Available in bookstores nationwide.
I was disappointed. Because after resurrecting the wonderful, gritty Harry Hole in his last book (Police), Nesbø drops him again in favour of what appears to be a stand-alone novel that dives feet first into the religious allegory that’s often provided the architecture for his work – especially in novels like The Redeemer. It’s not quite Dan Brown, but the symbolism is laid on with the proverbial trowel – a bit thick for the armchair sleuth, perhaps. Perhaps.
So the story goes that Sonny Lofthus, is a con with “healing hands,” someone prepared to selflessly absolve the sins of his fellow prisoners. But he’s also a hopeless junkie. He was a boy with potential, a medal winning wrestler. A model student. A proud son. But then his police officer father commits suicide. It was assumed that dad was at the heart of police corruption because after his death things clean up down at the Nick. A confessional note appears. It’s a fait accompli. Sonny hits the drugs and plunges in a web of evil. He’s encouraged to confess to murders he hadn’t committed in exchange for heroin by the corrupt prison staff, who are in cahoots with the local mafia.
Then a fellow prisoner reveals a secret that sets Sonny on a new path as an avenging angel of lethal retribution. Unraveling all of this is an ageing inspector and his young, over-ambitious protégé, who become obsessed with the case. The story spirals and spirals, intertwining into a tight-rope of a plot.
With a quick cadence, this is the perfect commuter novel. Short, punchy chapters that kept me interested and satiated through every train journey as I burrowed into the story, ignoring the conductor at my peril. It’s not a deep read. Everyone appears at surface level with only a few layers to peel back when the core plot demands it.
Still, this is the kind of book to make you feel it was well worth the time. It was disappointing that Nesbø chose to re-shelve Harry, but Sonny could be a potential replacement – albeit on the reverse side of the cards.
Reviewed by Tim Gruar
Written by Jo Nesbø
Published by Harvill Secker (distributor Harper Collins)