Good Read: Jo Nesbo – The Redbreast

Week would not be complete without Harry, would it? The Redbreast is #3 in the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo. This novel takes a bit of a turn away from the previous “Harry Travels Abroad on a Mission” setting that we read through the past two books. Harry stays home this time, but Nesbo takes another turn, going back to the past introducing a new dimension to the exploration of Norway that is present in his books. So without further ado, The Redbreast.

1944. In the trenches outside Leningrad on the Eastern Front a unit of Norwegian soldiers in German uniforms fight for the cause they believe in: a free Norway. Coming from all social strata, they do not share politics or a motivation for being there. The boldest of them, Daniel Gudeson, is shot and his body is laid in a mass grave to be burned. Some time later, however, in a military hospital in Vienna, a wounded soldier turns up saying that he is Daniel Gudeson. And he and a nurse, Helene, fall in love. When the soldier is called up by the Wehrmacht to be sent to certain death on the southern section of the Eastern Front, the two of them plan their escape.

1999. An old man goes out into the streets of Oslo after receiving his death sentence from the doctor. He thinks about the war. He knows that he has one final mission to undertake before dying.

After accidentally shooting an American secret service agent during President Clinton’s visit to Norway, Harry Hole has, to his own bemusement, been moved to POT, the secret service unit, and promoted to the rank of inspector. And packed off to an office to sift through a report on a low-priority case: a suspected gang of arms dealers with possible links to nests of old and new Nazis. An ex-Eastern Front soldier is found dead in Oslo and Harry gradually uncovers leads not only to the present time but to the past and the war and – most scary of all – the near future.

The Redbreast was awarded with The Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize 2000 for Best Novel of the Year. In 2004, Norwegian book clubs voted The Redbreast as the Best Norwegian Crime Novel Ever Written. In addition, The Redbreast was shortlisted for the 2007 Duncan Lawrie International Dagger.

“This is chilling, spectacular stuff, and anyone looking for serious compelling, crime writing need look no further.”
-Mark Billingham

“My most personal novel. I used both sides of the family as models and did loads of research on soldiers at the Eastern Front. It was a strange feeling writing The Redbreast because I knew from the first page it was strong material. It was a question of being careful and not destroying it.”

NOTE: This one was read in two days. Couldn’t let go. Enjoy!

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