The Redbreast (Harry Hole, #3)
The Redbreast is a fabulous introduction to Nesbø’s tough-as-nails series protagonist, Oslo police detective Harry Hole. A brilliant and epic novel, breathtaking in its scope and design—winner of The Glass Key for best Nordic crime novel and selected as the best Norwegian crime novel ever written by members of Norway’s book clubs—The Redbreast is a chilling tale of murder and betrayal that ranges from the battlefields of World War Two to the streets of modern-day Oslo. Follow Hole as he races to stop a killer and disarm a ticking time-bomb from his nation’s shadowy past. Vogue magazine says that “nobody can delve into the dark, twisted mind of a murderer better than a Scandinavian thriller writer”…and nobody does it better than Jo Nesbø! James Patterson fans should also take note.

The Redbreast (Harry Hole, #3) Details

TitleThe Redbreast (Harry Hole, #3)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 2nd, 2009
PublisherHarvill Secker
ISBN-139781843432173
Rating
GenreMystery, Crime, Fiction, Thriller

The Redbreast (Harry Hole, #3) Review

  • Lyn
    January 1, 1970
    Jo Nesbo ups his game. Way up.The third of Nesbo’s Harry Hole novels, this one published in 2000. In my review of the second novel, Cockroaches, I opined that as good a writer as Nesbo is, his best work lay in the future.Every now and then I am right about something and this time I was, The Redbreast is head and shoulders above his previous two books. This is inspired, confident and mature – almost as if he were shrugging off his Journeyman title and moving towards the ranks of master writer.And Jo Nesbo ups his game. Way up.The third of Nesbo’s Harry Hole novels, this one published in 2000. In my review of the second novel, Cockroaches, I opined that as good a writer as Nesbo is, his best work lay in the future.Every now and then I am right about something and this time I was, The Redbreast is head and shoulders above his previous two books. This is inspired, confident and mature – almost as if he were shrugging off his Journeyman title and moving towards the ranks of master writer.And The Bat and Cockroaches were both good books, both introducing a charismatic protagonist and told a good story, making a reader want to come back.The Redbreast is even better.Set in and around Oslo we find Harry Hole stumbling and bumbling through his career. Nesbo has drawn Hole as a very real hero, with bumps and ugly problems (which is somewhat cliché as this kind of lead character seems prerequisite for a crime novel – the tough but tortured loner cop out on the edge, driven by his own demons and suffering under bureaucratic and legal obstacles that keep him from doing what is right) but he has also created in Hole a very likable and approachable protagonist, a lead actor whom the reader can get behind.In John Steinbeck’s wonderful 1942 short work The Moon Is Down, we are introduced to the Nazi invasion of Norway and are given to the idea of a united Norwegian front against the invaders. Nesbo – and history – tells a different, more complicated story. Some Norwegians joined the Germans, fought alongside the Nazis in bright green uniforms, were cheered as keeping out the invading Russians. It is in this more complex field of competing loyalties that Nesbo illuminates and enthralls.Nesbo tells The Redbreast in two alternating story lines, Hole’s present day investigations into neo-Nazi murders, and a second narrative from 1944 along the Eastern German front, in the trenches surrounding Leningrad. Nesbo weaves these two narratives into a plot structure that slowly grows together and draws in several interconnected sub-plots, blending group dynamics and character interactions into a denouement that is profound and mesmerizing.A very, very good book and highly recommended.** 2019 addendum - I've read several of these and still believe The Redbreast is his best. (
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  • Bibliophile
    January 1, 1970
    The Redbreast is actually the third of Jo Nesbø's detective novels featuring the alcoholic Harry Hole (who is on the wagon for most of this particular novel), but alas, it was the first to be translated into English. Nevertheless, it works fine as a standalone, though the impact of one particular event might have been greater had we been able to read about the character in the two previous novels. Anyway ... back to The Redbreast, which involves Nazis, both Old Skoole and Neo-, a couple of touch The Redbreast is actually the third of Jo Nesbø's detective novels featuring the alcoholic Harry Hole (who is on the wagon for most of this particular novel), but alas, it was the first to be translated into English. Nevertheless, it works fine as a standalone, though the impact of one particular event might have been greater had we been able to read about the character in the two previous novels. Anyway ... back to The Redbreast, which involves Nazis, both Old Skoole and Neo-, a couple of touching love stories, mistaken identities, corrupt police officers and a marvelous and beautifully written evocation of wartime on the Russian Front during World War II. Though perhaps there are occasions where Nesbø relies a tiny bit too much on coincidence, this is a fantastic mystery - I was kept guessing until the very last page and I had to read this lengthy novel quite compulsively until I finished it. (One particular mystery that we, the readers, know the answer to is not actually solved in the book, so clearly it will be a theme for later.)I seem to read a great deal of Scandinavian crime fiction, but The Redbreast really stood out for me in terms of plot, character development, and writing style. I know I am reading everything in translation, but Nesbø's writing seems far, far more elegant and crisp than Henning Mankell's for example, and it is miles away from the total infelicity of Stieg Larsson's efforts which I always felt would have been best served by some seriously tough love in the editing department. Indeed, because there was a similar sort of Nazi subplot in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I couldn't help but mentally compare that novel to this one, and yet again, I cannot fathom the undeserved popularity of the Larsson books compared to something like this which is actually well-written, has believable characters and a plot that makes sense. Nesbø manages to stay away from the tedious accumulation of unnecessary detail of which both Larsson and Mankell are guilty; all of his characters seem like real people, rather than random collections of cliched plot devices, and wonder of wonders, Harry doesn't actually solve one of the biggest mysteries of the story. Indeed, he only solves the main plot because the criminal wants him to, as opposed to all those amateur detectives who solve cases that have baffled the professionals for years - yes, I AM looking at you Mikael Blomqvist.In short, highly highly recommended for everyone who likes their mysteries Nordic, their characters fascinating and their writing excellent!
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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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  • Edward Lorn
    January 1, 1970
    There might be spoilers in the comments because this is one of those books you'll want to talk about with friends.I have it on good authority (*waves at Thomas*) that Harry Hole's last name doesn't rhyme with "goal". But who are we kidding. We're gonna laugh and snicker every time I mention Harry Hole in this review so go ahead and get it out of your systems. Harry Hole... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry to anybody I may have offended by being a dumb American. Speaking of being a dumb American, some of y There might be spoilers in the comments because this is one of those books you'll want to talk about with friends.I have it on good authority (*waves at Thomas*) that Harry Hole's last name doesn't rhyme with "goal". But who are we kidding. We're gonna laugh and snicker every time I mention Harry Hole in this review so go ahead and get it out of your systems. Harry Hole... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry to anybody I may have offended by being a dumb American. Speaking of being a dumb American, some of you might remember that, last time on E. Reviews, I said Herman Koch was Norwegian, but homedude is actually Dutch. Well, I did my research this time and I'm pretty sure that Jo Nesbø is... not Dutch. Pretty sure he's Australian. (I just pissed off a fuckload of people lol)Anyballs, before we get started with this review, I'mma drop some knowledge on you. Did you know that holding your ALT key and typing 0248 will get you that nifty O with the slash through it? Here, look... *holds ALT and types 0248* SELF DESTRUCT INITIATED.Well, fuck...Okay. Balls. Um. On with the review, I guess.There's a damn good reason Jo Nesbø's The Redbreast was chosen by the Gods of Literature for translation into English (Not Americanese, but actual English, as witnessed by the 'single quotation mark' and not the "double". Also, there's a bunch of U's in places there shouldn't be: honour, colour; and a few S's instead of Z's: realise and such. Have I upset enough people yet?). Yes, there are two books before this one in the Harry Hole series and they have since been translated as well, but The Redbreast was the first to be translated. No, I have not read the first two books, and from what I've heard you don't have to start with them. A little birdie told me (*waves at Tigus*) that I should start with The Redbreast, because it begins a loose trilogy. And that's what I did. I did not feel like I had missed anything. It felt like I was reading a first in a series. So how do I know that there's a good reason The Redbreast was translated. Well, because it rocks. That's why. The Redbreast has multiple timelines and a large cast, so if that kind of thing dries up your nu-nu, maybe pass on this book. But if that sort of shizzle turns your underdrawers into a splash pad, well I suggest you read this motherfucker. I dig all that shit. Hopping back and forth between past and present? Mm-hm. Jumping to a different POV almost every chapter? Oh yeah, baby. Plot twists? Somebody get me a towel. I will say that, close to the end, maybe the last fifty pages or so, I was as confused as a panda with a mirror. (Am I white? Am I black? Am I asian? Does it matter? What is life? I'm hungry, yo. Where the leaves at?) But everything became clear. I'm not going to spoil anything for you because the explanation for how the twist works is ingenious. If you read this book (or if you already have) we'll talk in the comments. Now you know why I started the review off the way I did. The last ten pages are grade-A thriller material. A race to the finish that had me hanging off the bed in my anxiety. But, overall, this entire book is a lot of fun. I'd definitely recommend this one to anybody who loves a well-told story.In summation: Harry Hole is a damn fun character to run around after. I can't wait to jump into more of his adventures. Oh, and in case you're wondering, I gave this four instead of five because I'm leaving room for improvement. Not quite fanboying, but I can see myself leaning in that direction.Final Judgment: This book is the bomb.Shit, I forgot about the SELF DEST-Hehehe... I'm so fucking cheesy. Later, guys and gals.
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  • James Thane
    January 1, 1970
    Jo Nesbo may be the best Scandinavian crime fiction writer going these days. He's created in Detective Harry Hole an interesting, deeply flawed protagonist who may remind American readers of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch. The Redbreast is the third novel to feature Hole, and it's a complex story that moves back and forth between the Second World War and the turn of the Twenty-First Century. In the earlier action, a group of Norwegian soldiers are fighting for Hitler's Germany on the Eastern Fro Jo Nesbo may be the best Scandinavian crime fiction writer going these days. He's created in Detective Harry Hole an interesting, deeply flawed protagonist who may remind American readers of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch. The Redbreast is the third novel to feature Hole, and it's a complex story that moves back and forth between the Second World War and the turn of the Twenty-First Century. In the earlier action, a group of Norwegian soldiers are fighting for Hitler's Germany on the Eastern Front. The tide of the war is turning against them; casualties are increasing, and the ties among the men are tested severely. One of the Norwegian soldiers winds up wounded in a hospital where he falls in love with a beautiful nurse and begins a romance that will reverberate through the next fifty years.In the present day (actually, 1999 and 2000) Oslo Detective Inspector Harry Hole makes a tragic, if unavoidable mistake. For this, and to save the government from being embarrassed, he is "promoted" into the Security Service. He becomes involved in an investigation of the neo-Nazis who are active in Oslo. One of them, a thug named Sverre Olsen, has been recently acquitted of a brutal assault on a small technicality, but clearly other crimes are in the works.Along the way, Harry discovers that someone in Oslo has recently come into possession of a very rare and extremely expensive sniper's rifle. He has no idea who the owner is, or what he intends to do with the rifle. Harry only knows that this can't possibly be good.As Hole tries to track down the rifle and figure out what the neo-Nazis are up to, the two story lines collide, leading to a great climax. The story is very well-told; the characters are fully developed, and the suspense is virtually non-stop. Any reader of crime fiction is almost certain to enjoy it.A word of caution: If you are interested in reading any of Nesbo's Harry Hole books, it is critically important that you read them in order. There are developments in each of the books, particularly regarding the characters, that will spoil a good deal of the suspense if you read the books out of sequence.
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  • Arah-Lynda
    January 1, 1970
    According to goodreads alone, 7800 people gave this on average, 3.8 stars.I should have liked this, but to be honest it was a struggle for me to even finish.The story seems fractured, moving as it does, between two different time periods, the latter days of WWII and present day Oslo.Nesbo writes with the kind of authority that assumes every reader would be familiar with the history of Norway and why Norwegians were mixed up with the Germans on the Eastern Front. I kept looking, lo these many pag According to goodreads alone, 7800 people gave this on average, 3.8 stars.I should have liked this, but to be honest it was a struggle for me to even finish.The story seems fractured, moving as it does, between two different time periods, the latter days of WWII and present day Oslo.Nesbo writes with the kind of authority that assumes every reader would be familiar with the history of Norway and why Norwegians were mixed up with the Germans on the Eastern Front. I kept looking, lo these many pages, for a character that I liked or didn’t, for that matter. I was looking for someone to connect to. I finally found one in Ellen, but sigh we see and hear way too little of her.For me it all got confusing.It gave me a headache.I put it down.And read another book (a good one)I picked this back up.The last 100 pages were good and I read them quite quickly.Still too little, too late.More bitter than sweet.
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  • Matt
    January 1, 1970
    With Harry Hole focussing his attention on Norwegian soil, Nesbø brings the third book in the series to the writer's attention. After a heroic act during a political summit, Hole is promoted to inspector and moved to the POT, a security directorate. In his new role, Hole begins an investigation into rumours that a high powered rifle has been brought into the country and may be used in an assassination attempt of some sort. Working in conjunction with his former partner, Ellen, they discover that With Harry Hole focussing his attention on Norwegian soil, Nesbø brings the third book in the series to the writer's attention. After a heroic act during a political summit, Hole is promoted to inspector and moved to the POT, a security directorate. In his new role, Hole begins an investigation into rumours that a high powered rifle has been brought into the country and may be used in an assassination attempt of some sort. Working in conjunction with his former partner, Ellen, they discover that all roads lead back to a man named 'the Prince', though Hole is unable to uncover this individual's real identity. Ellen inadvertently stumbles upon a major clue, but is attacked before she can pass it along to Hole, who grasps at any clue he can to close the case. At this same time, Hole becomes involved with a colleague, Rakel, and her son, Oleg. This relationship blooms and fades throughout the novel, as Hole tries to synthesise all that is going on in his professional and personal lives. Alongside this storyline, Nesbø tells a tale of a handful of Norwegian soldiers who chose to fight with the Reich after Norway's capture by German forces in World War II. These men and their lives weave a complex story that spans sixty years, one which eventually pulls Hole into the centre, as the soldiers are being murdered, one by one. Who is the Prince and how does it tie into the rifle imported from South Africa? Will Rakel be a new addiction that Hole cannot shake? Will these traitorous soldiers ever be safe in the country on which they turned their backs? Nesbø has answers, but also a handful more questions, for the reader, as the novel takes turns never seen in the series to date. A must-read by all series Harry Hole fans, thought its depth and complexities leave the previous two novels in the proverbial dust.There is no question why or how Nesbø won significant awards for this novel. Its complexities and detailed plot lines make this a stellar piece of writing, no matter the language in which it is read. Nesbø finally shows off how Scandinavian writing is so much more nuanced and complex, and forces the reader to dig deeper to pull out all the clues to craft a successful thriller. Hole and his character receive a multi-faceted exploration, alongside a rich and controversial historical review of Norway at the height of World War II. Nesbø adds a number of characters whose importance will become apparent in subsequent novels (so I have heard) and does so in a fluid manner, setting the scene for some Oslo-based mysteries, rather than flitting off to the vast reaches of the globe. While the historical story seemed to drag at times, its importance becomes readily apparent as the climax of the novel approaches and the patient reader will be rewarded for the delay. A thoroughly stunning piece of work that has breathed new life into the series for me and those who have come to respect Harry Hole up to this point. No matter what his past has shown, Hole is a man who has much more to show and with seven more novels, Nesbø has the time to peel away new layers to entice his fans.Kudos Mr. Nesbø for this novel that does not give up from the beginning until the final sentence. You are to be applauded for your hard work and significant effort.Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/
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  • Algernon (Darth Anyan)
    January 1, 1970
    [7/10]There’s nothing wrong with this Scandinavian crime thriller, possibly the most popular of its category in recent years. Yet its technical achievements (pacing, characterization, research, atmosphere, etc) may have been what kept me being fully emotionally involved in the story. With a few exceptions of great character sketches, the story felt contrived and to clever for its own good. I would even go so far as call the plot forgettable if it were not for the numerous flashbacks to the World [7/10]There’s nothing wrong with this Scandinavian crime thriller, possibly the most popular of its category in recent years. Yet its technical achievements (pacing, characterization, research, atmosphere, etc) may have been what kept me being fully emotionally involved in the story. With a few exceptions of great character sketches, the story felt contrived and to clever for its own good. I would even go so far as call the plot forgettable if it were not for the numerous flashbacks to the World War II seeds of the current crisis.The feeling I’m just along for the ride, with a big bag of popcorn beside me started with the prologue, and continued to the last page. We meet Harry Hole (in my case for the first time, because I skipped his first two novels in the series) as a burned out policeman, a bag of nerves that manages to shoot at a friendly target during a US presidential visit to Oslo. In order to avoid an international scandal, his superiors promote him to a special investigations desk, where instead of laying down quietly, he starts tracking the links between skinhead gangs violence, the purchase of a very exensive sniper rifle and resentments inherited from past collaborations of Norwegians with the Nazis in WWII.Now for the good stuff:- Harry is a great choice for the main character of a multi volume series. He is flawed, depressive, introspective, vulnerable in his personal life, a loner among his colleagues. Yet we see under all the darkness the flashes of a sunnier core, in his friendly bantering with his partner Ellen, in his tentative wooing of a woman he interviews during his investigations. The sense of humour is so much more precious and hard won, given his post-traumatic stress (I feel I should read at lest the two preques, to give him a better chance of winning me over) - Born in 1965? You look older than that, Inspector Hole.- Bad genes.- Bad luck for you.- Well, they let me into eighteen-certificate films when I was fourteen. I laugh from tie to time, But Harry’s song is sung moe often than not in a key of sadness (view spoiler)[ I was angry beyond words at the killing of Ellen, a gratuitous tug on my sympathy after putting a lot of hope in her continued presence in the series as a counterweight to Harry’s morbid apathy (hide spoiler)] Ellen had said he lacked natural buoyancy, or whatever it was that meant most people could struggle to the surface again. After his return from Bangkok he had been down for so long that he had considered giving up ever returning to the surface. Everything had been cold and dark, and all his impressions were somehow dulled. As if he were deeply immersed in water. It had been so wonderfully quiet. When people talked to him the words had been like bubbles of air coming out of their mouths, hurrying upwards and away. - the controversy surrounding the role of Norwegians collaborators in WWII, and how history is rewritten by the victors, creating resentments and pushing waves of hatred far into the future, is a better and more original anchor to the novel than the terrorist with a big gun cliche. The historical flashbacks to the siege of Leningrad, to a hospital in Vienna, or to Hamburg after carpet bombing, worked much better for me thn the contemporary pieces. ... writing the history that the authorities felt postwar Norway deserved. By keeping quiet about the widespread collaboration with the Germans and focusing on the little resistance there was. For instance, Juul devotes five pages to the sinking of the Blucher on the night leading to 9 April in his history book, but he quietly ignores the fact that prosecutions against almost 100,000 Norwegians were being considered at the trials. And it worked. The myths of a Norwegian population fighting shoulder to shoulder against Nazism live on today. - in line with other Scandinavian writers, Nesbo is aware and skillful in weaving together the individual with the larger social problems of his time. Harry Hole’s depression is rooted not only in his personal experiences in Australia and Bangkok, but also in the existential alienation of the modern man. To the issue of Nazi collaboration we can add the Israelo-Palestinian conflict, the Apartheid regime in South Africa, digs at the Russian and American superpower claims and more. A poster in his derelict apartment quotes Bjornebee: And this acceleration in the production of horsepower is again just one expression of acceleration in our understanding of the so-called laws of nature. This understanding = angst. - It may be a secondary plot in the novel, but once again, for me it was more important that the race to stop the killer: the abuse of women (read ‘rape’) by men in a position of authority. One case in Vienna in 1942 is echoed by another one in Oslo in 1999, almost mirror like. One sadist gets his just deserves, the other’s fate is left out for a sequel.In conclusion : maybe the novel deserves a better rating than my three and a half stars, but I was a bit disappointed in the predictable ending and a few loose ends. Harry Hole is a great protagonist, and I may rate his higher after I read the two prequels I skipped. Recommended for fans of Nordic crime novels.
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  • Marty
    January 1, 1970
    I'm quitting after four chapters. There have been four different scenes, a couple dozen characters and at least two dates (out of time sequentially). I HATE books written this way. Hate them. I already don't remember the characters. I don't remember which character goes with which scene. I don't want the first chapter preview of things yet to come. Mysteries are supposed to have confusing plots, not generate confusion by having the chapters in random order. I'm done with books written this way a I'm quitting after four chapters. There have been four different scenes, a couple dozen characters and at least two dates (out of time sequentially). I HATE books written this way. Hate them. I already don't remember the characters. I don't remember which character goes with which scene. I don't want the first chapter preview of things yet to come. Mysteries are supposed to have confusing plots, not generate confusion by having the chapters in random order. I'm done with books written this way and authors who write this way. I do not read as an exercise to see how many scenes and minor characters my short term memory can hold. I do not read to see if my brain can sort chapters presented out of sequence. I want a character I can identify with. I operate in a universe in which time moves monotonically forward.
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    First off, there would never be a main character in an American mystery novel called Harry Hole, unless it was a crime-solving porn star, but it seems to work just fine, for this Norway based police officer. Harry is a tough, complex, hard-drinking cop, who may have discovered a possible assassination attempt.I am not going to reveal very much here, because one of the joys of reading this terrific Scandinavian thriller, was never knowing where this baby was going. It’s a very ambitious novel, sp First off, there would never be a main character in an American mystery novel called Harry Hole, unless it was a crime-solving porn star, but it seems to work just fine, for this Norway based police officer. Harry is a tough, complex, hard-drinking cop, who may have discovered a possible assassination attempt.I am not going to reveal very much here, because one of the joys of reading this terrific Scandinavian thriller, was never knowing where this baby was going. It’s a very ambitious novel, spanning 60 years, focusing on several characters, past and present. This is an impressive introduction to a highly talented author and I am looking forward to seeing what Harry Hole gets into next.
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  • Ginger
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic!! I must love Norwegian mysteries and flawed detectives!!Going with 4.0/4.5 stars on this one!The Redbreast is the 3rd book in the Harry Hole series and I really enjoyed this one. I think you can read this as a stand-alone because I haven’t read books, #1 The Bat & #2 Cockroaches.I read The Redbreast for my book club selection for July. I’m really happy they picked this mystery because it was complex, suspenseful and I enjoyed it all the way through.Thanks Terry for joining me in a Fantastic!! I must love Norwegian mysteries and flawed detectives!!Going with 4.0/4.5 stars on this one!The Redbreast is the 3rd book in the Harry Hole series and I really enjoyed this one. I think you can read this as a stand-alone because I haven’t read books, #1 The Bat & #2 Cockroaches.I read The Redbreast for my book club selection for July. I’m really happy they picked this mystery because it was complex, suspenseful and I enjoyed it all the way through.Thanks Terry for joining me in a buddy read for this! It was even more fun to share the WWII madness and Neo-Nazi craziness with you.The book starts off with Harry Hole embarrassing the force (not really, but politics is a bitch) and he’s been reassigned to do simple surveillance tasks. He comes across a high-powered rifle being bought on the black market. It’s the type of rifle that can be traced back to WWII that was used by Nazi soldiers and allies to Germany.What’s up with this type of rifle being brought into Oslo, Norway under questionable circumstances? What’s it got to do with Neo-Nazi activities?And this is the beginning of a slow burn with a fantastic ending!There's the mystery of the soldiers fighting on the Eastern Front between Russia and German Allies. Norway at the time was invaded by Germany and they were sending Norwegian men to the front lines. When the war was over, these men came back as traitors to their country.I’ve got to say, I really enjoyed the past to present format in this book. I love how it kept progressing the mystery of the men fighting in 1944 and to present time with Harry Hole trying to figure out Neo-Nazi conspiracies and motives.I really didn’t see the plot twists or who was behind the killings until Joe Nesbø laid it all out for me at the end. Fantastic writing for me not to figure out a thing!Definitely recommend this to crime detective fans and people who love Norwegian mysteries. Stick with it though if you can handle the slow burn. It delivers in the end!
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  • Phrynne
    January 1, 1970
    ]This is the third book in the Harry Hole series and Harry is developing into a very interesting and likeable character. It was nice to see him in this book in good relationships with two very important women in his life and some of the dialogue and observations were laugh aloud funny. There was a lot of concentration required as the book bounced around in time and place with many, many characters who mostly have Norwegian names! At first I wondered how it was going to all come together but of c ]This is the third book in the Harry Hole series and Harry is developing into a very interesting and likeable character. It was nice to see him in this book in good relationships with two very important women in his life and some of the dialogue and observations were laugh aloud funny. There was a lot of concentration required as the book bounced around in time and place with many, many characters who mostly have Norwegian names! At first I wondered how it was going to all come together but of course it did and in a very thrilling way. Recommended reading for anyone who enjoys a good thriller but start with book number oneThe Bat as it is really worth getting to know Harry first.
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  • Ms.pegasus
    January 1, 1970
    I'm reading this series in order; this is the third book featuring Norwegian detective Harry Hole. Unlike many reviewers, I loved the writing in the first two books. There, much of Nesbø's attention was drawn to the challenge of characterizing the cultural underbelly of Australia and Thailand. THE REDBREAST is unquestionably different: more ambitious, with a wider assemblage of characters, carefully calibrated tension and adrenaline-pumping action. Yes, there are also the outlines of a classic m I'm reading this series in order; this is the third book featuring Norwegian detective Harry Hole. Unlike many reviewers, I loved the writing in the first two books. There, much of Nesbø's attention was drawn to the challenge of characterizing the cultural underbelly of Australia and Thailand. THE REDBREAST is unquestionably different: more ambitious, with a wider assemblage of characters, carefully calibrated tension and adrenaline-pumping action. Yes, there are also the outlines of a classic mystery as Nesbø disperses clues for his detective, but the action itself is motivated by multiple betrayals which give this book a darker mood. It's a mood that seems to fit Norway's cold winters and re-invented memories of World War II when the country was occupied by the Nazis and patriotic Norwegians were torn by their loyalties. The shadow of that time continues to haunt the present with its potent mix of neo-Fascists, disillusioned war veterans, and new-wave Nativists. The present day events span a timeline from November 1999 through the spring of 2000. The past begins on the Eastern front during World War II where the Norwegian Legion was deployed to fight the Russians. How do the two timelines connect? That is the major puzzle to be solved by the reader. I would have floundered in the convoluted trail of deceptions if not for my focus on Harry Hole. Hole has been “promoted” to a position in the foreign office. The idea is to keep him busy shuffling paper in glorified obscurity. His new boss, Kurt Meirik, is frustrated in executing that blatant political ploy. Hole comes across a routine complaint about a possible out-of-season hunting violation in the forest district of Siljan, lying in the southeastern corner of the country. Local investigators recover the shells which turn out to have come from a Märkin rifle. It's a powerful weapon designed for snipers and is banned in Norway. The most likely inference is that a serious crime is in the planning stages.I loved the relationship between Hole and his partner Ellen Gjetten. Ellen is practical, smart and intuitive. She perfectly counters Hole's emotional demons and is dedicated to the goal of keeping him a recovering alcoholic, despite his many lapses. The relationship is all the more special because it is not a romantic one. Ellen has her own personal life which gives Hole an opportunity for light-hearted teasing. I also love Hole's deft irony. Here is an exchange between him and his former boss, Crime Squad head Bjarne Møller who is a diligent, hard-working civil servant: “...he first of all knitted his eyebrows to show Harry that his concern was of a professional and not an amicable nature. 'I hear you're still spending your time sitting in Schrøder's, Harry.' 'Less than ever, boss. There's so much good stuff on TV.' 'But you're still sitting and drinking?' 'They don't like you to stand.'” (p.46)This book easily works as a stand-alone. There are few references to events from the previous two books. However, anyone interested in the series should definitely read this book first. There are numerous loose ends, and I would be disappointed if Nesbø did not address them in later books.
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  • Cathy DuPont
    January 1, 1970
    Granted, I readily admit that I am not cosmopolitan. Learning other languages (haven’t tried the Rosetta Stone) has always been a challenge for me never being successful---try as I may. Fortunately (or not) here in north Florida, knowing English is good enough although I do know my fair share of ‘red neck’ since north Florida is the center of the universe for the dialect. (Please don’t spread that around although I think it's already known.)With that said, at times I found myself a bit lost read Granted, I readily admit that I am not cosmopolitan. Learning other languages (haven’t tried the Rosetta Stone) has always been a challenge for me never being successful---try as I may. Fortunately (or not) here in north Florida, knowing English is good enough although I do know my fair share of ‘red neck’ since north Florida is the center of the universe for the dialect. (Please don’t spread that around although I think it's already known.)With that said, at times I found myself a bit lost reading Jo Nesbo's The Redbreast, not often but enough to bother me alot. By the way, the name is pronounced ˈju ˈnɛsbø. I've been saying Joe, oh, my. Nesbo’s character Harry Hole is pronounced Hoo-ley per my friend Harry. I told Harry that I thought the character's name Harry Hole was an odd choice for Nesbo. My friend Harry who is much more cosmopolitan than I am, shared the correct pronunciation with me. Hole is absolutely the kind of hero in books that I simply adore. He is honorable, diligent, kind and humble lacking arrogance which is quite refreshing to me in life and in characters. Nesbo's storyline is the best, very intriguing and leaves a few unanswered questions at the end which I'm sure are to be addressed in the next book. Since some books have not been translated into English, not sure which one I'll read next. (I am not learning Norwegian to read the series.) My only drawback is the fact that although the English translation is great, I was still stuck with unfamiliar words and references. And knowing Norway would benefit me immensely. [image error]Norway FACTS: Distance between St. Augustine, FL and Oslo, Norway is 4667, and kilometers from Jacksonville, FL to Oslo, Norway is 7272. ****************Next read, and there will be one, and it may already be on my bookshelf, I’m printing out a detailed map so I can see where Harry has been and is going. Learning kilometers, well, that may be another thing. Not sure I’ll live long enough to learn both a new language and converting to the metric system.For a much more thorough and articulate review, do yourself a favor and read Harry’s review at The Redbreast. Harry is an ardent Harry Hole fan, just ask him. As an aside, I was emailing another reader of Nesbo and one comic said, "what's with the o's with a slash through them and the little o's over some letters?" He was talking about this: å prøve vår. No clue, but he gave me a laugh. Guess we are both Made in America. And yes, we need to broaden our reading beyond our boundaries.
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  • Optimist ♰King's Wench♰
    January 1, 1970
    This one is hard for me to rate. I was sucked into the narrative almost immediately.Things were going great. Nesbø was throwing out pieces to this puzzle and was gobbling them up like a champ.Harry's ability to connect with people and his relationship with his partner Ellen were sources of many feels. He meets Rakel for the first time and is instantly smitten and me being the squishy marshmallow that I am loved all of his angst over her. The dynamic he gets going with Halvorsen was heartwarming. This one is hard for me to rate. I was sucked into the narrative almost immediately.Things were going great. Nesbø was throwing out pieces to this puzzle and was gobbling them up like a champ.Harry's ability to connect with people and his relationship with his partner Ellen were sources of many feels. He meets Rakel for the first time and is instantly smitten and me being the squishy marshmallow that I am loved all of his angst over her. The dynamic he gets going with Halvorsen was heartwarming. Harry gets put through the wringer and my heart broke for him but I'm noticing this as a trend for Nesbø: being mean to Harry. *pets Harry*All the while I kept up pretty well with the non-linear narrative with its complex twists and turns and multiple characters. I cannot overstate how much I connect with how Nesbø constructs his stories. I also enjoy how he injects relevant topics somehow, sometimes subtly and sometimes heavily but usually without making them the center of the narrative.I also learned some things about Norway and Norwegian history as this story deals heavily with Nazism, both historically and neo-Nazism. I like learning new things so this all worked for me.Where things went hinky was the plot twist at the end. I thought it was hokey and it made me sort of wilt like a flower. There's also a thread that didn't get closed which I'm wondering if it will carry over into the next one or if we just get left wondering which will make me angee in my face. Nevertheless, I still wanted to see how it would play out and I can't discount that. Nor can I or would I want to discount how smitten I am with Harry and this series, so I'll go with 3.5 and call it a day.Recommend to thriller/crime drama fans.
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  • Elaine
    January 1, 1970
    I think Jo Nesbo is a better writer than Stieg Larsson, although I enjoyed the Millenium series. This author requires some concentration, as the plot is quite complex, but it is worth it. I loved the characters and the Oslo setting. Not only do we get a well-constructed mystery, but also learn a bit of history. Looking forward to other books in the series.
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  • Sofia
    January 1, 1970
    I can confirm this is a good book, 500 pages sailed by and I was not keeping tabs on the page count, a thing I do when reading long books. It's all in the writing my friend and Nesbo has the knack for it.Like the redbreast above, this story is made up of bits all over the place and we see our Harry put bit by bit together, painfully so. Our Harry with the weight of life on his shoulders. In this one Nesbo picks up a hot potato, history, recent history and it's subjectivity. Facets of how history I can confirm this is a good book, 500 pages sailed by and I was not keeping tabs on the page count, a thing I do when reading long books. It's all in the writing my friend and Nesbo has the knack for it.Like the redbreast above, this story is made up of bits all over the place and we see our Harry put bit by bit together, painfully so. Our Harry with the weight of life on his shoulders. In this one Nesbo picks up a hot potato, history, recent history and it's subjectivity. Facets of how history is written by the victor and makes me think of how things would have been written differently if the loser had one. I doubt there is true objectivity anywhere when with the placement of a comma we are making a statement, let alone with tomes written and what is left unsaid. I hate Nesbo sometimes, he gives us people, interesting, lovely or hateful and then he does the GRRM thing on them. But he keeps me reading, he keeps me involved, he makes my reading soul happy. So I continue. On with the next one girls.BR with my girls - Lena and Alona - I was the slow one this time :D
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  • LenaRibka
    January 1, 1970
    I have to say, I felt a little bit confused during the first chapters: A strange accident with a Secret Service agent in which Harry was involved, neo-Nazi circles, scenes from the World War II, and not least, a lot of characters which Nordic names I couldn't memorize immediately. But the plot, the characters, my curiosity and of course a masterful writing got my WHOLE attention from the very first page, and, guys, it was soooo worth it! By far the best installment in the series, and for sure on I have to say, I felt a little bit confused during the first chapters: A strange accident with a Secret Service agent in which Harry was involved, neo-Nazi circles, scenes from the World War II, and not least, a lot of characters which Nordic names I couldn't memorize immediately. But the plot, the characters, my curiosity and of course a masterful writing got my WHOLE attention from the very first page, and, guys, it was soooo worth it! By far the best installment in the series, and for sure one of the best mystery thriller I read. It is EXTREMELY clever written. Really, in all these small but important details and remarks, in emotional aspect, in a way how Jo Nesbø connects the past and the present, how he builds into the plot unexpected twists. This book has over 500 pages, a long book actually. But I haven't even noticed it. I can't say that I read it in one sitting, I had to interrupt my pleasure with such trivial things like going to work, sleeping and other boring activities that we name a RL, but I swear, I reduce this part of my life to minimum, and I can't wait to read my next Harry Hole's book!BR with my girls Sofia and Alona
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  • Lewis Weinstein
    January 1, 1970
    For those who enjoy the crime story/thriller/historical genre, this is as good as it gets. It is a complex story, with many threads, beautifully written (even in translation), great descriptions of people, places and action, never overdone, and with occasional splashes of humor. Nesbo presents the story in pieces, and much is unclear as it should be in this kind of story. I paused before the final pages, wondering how Nesbo would finish it. These last scenes were brilliant, even though several t For those who enjoy the crime story/thriller/historical genre, this is as good as it gets. It is a complex story, with many threads, beautifully written (even in translation), great descriptions of people, places and action, never overdone, and with occasional splashes of humor. Nesbo presents the story in pieces, and much is unclear as it should be in this kind of story. I paused before the final pages, wondering how Nesbo would finish it. These last scenes were brilliant, even though several threads were left unresolved, perhaps to be picked up in subsequent Harry Hole novels.Central to the story was the position Norway was put into between Hitler and Stalin, and the long-lasting impact of the choices people made in WWII, especially those who fought with the Nazis. Much of this history was new to me, but there are surely parallels to the position of Poland, which is part of my story in the sequel to A FLOOD OF EVIL currently underway. Of course Poland's tragedy lasted much longer than Norway's, roughly two hundred years versus five.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    This is more a straight-up mystery than a standard gruesome, let's kill women! Norweigian crime novel, and I like it like that. There seemed to be a tad of superfluous info, a few red herrings, and too many Helenas, but luckily, it's all tied up in a neat little package at the end. Everything ends up making sense and being a pretty crucial part of the story. I am horribly bummed out by the death of Ellen even though I knew it was coming. The way it's worded makes it one of the more haunting deat This is more a straight-up mystery than a standard gruesome, let's kill women! Norweigian crime novel, and I like it like that. There seemed to be a tad of superfluous info, a few red herrings, and too many Helenas, but luckily, it's all tied up in a neat little package at the end. Everything ends up making sense and being a pretty crucial part of the story. I am horribly bummed out by the death of Ellen even though I knew it was coming. The way it's worded makes it one of the more haunting deaths I've ever read, something on par with the end of In The Cut. As she's being struck with the baseball bat & thinking to herself, "Forty percent of hedge sparrows survive. I'll get through this winter," I got the chills. And when, oh when, does that bastard Waaler get his comeuppance? I await with bated breath the copy of The Devil's Star that I have on hold.
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  • Terry
    January 1, 1970
    For me, this was the right mix of mystery, history and action that ended up a very satisfying read. It was very well written, and I never did figure out the mystery until the very end. But, it made sense once revealed, which isn't always the case in books like this. Harry Hole, our main character, was the right combination of flawed human but very driven cop, and I sympathized with his plight and pulled for him throughout. The history part of this deals with Norway's involvement in WWII, which I For me, this was the right mix of mystery, history and action that ended up a very satisfying read. It was very well written, and I never did figure out the mystery until the very end. But, it made sense once revealed, which isn't always the case in books like this. Harry Hole, our main character, was the right combination of flawed human but very driven cop, and I sympathized with his plight and pulled for him throughout. The history part of this deals with Norway's involvement in WWII, which I was not aware of, but found very fascinating. I read several other reviews from some people who found the pacing of this book to be too slow. I did feel that it was slow in some parts, but overall, I didn't mind it and it did not detract from my enjoyment. Overall, this was 4.5/5.0 stars, and I'm definitely planning on reading more of the books in this series.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    When they advertise Jo Nesbø as ‘The Next Steig Larsson’, I’m inclined to pass on this author. But since a lot of people seem to be raving about this author, I thought I better check him out, especially when they class his Harry Hole series as Hard-Boiled. I’ve found the only reason they are calling him the next Larsson is simply because he is another Scandinavian crime writer; which means some overly graphic murders, Nazis and an expected twist. The Redbreast is the third book in the Harry Hole When they advertise Jo Nesbø as ‘The Next Steig Larsson’, I’m inclined to pass on this author. But since a lot of people seem to be raving about this author, I thought I better check him out, especially when they class his Harry Hole series as Hard-Boiled. I’ve found the only reason they are calling him the next Larsson is simply because he is another Scandinavian crime writer; which means some overly graphic murders, Nazis and an expected twist. The Redbreast is the third book in the Harry Hole novel but the first available in English. Hole is investigating neo-Nazi activity which leads him to further explore Norway’s activities on the Eastern Front during WWII. Full review can be found on my blog;http://literary-exploration.com/2012/...
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  • Chris Steeden
    January 1, 1970
    Hooray, we are in Oslo, Norway. After Norwegian police investigator, Harry Hole, is sent on international assignment first to Australia in The Bat and then to Thailand in Cockroaches he is on home ground in this intriguingly titled book by Jo Nesbo. This book holds a big surprise. Well, it was for me anyway. The beginning of this book is a two-day summit of peace talks between Israel and Palestine attended by the current US President, the PLO leader Yasser Arafat, the Israeli PM Ehud Barak and t Hooray, we are in Oslo, Norway. After Norwegian police investigator, Harry Hole, is sent on international assignment first to Australia in The Bat and then to Thailand in Cockroaches he is on home ground in this intriguingly titled book by Jo Nesbo. This book holds a big surprise. Well, it was for me anyway. The beginning of this book is a two-day summit of peace talks between Israel and Palestine attended by the current US President, the PLO leader Yasser Arafat, the Israeli PM Ehud Barak and the Russian PM Vladimir Putin. As you can tell from this we are 20 years in the past (1999). I’ve got to say that it feels like another lifetime to me hearing Arafat’s name again but that is an aside. Even further in the past is the Eastern Front of 1942 to 1944 where we follow a section of Norwegians who are fighting with the Germans against the Russians at the Siege of Leningrad. This was the surprise for me. I didn’t see this coming. It’s good though.Then there are the 1999 / 2000 Norwegian neo-Nazis, an illegal German hunting rifle and murders. Not forgetting men in high authority exerting power of a women they take a fancy to. Where does our grizzled world-weary hero, Harry Hole, come into play? Well these peace talks are a security headache for the authorities. It’s a case of trying to stop the President and Prime Ministers being picked-off by would-be assassins. Events will conspire to push Hole into another department. Hang on, there is more, what has the World War II chapters got to do with the story. I carried on reading as I was quite taken with this book a quarter of the way through. You should too. I will not give anything away.In typical Nesbo fashion there is a lot crammed into this novel. It will definitely keep you thinking and guessing. As the chapters change from 1999 / 2000 to 1942 / 1944 you see the striking parallels between modern day and during the war period. I admit to being a little confused at points but all becomes clear in the end. Confusion is all part of it. I did keep reading back thinking this does not make sense. It was right that it didn’t. False information and all that. I did enjoy the book and got through it fairly quickly for me. I’ll give it a 4-star rating but it is more like a 3.75. The books are getting better.There are certain things that were not tied up by the end of the book. Harry knows this. Ready for the next one then…
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    Book DescriptionDetective Harry Hole embarrasses the Norwegian police force during a U.S. Presidential visit so he is reassigned to the Norwegian Security Service as an Inspector (a promotion that gets him out of the way and is supposed to shut him up). Assigned to investigate what should be a rather mundane case, Hole instead finds himself getting embroiled in a possible assassination plot that has its roots in World War II—involving some Norwegians who served on the Eastern Front in the servic Book DescriptionDetective Harry Hole embarrasses the Norwegian police force during a U.S. Presidential visit so he is reassigned to the Norwegian Security Service as an Inspector (a promotion that gets him out of the way and is supposed to shut him up). Assigned to investigate what should be a rather mundane case, Hole instead finds himself getting embroiled in a possible assassination plot that has its roots in World War II—involving some Norwegians who served on the Eastern Front in the service of the Germans. Plunging Hole into the world of Norway’s current crop of neo-Nazis and the men who served on the Eastern Front, he finds himself involved in a complicated case that gets more complex and confusing as time goes on—as well as threatening the lives of those that Harry holds dear.My ThoughtsAlthough this isn’t the first Harry Hole novel, it is the first one that was translated into English. Therefore, we’re plunged right into Hole’s world with little introduction. We quickly learn that Harry has a drinking problem, which he is fighting with the help of his brilliant young partner Ellen. The relationship between Harry and Ellen was the highlight of the book for me. Their partnership and banter felt authentic and livened up what was often a confusing read.The confusion part came mostly from the events that take place in flashback during the war. We learn of several events that concern a small contingent of soldiers on the Eastern Front, which we know is related to Harry’s current case. Exactly how they are related becomes clearer as the novel progresses, but I personally struggled to keep up with everything. Nesbø gives his readers a lot of balls to juggle, and I confess I wasn’t always successful in keeping them all up in the air. In fact, I was actually thinking of quitting the book about midway through, but I kept on. Part of my problem was the disorientation of being thrust into a series without being properly introduced to the main protagonist. Another was the Norwegian surnames (which was also a problem for me in the Steig Larsson books.) The other issue was the sheer complexity of the plot and my inability to hold it all together in my head.However, there were moments where I started really getting into the story, and I began to glimpse what might have attracted others to this author. I liked that Nesbø didn’t choose to tell his story in a completely conventional way. At one point, each chapter is a series of answering machine messages. (This section was brilliantly done and really affected me emotionally.) So, although The Redbreast didn’t set my world on fire, I’m willing to give Nesbø another try. The next book in the series is Nemesis, so I’ll suppose I’ll give that one a go before deciding whether to continue with the series. (For the record, the order of the series for the books that have been translated into English is: The Redbreast, Nemesis, The Devil’s Star, The Redeemer, The Snowman and The Leopard.)Recommended for: Fans of complex police procedurals, readers looking for the “next Steig Larsson” (for the record, I don’t think Nesbø is the next Larsson but I can see why people make that comparison)
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    I very much enjoyed this third instalment in the Harry Hole series.Harry is back in Oslo and after causing an embarrassment by shooting a secret service man has been promoted to Inspector and given a new role surveilling neo-Nazi activity.He soon becomes embroiled in a case involving the death of a Nazi sympathiser, a former Norwegian WWII soldier who fought with the Germans on the Russian front. He also suspects that the purchase of a powerful assassins rifle by a Norwegian may be involved in a I very much enjoyed this third instalment in the Harry Hole series.Harry is back in Oslo and after causing an embarrassment by shooting a secret service man has been promoted to Inspector and given a new role surveilling neo-Nazi activity.He soon becomes embroiled in a case involving the death of a Nazi sympathiser, a former Norwegian WWII soldier who fought with the Germans on the Russian front. He also suspects that the purchase of a powerful assassins rifle by a Norwegian may be involved in a neo-Nazi plot. This is a complex story, with it's roots back in events of WWII.I hadn't previously heard of fate of Norwegians who fought with the Germans during the war - collaborators were executed and most soldiers who returned received a prison sentence - so found that an interesting historical aspect of the novel.The identity of the assassin remains hidden for most of the story. Harry always seems to be one step behind him as his actions do not make sense until his identity and history unfold late in the novel.Harry is shaping up to be an interesting character. He is described as "a large man...wearing a suit jacket that was slightly too small, black jeans and large Dr Martens boot. The close-shaven head and the slim,athletic body suggested an age somewhere around the early thirties - although the bloodshot eyes with bags underneath and the pale complexion with thin capillaries bursting sporadically into small red deltas pointed more in the region of fifty." He is tenacious when it comes to solving clues that don't fit the crimescene and doesn't believe in coincidences.He doesn't fit in well at work (or try to) and clearly prefers to be a loner. While he doesn't seem to have any close male friends, he is respected by many of his colleagues and has two significant women in his life who value him, his police partner, Ellen and his new colleague Rakel.This is a tightly written story, with well developed characters and enough suspense to keep you reading. There are some threads that have clearly been left for future novels, including a very corrupt policeman, that I will enjoy following in the next book.
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  • Nancy Oakes
    January 1, 1970
    The Scandanavians are geniuses in the crime-writing world; this book is 500+ pages and I couldn't stop reading until I had finished the entire thing. It is so very credible that I couldn't put it down. The characters are very well drawn, the story grabs you and doesn't let down, and the writing is excellent. The book starts with one story line featuring Harry Hole, a police detective, and his partner Ellen, who are on surveillance detail in Oslo while the US President is meeting with others ther The Scandanavians are geniuses in the crime-writing world; this book is 500+ pages and I couldn't stop reading until I had finished the entire thing. It is so very credible that I couldn't put it down. The characters are very well drawn, the story grabs you and doesn't let down, and the writing is excellent. The book starts with one story line featuring Harry Hole, a police detective, and his partner Ellen, who are on surveillance detail in Oslo while the US President is meeting with others there. Harry finds himself caught up in the middle ofa messy situation leaving a Secret Service agent dead; but because the US doesn't want the word to get out that there was a screw-up, Harry is promoted to the Security Service (the POT) where he has his own office and pretty much does nothing but read reports and decide which ones need further study. However, he finds one report that captures his attention -- a rather unique weapon is found that turns out to have been an old Marklin rifle, actually outlawed because of its incredibly destructive power. It's also a very expensive weapon, and Harry gets on the trail immediately, but his investigation leads him into some dark and ugly areas. The author also interweaves a story that starts during WWII, at the Eastern Front, when many Norwegians found themselves fighting on the side of the Germans against the Russians. As the two storylines begin to merge, the story really heats up, and you will not be able to stop reading. I can't say more because any minor give away would ruin the whole thing. The story is very well crafted, the writing is great, and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone enjoys a good, solid mystery. I would also recommend it to those who like Scandinavian writers but who, perhaps, have not yet tried this author.I just bought the next one, Nemesis, and can't wait to read it.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Harry Hole has once again found himself in a predicament that could potentially jeopardize his career. When the President of the United States comes to Norway, Harry finds himself on surveillance duty alongside the Secret Service. Unbeknownst to Harry one of the Secret Service officers makes a move that causes him to be seen as a threat and Harry accidentally shoots him. The Norwegian police department and Secret Service come to an agreement that Harry will not be persecuted, but instead he will Harry Hole has once again found himself in a predicament that could potentially jeopardize his career. When the President of the United States comes to Norway, Harry finds himself on surveillance duty alongside the Secret Service. Unbeknownst to Harry one of the Secret Service officers makes a move that causes him to be seen as a threat and Harry accidentally shoots him. The Norwegian police department and Secret Service come to an agreement that Harry will not be persecuted, but instead he will be placed in a new department and promoted to an inspector. In an attempt to hide Harry away from causing further trouble, he finds himself looking into a case that spans several decades. Someone has smuggled in a Marklin rifle, best known for its use in World War II. Harry believes no one would pay almost a million kroner to smuggle in a weapon of this caliber if they were not seeking to wreak havoc. Coupled with a recent uprise in the neo-Nazi community living in Norway, Harry finds himself in a battle against time. Can he piece together the puzzle before chaos reigns?Jo Nesbo has struck the perfect mixture of historical meets crime fiction within the pages of THE REDBREAST. This book is every bit as much of a guide to Norway’s involvement in World War II, as it is a mystery. Being an American, I grew up learning all about America’s involvement in WWII, but had little knowledge of Nordic involvement. I was instantly captivated by the chapters that took the reader back in time. These chapters are narrated by a soldier who brings the reader onto the frontline and a firsthand glimpse into the turmoil that war can cause. Each flashback chapter draws the reader further into the present time and the connection between this narrator and what is going on in Norway. I found myself looking forward to these chapters just as much as I was the present day sections.Harry Hole is the obvious star of this series, but the secondary characters he works with and is investigating bring a fantastic depth to the story. I was invested in the lives of those around Harry at times more than I was his life. There are certainly some standout characters that will hopefully continue on in the series, as well as one character in particular I wish would have made it through this book. Reading these books in order helps to build up the connection the reader feels with Harry, as we learn more about what makes him tick. Harry has been through several dramatic situations in the preceding two novels of this series and the third installment doesn’t grant him any leeway. This time around it was refreshing to see Harry pull through the situation by devoting himself to the case at hand and not immediately being sucked into an alcoholic stupor. While there is quite a stereotype in using a troubled police officer in crime fiction novels, I feel that Harry’s character brings a level of depth often missing from other books using this element.THE REDBREAST was an intoxicating and mesmerizing story that had me binging sections to find out what would happen next. I truly became swept away by both the present and past within these pages. Nebso delivered an amazing finale to the book, which created an ultimate 5 star read! I can’t wait to carry on with this series in 2019 and find out what Nesbo has in store for Hole in NEMESIS.
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  • Nigel
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars, 7/10 very enjoyableNo.3 in the hugely popular Harry Hole series, a tough mid-30s Norwegian homicide detective. This story was well-written and suspenseful, and unlike most books, everything doesn't necessarily turn out for the best.This was the best one of the series so far, I have now read the first 4, and am enjoying this series more and more. Certainly similarities to some of my other favourite tough-guy anti-authoritarian detectives in Rebus and Bosch, but with even more self-dest 3.5 stars, 7/10 very enjoyableNo.3 in the hugely popular Harry Hole series, a tough mid-30s Norwegian homicide detective. This story was well-written and suspenseful, and unlike most books, everything doesn't necessarily turn out for the best.This was the best one of the series so far, I have now read the first 4, and am enjoying this series more and more. Certainly similarities to some of my other favourite tough-guy anti-authoritarian detectives in Rebus and Bosch, but with even more self-destructive tendencies.This book's plot centred around a WWII veteran of the Eastern Front fighting alongside the Nazis as a Norwegian volunteer against the Russians (so ending up on the wrong side of history), who 50 years later after receiving a terminal diagnosis starts plotting a complex revenge. Although some elements of the plot are far-fetched, it is well written, with great suspense and characterisation. Highly recommended, Jo Nesbo deserves his reputation as one of the best Scandinavian writers.
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  • Art the Turtle of Amazing Girth
    January 1, 1970
    It was a very slow beginning, hot shot middle, and then an ending that left me hanging in some important spots.It's still a great seriesHarry is a great character, I can't wait to read more
  • Ellie
    January 1, 1970
    The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø is the third book (out of 10, so far) in Nesbo's Harry Hole series. Harry is Norwegian-a jaded, alcoholic cop who seriously questions the point of what he does. I will admit at the outset of this review that I love Harry and I have loved the other books in the series I have read.In The Redbreast, the narrative switches between two time periods: World War II and the present (the year 1999). At first, the switching gave me great difficulty and I had trouble with the WWII The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø is the third book (out of 10, so far) in Nesbo's Harry Hole series. Harry is Norwegian-a jaded, alcoholic cop who seriously questions the point of what he does. I will admit at the outset of this review that I love Harry and I have loved the other books in the series I have read.In The Redbreast, the narrative switches between two time periods: World War II and the present (the year 1999). At first, the switching gave me great difficulty and I had trouble with the WWII time, that focuses on Norwegian collaborators (with the Nazi's). As I adjusted to the switching and the somewhat more confusing war narrative, I was able to engage with the novel more easily. In addition, as the novel progress, the war narrative decreases in its percentage of the text, also increasing my ease of reading. So, I found the first 50-75 pages a little difficult to enter into but once I was "in" the story, I became obsessed with it. I couldn't stop reading by the last 150 pages-I was reading while doing anything else that absolutely had to be done.The narrative becomes compelling and I was totally involved in watching Harry cope with his emotional problems and in the plot. I am generally more interested in character than plot but in this story, both held equal sway.Without giving anything away, I would say that, for me, the ending did not disappoint. I would give the novel as a whole (especially the second half) top marks for suspense and high marks for historical interest as well.
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