Nemesis by Jo Nesbo

Book Blurb ‘How do you catch a killer when you’re the number one suspect? A man is caught on CCTV, shooting dead a cashier at a bank. Detective Harry Hole begins his investigation, but after dinner with an old flame wakes up with no memory of the past 12 hours. Then the girl is found dead in mysterious circumstances and he begins to receive threatening emails: is someone trying to frame him for her death? As Harry fights to clear his name, the bank robberies continue with unparalleled savagery…’

I picked up this book at Adelaide Writers Week, part of our wonderful Adelaide Festival of Arts after listening to Jo Nesbo speak. I spent a very entertaining afternoon listening to this talk on our digital radio thanks to the dedicated Adelaide Writers Week digital radio station. Jo Nesbo in particular intrigued me, his personality jumped out of my radio and I thought that whatever this person has written is bound to be fascinating.

I purchased ‘Nemesis’ at the event as I had heard that not all of his books had been translated into English. There also seems to be some confusion as to which order the Harry Hole series of books should be read in light of this. According to Nesbo’s website the first 2 Harry Hole’s are yet to be translated and released in Australia (yes, we know we are at the end of the earth), so far released is number 3 ‘Redbreast’ and number 4 ‘Nemesis’ (up to book number 9). Unfortunately ‘Redbreast’ was sold out when I went to make my purchase, so I decided to buy the next book. Fortunately, Nesbo’s stories are not trilogies and can be read independently of others. I am sure it would help with the fleshing out of the characters knowing some of their history, however, it isn’t necessary and the story doesn’t suffer.

I am not keen on revealing much about plot, so as to not spoil it for others, this is even more important when it comes to crime thrillers. Nesbo writes with style not dissimilar to that of Larsson and I can imagine how the comparison arose. I felt I was in familiar environment, that could have been due to my own visits to Scandinavia I am easily transported back. Some of the correlations I found were the way in which the police force characters were portrayed, particularly the young woman Beate with her peculiar talent. Whilst not in any sense would I suggest she is a personification of Lisbeth Salander, I was interested how both women are portrayed as damaged, tough, with special skills and vulnerable.

This story had me turning pages and not wanting to put it down from the very first chapter. Nesbo has created a fantastic paced crime thriller that keeps you guessing until the very end of the book. There are so many red herrings I was genuinely struggling to come to my own conclusion. Cleverly woven into the book is another story, complex, intertwined in the main story.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good crime thriller, you wont get the level of violence or graphic recounting as Larsson provides, but in my view this doesn’t diminish the story; rather I appreciate the mystery.


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