The Son begins in a very grim place: Sonny Loftus has been in prison over 10 years, he’s a heroin addict, and he listens to the harrowing confession of a fellow inmate. Loftus is not a typical protagonist: he’s sort of a Buddha, he’s a mess with a backstory that is revealed as the story progresses, and somehow he beats his heroin addiction and succeeds in his mission to avenge his father’s death and uncovers a corrupt scheme within the police department and beyond.
I’ve complained on this blog before about vigilante stories, but somehow I liked this one. Nesbø is so good at keeping a plot moving, and The Son was no exception. Also, the tone of this book worked for me: there are some serious moments about crime and criminal justice policies and how they work in corrupt institutions. Those elements elevate the story of Sonny Loftus killing people related to the murder of his father, a police officer. And there is some levity: there is a bit at the end that made me laugh, which is rare for the ending of a crime novel, and it made me reinterpret the story as a whole as not being such a heavy-handed vigilante story.
Reading the first chapter was a rough go, and the main antagonist owes an awful lot to a certain character in The Wire, a show that Nesbø name-checks in the book (along with quite a bit of music, which was all pretty spot-on), but those are my only complaints about the story.