fame. So, this is where we start. Yes, the books should be read in order! For an American audience, Harry Hole can be likened to Harry Bosch; he defies authority, is an outcast within his own organization, is best left alone to do this job (his office is at the end of the hall), is more of an anti-hero than a hero, has trouble with his romantic life, lives alone, has a fierce propensity for justice (as opposed to the Law) and once let loose is like a pit bull with a bone fastened to his jaws. But perhaps the most compelling reason why Harry Hole has such a following is Nesbo's devastating characterization of what exactly comprises a flawed hero. Upon reflection, American hard-boiled writers don't come close to accomplishing the same. This is not too dissimilar to the way Nesbo sees himself.Bjarne Møller, my former boss, says people like me always choose the line of most resistance. It's in what he calls our 'accursed nature'. That's why we always end up on our own. I don't know. I like being alone. Perhaps I have grown to like my self-image of being a loner, too....I think you have to find something about yourself that you like in order to survive. Some people say being alone is unsociable and selfish. But you're independent and you don't drag others down with you, if that's the way you're heading. Many people are afraid of being alone. But it made me feel strong, free and invulnerable.And...ah, yes, there is the matter of plot! So how do we justify this decided streak of fate/determinism within the novels with Nesbo's apparent mastery of plot? The two seemingly ought to contradict each other. On the one hand, we have Nesbo's almost Shakespearean tendency to cast characters as marionette puppets on the strings of fate (the very opposite of plot), while on the other hand we are riveted by the very complex actions and reactions made by Harry Hole during his investigations (Nesbo is a master at not adding anything superfluous to his novels). Perhaps it is an unholy marriage between the two that transfixes us. His plots are intricate, very complex, the seemingly irrelevant details exposed throughout the novels become larger than life as the story closes, and they can weave through time, forward and backward, as the story unfolds. But, with a little alacrity, we can remember we are reading Naturalism and so it isn't always Harry Hole making events happen, but rather the reverse, it is the events that move Harry Hole. Again, it is a matter of preference but in Nesbo's case it is done with utter expertise as a writer.The exposition/setting is often Scandinavia: the weather is somber, the descriptions grey-like, the people absorbed with alcohol and withdrawn, if not bundled and sequestered. And yet, the dialogue and scenes are full of references to other millieus', continents, languages, and cleverly hidden philosophical references that speak to a widely cultured audience (as opposed to American writers of this genre who rarely venture beyond the borders of their land, if not their own State). And as with plot, there are no superfluous details. Everything in the novels matters and Nesbo does not forget even the tiniest detail to which he's made a seemingly furtive reference earlier on in the story. This is one of the biggest reasons why I love Jo Nesbo.I thoroughly enjoyed Jo Nesbo's The Redbreast and am currently reading the remaining Harry Hole novels. I remain intrigued by events left undone (such as the fate of our undiscovered villain in this and other stories). You'll just have to read the novels to find out more.Oh, yes, as with other series this review is likely to be repeated for all (unless there is a drastic divergence from what I have written here). So, if you've read this review, you've read 'em all. Enjoy!
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  • Ray
    January 1, 1970
    Harry Hole is back from Hong Kong, and with enough skeletons to fill a dozen cupboards. True to form - rebellious, moral but not upstanding, addict, psychotic - a photofit fictional bad boy cop.Harry has come back to try to get his ex girlfriends son out of jail. Oleg has gone feral, and is now a junkie who lies, steals and deceives to get his next fix. But surely not a murderer. Harry part blames himself of course.Cue a helter skelter journey into the Oslo demi monde, dealers and junkies, villa Harry Hole is back from Hong Kong, and with enough skeletons to fill a dozen cupboards. True to form - rebellious, moral but not upstanding, addict, psychotic - a photofit fictional bad boy cop.Harry has come back to try to get his ex girlfriends son out of jail. Oleg has gone feral, and is now a junkie who lies, steals and deceives to get his next fix. But surely not a murderer. Harry part blames himself of course.Cue a helter skelter journey into the Oslo demi monde, dealers and junkies, villains, murderers, pimps - but also corrupt cops and politicians on the make. Harry has to find the shadowy head of the main drug cartel. He is up against a wall of silence. The Russian gangsters at the apex of the drugs trade do not like grasses and have devised inventive ways of murdering snitches and other inconvenients - my favourite involves a brick with nails hammered into it and a long drop.In many ways this is a conventional thriller with the usual plot twists and stomach churning about turns. Hoever nobody does this better than Mr Nesbo. A good read.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    OMG!!! Can't really comment without spoiling the book. But it's terribly good.
  • Lukasz Pruski
    January 1, 1970
    "Phantom" is the ninth novel in Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole series, and his sixth book I have read. Unfortunately, I find it a big disappointment. The usual macho, hard-boiled, and brutal style is ok. Harry being a virtual superman is not a problem. "Phantom" pushes the believability boundaries too far, though. Let me just quote a scene where Harry cuts the throat of someone who is cutting his throat.There is way too much action. Too many twists and turns. There are too many characters. Not enough tho "Phantom" is the ninth novel in Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole series, and his sixth book I have read. Unfortunately, I find it a big disappointment. The usual macho, hard-boiled, and brutal style is ok. Harry being a virtual superman is not a problem. "Phantom" pushes the believability boundaries too far, though. Let me just quote a scene where Harry cuts the throat of someone who is cutting his throat.There is way too much action. Too many twists and turns. There are too many characters. Not enough thought. No depth. A paper template of Harry Hole twisting in an idiotic Hollywood-style plot.Nesbo's "Redbreast" is a great novel. Several of his other books are refreshing takes on crime noir, with the unique Norwegian twist. This is not a good novel unless one needs some pastime for a 12-hour flight. I have never expected I will regret wasting time for a Nesbo's book.Two stars (for good writing and good translation).
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this book was brilliant and couldnt't put it down. I've read all the Harry Hole books and enjoyed them all but I blasted through this one in about 48 hours! I thought that I had it all worked out, but Jo Nesbo continues to surprise and lay red herrings to trick you!I found the general story about drug users and the whole importing/exporting/selling thing very interesting and liked how some of the narrative was from a dead character! This is a book that will haunt you for a long time af I thought this book was brilliant and couldnt't put it down. I've read all the Harry Hole books and enjoyed them all but I blasted through this one in about 48 hours! I thought that I had it all worked out, but Jo Nesbo continues to surprise and lay red herrings to trick you!I found the general story about drug users and the whole importing/exporting/selling thing very interesting and liked how some of the narrative was from a dead character! This is a book that will haunt you for a long time after you read it; the ending is powerful and totally surprised me. I can't stop thinking about the book! If you're a fan of the Harry Hole series then I can strongly recommend this book.
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  • Alex Cantone
    January 1, 1970
    ‘Norway is a little fairy-tale land...the real world is driven by those who want power and those who want money. The first want a statue, the second enjoyment. And the currency they use when negotiating with each other to get what they want is called corruption.’Harry Hole returns to Oslo after 4 years in Hong Kong, drawn by the news that Oleg, teenage son of his former lover, Rakel, is on remand for the shooting of another teenage drug dealer based on forensic evidence, though the youth claims ‘Norway is a little fairy-tale land...the real world is driven by those who want power and those who want money. The first want a statue, the second enjoyment. And the currency they use when negotiating with each other to get what they want is called corruption.’Harry Hole returns to Oslo after 4 years in Hong Kong, drawn by the news that Oleg, teenage son of his former lover, Rakel, is on remand for the shooting of another teenage drug dealer based on forensic evidence, though the youth claims he has no memory of the incident. Harry reminisces of the happy times the three spent together, and of planning to take young Oleg to see Tottenham Hotspurs play at White Hart Lane stadium in London. So what is he doing with an Arsenal t-shirt, sponsored by Emirates?In the ninth Harry Hole novel (translated from Norwegian by Don Bartlett) the story unfolds from a number of perspectives, including Harry Hole’s investigation, while the teenage victim tells his life from being raised in a foster-family, to his rise and fall as a drug dealer.Tutu told me there was no more ice to be h-h-had. I would have to make do with p-p-powder. It was cheaper and both parts were methamphetamine, but…Ice is lovely white bits of crystal that blow your head off whereas the yellow stinking sh*t you get in Oslo is mixed with baking powder, refined sugar, aspirin, Vitamin B12 and the devil and his mother. Or, for connoisseurs, chopped up painkillers that taste of speed.The ambitious Mikael Bellman, formerly with Narcotics, now heads Orgkrim and is in line to replace the retiring Chief of Police. He has brought childhood friend Officer Truls Berntsen with him to Police HQ, to watch his back. Together with his lover Isabelle Skøyen, Orgkrim has had a measure of success against local drug gangs but a new operation is bringing hard drugs to the streets, with apparent immunity: the Phantom of the title.Odin had bigger things on his mind than a pusher who owed him a few thousand (krone). Competition had come to town. ‘The Man from Dubai’. Not in the bumblebee market, but in heroin, which was more important than anything for Los Lobos. Some said they were White Russians, some said they were Lithuanians, and others a Norwegian Pakistani. All agreed, however, it was a professional organisation, they feared no one…This is a hard-hitting multi-faceted story, exposing the tragic spiral of young people into drugs, the anguish of the families trying to save them, and the cynical political manoeuvring behind the scenes, helpfully illustrated by a map of Oslo. This was my 2nd of the series and it did not disappoint. To me it was atmospheric: I could almost smell the stale air, soiled clothing and musty passages; hear the thrum of rain, the music and church bells; feel the gravel crunching underfoot. The ending was a bit surreal (a tease perhaps?)
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  • Mark Harrison
    January 1, 1970
    Nesbo is one of the giants of crime fiction. This is brilliant. Harry Hole returns from three years in Hong Kong to try and help the son of his main who is accused of murder. Working outside the police Harry battles the major new players in the Oslo drugs scene, his personal demons, police corruption and the terrible things drug addiction can lead to. Totally compelling, very dark but superb from beginning to the shocking twists at the end. Best book of the 70 read this year.
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  • John
    January 1, 1970
    The ninth book in the Harry Hole series. Once again a good solid page turner albeit filled with cliches. I liked the endurance of Harry Hole in surviving so many cliff hangers and this one has a doozy at the end. Back in Oslo to save Rakel’s son Oleg from being convicted of killing his friend Gusto. Who tells his side of the story as a ghost. Violin, opioids and an empire of drug dealing in Oslo. Who to believe, trust and the motive all come together in the end.
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  • Amanda NEVER MANDY
    January 1, 1970
    Harry Hole is pulled back into the crime solving world after hearing news that his ex-girlfriend’s son has been accused of murder. P.S. You have to say the word murder all doomsday like in your head to get the full effect of that sentence.In this exciting installment he is back at it again; slayer of murderers, drinker of booze and now he can add defender of accused. I’m going to go short and sweet with this one since it is mentally blocking me from reviewing anything after it. It’s not that i Harry Hole is pulled back into the crime solving world after hearing news that his ex-girlfriend’s son has been accused of murder. P.S. You have to say the word murder all doomsday like in your head to get the full effect of that sentence.In this exciting installment he is back at it again; slayer of murderers, drinker of booze and now he can add defender of accused. I’m going to go short and sweet with this one since it is mentally blocking me from reviewing anything after it. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that I have read almost all of the books in this series within a twelve month period and I am running out of things to say about them. The storyline in this one was generally the same as the previous ones: Harry Hole is jacked up, Harry Hole gets it together to solve an almost unsolvable crime, bad things happen to Harry Hole and then Harry Hole goes back to being jacked up.If you like consistent mysteries then this is perfect for you. If you don’t like hopelessly flawed human beings making the same mistakes over and over again…move along.
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    SPOILER ALERT!!!!I'm only writing this so I can review it when the next one comes out and I need to remember a few things.Our hero, Harry Hole, was shot by Oleg, his closest thing to a son, who really was guilty of murdering Gusto Hanssen over a stolen violin stash and the enslavement of Gusto's foster sister, Irene. So we're left knowing Harry has been slashed, nearly drowned and shot, but still with a pulse.Rakel, Oleg's mom, was waiting at the airport to fly away with Harry and really make th SPOILER ALERT!!!!I'm only writing this so I can review it when the next one comes out and I need to remember a few things.Our hero, Harry Hole, was shot by Oleg, his closest thing to a son, who really was guilty of murdering Gusto Hanssen over a stolen violin stash and the enslavement of Gusto's foster sister, Irene. So we're left knowing Harry has been slashed, nearly drowned and shot, but still with a pulse.Rakel, Oleg's mom, was waiting at the airport to fly away with Harry and really make things work. Hans Christian, a lawyer, will hopefully help Rakel process through what will be a miserable time. Oleg seems to be MIA. Harry, through trying to exonerate Oleg, managed to bust up a Russian drug cartel run by the mysterious "Dubai"/Cato-the-crazy-guy-from-hotel-leon/Rudolf Asayev. Truls Bernsten, the evidence burner of Orgkrim, stumbled upon the the extreme corruption of his boss/frenemy Mikael Bellman, Oslo's next chief of police, and the attractive politician Isabelle Skoyen. They are thrilled Harry did their dirty work and think he's successfully escaped the country.
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  • Sofia
    January 1, 1970
    Up close and personal because what is personal for Harry, Nesbo has made personal for his readers as well. One of those Nesbo's where I was continuously being chased. Chased by the bad guys doing their bad deeds. The thing is that Nesbo's guys are not 'bad' guys or 'good' guys. That would be simple and life is not simple. So he gives us people and what life gives them and what they choose to do and then the consequences and their consequences, and on and on. So I end up understanding why a par Up close and personal because what is personal for Harry, Nesbo has made personal for his readers as well. One of those Nesbo's where I was continuously being chased. Chased by the bad guys doing their bad deeds. The thing is that Nesbo's guys are not 'bad' guys or 'good' guys. That would be simple and life is not simple. So he gives us people and what life gives them and what they choose to do and then the consequences and their consequences, and on and on. So I end up understanding why a particular choice was made, understanding the people behind the actions, good or bad.A very good read with my Harry girls - Alona and Lena
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  • Shaun
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 rounded up to 4I should start by saying that this isn't a book I would generally pick up. At the risk of sounding sexist, it has what I refer to as a high testosterone factor that doesn't normally appeal to me. I came across this particular book in the library. It was one of several by the same author, and when I used my Kindle to access some goodreads' reviews of the various books, I was impressed by the high average ratings. I decided right there and then, I should read at least one of the 3.5 rounded up to 4I should start by saying that this isn't a book I would generally pick up. At the risk of sounding sexist, it has what I refer to as a high testosterone factor that doesn't normally appeal to me. I came across this particular book in the library. It was one of several by the same author, and when I used my Kindle to access some goodreads' reviews of the various books, I was impressed by the high average ratings. I decided right there and then, I should read at least one of the books if only to see why it's so popular. To summarize, bad-ass ex-cop and recovering alcoholic Harry Hole has been sobering up in Hong Kong but returns to Oslo when his ex-lover's son is convicted of killing a drug dealer. There's violence, sex, drugs, a whole cast of shady characters, and ass-kicking galore.Though this can be read as a stand-alone, it is really part of a series. Unfortunately, book 1 was not available, so I chose this one based on the reviews I read. I imagine that not having read the previous books may have detracted somewhat from the overall experience.Overall, the writing is quite good, and the characters are well-drawn. The story line as described briefly above is not necessarily my thing or at least not my favorite thing, but I still enjoyed it (even without having read any of the eight previous books.) There were a few over the top scenes that just didn't work for me. (view spoiler)[Like after Harry is attacked and wounded in a bar, he must treat his own wounds and ends up using duct tape to suture a gash in his neck. Later on, and still untreated---feverish and in pain---he and his ex-lover (who is currently involved with someone else) have sex in his hotel room...slow passionate sex, the way he likes it, and afterwards share the obligatory cigarette. Yeah...I don't know. The sex scene at that moment was simply too much. (hide spoiler)]Still, this is solid for what it is. I could see this translating well to the big screen.
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  • Μαρία Γεωργοπούλου
    January 1, 1970
    What can I say about this book? I have to be honest... I hate the fact that I loved this book! My feelings are beyond words right now... I am still crying... I am heartbroken... Harry's world just became a shade darker...While I was reading this book I had my suspicions but I didn't want to believe it... I can't write anything else...Just a couple of gifs so you can imagine my face while reading the last pages of this book...
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Such a good book but only because I've read all the previous Harry Hole books so I know the back story which is REALLY important... FUCKING CLIFFHANGER!!!!!
  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    Phantom by Jo Nesbo.The words & story were mesmerizing to me. It was near impossible to stop and come up for air, especially towards the 2nd half of the story. Harry Hole is the central focal point along with addiction to a new drug referred to as violin. Many have said read this series in order. While that may be true as with most in a series, this book can be read alone and still have the compelling effect on the reader.The characters include H.H., Oleg-the son of Harry's lost love now arr Phantom by Jo Nesbo.The words & story were mesmerizing to me. It was near impossible to stop and come up for air, especially towards the 2nd half of the story. Harry Hole is the central focal point along with addiction to a new drug referred to as violin. Many have said read this series in order. While that may be true as with most in a series, this book can be read alone and still have the compelling effect on the reader.The characters include H.H., Oleg-the son of Harry's lost love now arrested for murder.The setting is Oslo where the most dangerous drug violin has gripped the city in its web of death.Harry must prove the innocence of Oleg at any cost. There is one scene I found basically impossible to survive and felt the author took a short cut out of it without illustrating the outcome acceptably enough to be believed. All in all Harry Hole is someone to have earned my attention. Gifted author.
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  • Matt
    January 1, 1970
    Building on the chaos of the previous novel, Nesbø leaves readers wondering how the series will continue without Harry Hole. It's been three years since Hole left for Hong Kong, and Oslo has undergone many changes. When a tall, lanky man checks-in at the Hotel Leon, the clerk cannot help but wonder if he's come face to face with the ever-talked about Harry Hole. Propelled back into the mix when he learns that he son of a woman he's loved for ages is under arrest for murder, Hole resurfaces to ge Building on the chaos of the previous novel, Nesbø leaves readers wondering how the series will continue without Harry Hole. It's been three years since Hole left for Hong Kong, and Oslo has undergone many changes. When a tall, lanky man checks-in at the Hotel Leon, the clerk cannot help but wonder if he's come face to face with the ever-talked about Harry Hole. Propelled back into the mix when he learns that he son of a woman he's loved for ages is under arrest for murder, Hole resurfaces to get the truth and find the killer. After learning that Oleg has turned to a life of drugs, Hole must piece the story together and disprove what the authorities feel is an airtight case. Oslo is no longer the city that Hole remembers, with junkies and pushers no longer offering cheap heroin, but a new and more potent fix, Violin. Harry meets Oleg in prison and hears his side of the story, learning that he and Gusto Hanssen, the victim, have been recruited into a drug ring that has control of the city and its narcotics distribution. It becomes evident that there's been a scapegoat put in place and that someone up the drug chain is trying to keep Oleg from spilling too much, which is supported when the young man is attacked in his cell after Hole leaves him. Working with Oleg's lawyer, Hans Christian, Hole determines that there is a larger web of informants, some of whom populate the Oslo PD, with whom Hole no longer is associated. As Hole garners more information, he tries to bring the PD on board, but they choose to handle things they own way, forcing Hole to use his contacts and work on the sly. Hole is able to penetrate the core of the massive drug ring and to come face-to-face with its head, someone that no one can confirm having met, who meanders around as though he were a Phantom of sorts. By the time Hole gathers all the evidence, he comes to a crossroads, meeting the killer head on, where only one will survive. Has Hole sipped his last Jim Beam, especially now that he does not have the backing of the Oslo PD? A stunning look into Oslo's underbelly and Harry Hole's determination. Not to be missed by Hole fans, no matter the excuse.Nesbø proves his abilities yet again with this powerful novel and role in which Hole plays to keep it moving forward. Exploring not only Oslo's drug trade business, but also offering up an insight into the movement of drugs around Scandinavia and their chemical creation, Nesbø brings the reader into the heart of the matter. Also, working with a protagonist who is outside looking in proves harder in a police thriller, but Harry Hole captures the hearts of all readers and propels the story forward, doing what he does best while keeping the book from being a one-man vigilante plot. Using a variety of characters, some well-known to the reader and others new to the scene, Nesbø creates an effective story that pulls the reader in and will not let go until the true killer is revealed in ways that only Hole could do effectively. As well as touching on the issues on the streets, the story forecasts the added fallout to layers of corruption at the top, which Hole cannot ignore and about which the reader relishes to learn. Using his honed technique of alternate narratives, Nesbø offers not only the progression of the story, but a tale through the eyes of the victim (as well as one of a rat whose importance is revealed late in the novel). With one novel left in the series, it is exciting to see where Nesbø will take everyone, and how it will all tie off.Kudos Mr. Nesbø for an exciting series to date. I keep telling myself the ideas will end, but you seem to have new and exciting plots constantly on a slow boil.Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/
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  • April
    January 1, 1970
    I just finished this. I don't know what to say. I'm a blown away. I want friends to hurry up and read this book so we can discuss it. Lord have mercy, that was intense!I have made no secret of my love for Nesbo, but he has outdone himself with this novel. It starts like any other of his awesome books, but by the halfway point, you realize you are in for a ride. He keeps answering the questions you thought you had.....but you still have 100 pages left. Well, that's because there are questions you I just finished this. I don't know what to say. I'm a blown away. I want friends to hurry up and read this book so we can discuss it. Lord have mercy, that was intense!I have made no secret of my love for Nesbo, but he has outdone himself with this novel. It starts like any other of his awesome books, but by the halfway point, you realize you are in for a ride. He keeps answering the questions you thought you had.....but you still have 100 pages left. Well, that's because there are questions you never even guessed to ask. It's crazy, how absolutely brilliant this man is at crafting a story you know you should be scrutinizing from every aspect, yet have you, the reader, fall right into his plan.I won't say too much, because I don't want to risk spoiling this novel. If you have read the other Nesbo novels prior to this one, I have no doubt you'll read this one for yourself and understand my gibberish here.Now, good gracious, when is the next installment?!?!
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  • Tom
    January 1, 1970
    Harry Hole no longer has the badge, but he will always think like a detective. And those who help him try and clear Rakel's son Oleg in a murder case in Oslo seem to care not one wit that Harry no longer carries the badge. It's easier to get beside him or behind him, because any other position means you are likely to get trampled in Harry's path to justice.
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  • Sami Elfarran
    January 1, 1970
    When I read Jo Nesbø 's novel I think I' m watching a movie for my filthy Harry Hollywood movie icon for the great actor Clint Eastwood ... a thrilling and beautiful action and a fascinating mystery.
  • Doreen
    January 1, 1970
    Whew! What a roller coaster ride! For all fans of Harry Hole and Jo Nesbo, this is a must-read.Harry returns to Oslo from Hong Kong after a three-year absence. Oleg, the son of Rakel (Harry's one, true love), has been charged with the murder of Gusto Hanssen, a drug user who was also Oleg's friend. Although no longer a police officer, Harry sets out to investigate the case against his surrogate son; this investigation soon leads to the discovery of other criminal activity. In particular, Harry t Whew! What a roller coaster ride! For all fans of Harry Hole and Jo Nesbo, this is a must-read.Harry returns to Oslo from Hong Kong after a three-year absence. Oleg, the son of Rakel (Harry's one, true love), has been charged with the murder of Gusto Hanssen, a drug user who was also Oleg's friend. Although no longer a police officer, Harry sets out to investigate the case against his surrogate son; this investigation soon leads to the discovery of other criminal activity. In particular, Harry tries to identify a mysterious figure known as Dubai who is responsible for the sale of violin, a potent, synthetic drug. Harry is still Harry, though perhaps more cynical and less hopeful. He is a gifted detective who has been emotionally and physically scarred by all he's seen and done: "He was undoubtedly a very damaged person" (360). At one point he is compared to another man who is "totally, totally alone with his own guilt, his own ghosts, his own loneliness, his own decisions" (350). Harry may think of it as a deficiency but the reader can only admire him for his inability "to tell himself he didn't care, to forget, to clear off" (360). The plot, as one would expect from Jo Nesbo, is complex. A long list of characters makes an appearance, many involved in drug smuggling and sales and/or corrupt officialdom. There is always more than one person with a credible motive for a crime. Suspense is kept at a maximum, especially as Harry's investigation takes him into the realm of dangerous people who will stop at nothing to avoid exposure. Harry no longer has the protection of a policeman's badge and does not have easy access to police resources, although he does receive assistance from former colleagues. The use of Gusto, a voice from the grave, as a narrator in certain sections adds to the suspense. Will Harry be able to piece together the information that the reader is given by Gusto?There are numerous twists and turns to keep the reader guessing, the ending being perhaps the most shocking. Nonetheless, there is ample foreshadowing which suggests the appropriateness of what happens. The book is worthy of a second read to pick up on some of the clues that may have been overlooked on first reading.The reader should be warned that this is a sombre read. The subject matter, with its focus on the damage done by drugs, is certainly serious. The number of lives ruined by substance abuse keeps piling up, as does the number of people involved in aiding and abetting addiction.The reader would also be advised to read the Harry Hole novels in order. This is the seventh to be translated into English and, although it can be read alone, a knowledge of Harry's previous relationships and cases will add much depth to one's understanding and enjoyment of this book. This is a first-class, breathlessly fast-paced, multi-layered thriller. It is perfectly understandable why millions of Nesbo's books have sold worldwide.Please check out my blog (http://schatjesshelves.blogspot.ca/) and follow me on Twitter (@DCYakabuski).
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    The best of the Harry Hole novels. Oleg, the son of his former girlfriend Rakel, is arrested for murder of a drug dealer and Harry returns from Hong Kong to investigate. Sober and cleaned up, longing for Rakel the love of his life, Harry is still fighting against his love for Jim Beam. The story is told from two viewpoints: a third person narrative and by the dying junkie Gusto, whose entire story is told during the duration of chiming church bells. Old characters from previous novels (Redeemer, The best of the Harry Hole novels. Oleg, the son of his former girlfriend Rakel, is arrested for murder of a drug dealer and Harry returns from Hong Kong to investigate. Sober and cleaned up, longing for Rakel the love of his life, Harry is still fighting against his love for Jim Beam. The story is told from two viewpoints: a third person narrative and by the dying junkie Gusto, whose entire story is told during the duration of chiming church bells. Old characters from previous novels (Redeemer, Leopard) are in this book and you need to start way back in this collection to really appreciate them all. Harry with his face scared from the last novel is determined to get to the bottom of this case which involves drug dealers and crooked cops. He picks up a few more war wounds in this one but it is not nearly as violent as previous Hole novels. Instead, Harry is more reflective and at times guilt ridden because he was not there to help bring up Oleg who looked to him as his father. And Harry either due to his drug and alcohol use is beginning to forget his time with Rakel and Oleg. The memories are starting to fade. One thing is for sure is that Harry is becoming more like the criminals he is pursuing. Indeed, he is committing crimes like the criminals as well which adds to the dark mood of this novel. Nesbo not only writes excellent detective novels, he writes extremely well plotted books with characters that will haunt you for a long time. Harry is the best and most compelling detective I have come across ever. Gifted at police work, a loner by nature also humorous at times with well timed sarcasm and the right amount of bad boy in him to go against authority and do things his own way. Tough but a romantic at heart. You catch that plane Hole.Love you Harry!
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  • Miloš
    January 1, 1970
    Auuh. Excellent. I really liked it. completelu unexpected end. wow.
  • Jess The Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsThis crime thriller follows Harry Hole, an ex-cop who returns to Oslo to try to prove the innocence of his ex-lover's son, a boy he was once very close with, and who had entered the dangerous underworld of the drug scene in Oslo and arrested for the murder of his friend.Harry starts a dangerous investigation on his own, which includes trying to find out who "the Phantom" is, the man known as "Dubai" who is the kingpin behind the new powerful and addictive drug, violin. He very quickly r 2.5 starsThis crime thriller follows Harry Hole, an ex-cop who returns to Oslo to try to prove the innocence of his ex-lover's son, a boy he was once very close with, and who had entered the dangerous underworld of the drug scene in Oslo and arrested for the murder of his friend.Harry starts a dangerous investigation on his own, which includes trying to find out who "the Phantom" is, the man known as "Dubai" who is the kingpin behind the new powerful and addictive drug, violin. He very quickly realises that Dubai wants him dead, and he has to watch his back at every turn, while also trying to fight his demons from the past.Someone at work told me to give this author a try, and this was the novel I managed to find at my local library. It might not have been the best place to start, and I'd like to try the other novels in the series which are a bit higher rated. I think that not having any prior knowledge of the characters might have affected the story for me a bit, so that's my bad. I did find the descriptions of Oslo very interesting, as it's a city that I don't know much about. I think that I will definitely give this author another try if I can get my hands on the Leopard or the Snowman.
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  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    This series gets better and better. The phantom is much more than a thriller: it is a crude view into the (under)belly of urban life : the drug addicts, the corrupted, the hookers,.... Harry Hole never stood for light and sweet books and this one lives up to that. It is dark and grim and has some very sad and unexpected twists. Above all, the book is human, showing life as it sometimes is with compassion for the shortcomings of most of the people we encounter.Given the end, I can hardly wait to This series gets better and better. The phantom is much more than a thriller: it is a crude view into the (under)belly of urban life : the drug addicts, the corrupted, the hookers,.... Harry Hole never stood for light and sweet books and this one lives up to that. It is dark and grim and has some very sad and unexpected twists. Above all, the book is human, showing life as it sometimes is with compassion for the shortcomings of most of the people we encounter.Given the end, I can hardly wait to start part 10.
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