The Redeemer by Jo Nesbø, translated by Don Bartlett
Originally published as Frelseren, 2005
Knopf, May 2013
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss.
I really like police procedurals, and I, among millions of others, eat up the Harry Hole novels by Jo Nesbø. Harry is an interesting character, the plots are full of twists, and there’s a lot at stake for the characters. This is probably my favorite Harry Hole book of the four I’ve read so far: Harry isn’t in as horrible place as he’s been in in previous books, the plotting isn’t too convoluted, and the story doesn’t involve a serial killer. I recommend reading the three books that come right before The Redeemer (The Redbreast, Nemesis, and The Devil’s Star) to provide more background about Harry and what’s happening in the police department, but starting with The Redeemer won’t be too confusing to a reader who’s new to the series.
The Redeemer begins with a sober Harry Hole welcoming– if that’s the right word– a new boss, Gunnar Hagen, a former military man who replaces his protective boss Bjarne Møller. This particular investigation centers on the shooting of a Salvation Army member in a busy square in Oslo during a concert before Christmas. The story turns into a cat and mouse game between Harry and The Little Redeemer, a contract killer from the former Yugoslavia. Nesbø is good at switching points of view from the hunter to the hunted, and he’s very good at building suspense. He also spends plenty of time fleshing out the story of The Little Redeemer, which humanizes him.
Besides the suspense of the main criminal investigation, which brings Harry and his colleagues into the world of the Salvation Army’s leadership and the people they serve, the novel spends plenty of time on Harry’s personal life and life within the police department. There are threads that I’m sure will be played out in other novels as his situation in the department evolves.
This is a very strong book in the series, and I recommend it highly.