Phantom (Harry Hole #9) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published: October 2, 2012

Following from Jo Nesbø’s electrifying international best-sellers The Snowman and The Leopard, now comes Phantom, which plunges the brilliant, deeply troubled, now former police officer Harry Hole into a full-tilt investigation on which his own tenuous future will come to depend.

When Harry left Oslo again for Hong Kong—fleeing the traumas of life as a cop—he thought he was there for good. But then the unthinkable happened. The son of the woman he loved, lost, and still loves is arrested for murder: Oleg, the boy Harry helped raise but couldn’t help deserting when he fled. Harry has come back to prove that Oleg is not a killer. Barred from rejoining the police force, he sets out on a solitary, increasingly dangerous investigation that takes him deep into the world of the most virulent drug to ever hit the streets of Oslo (and the careers of some of the city’s highest officials), and into the maze of his own past, where he will find the wrenching truth that finally matters to Oleg, and to himself.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

Loved this book, just wish I had read the  series in order.  Here are the highlights:

  • Harry Hole has returned to his life of self-imposed exile in Hong Kong, but is brought back to Norway as the book begins as he is told that Oleg, the son of his on-off girlfriend, Rakel Fauke, has been arrested for the murder of his flatmate, Gusto. Since Harry has become a father figure to Oleg, he comes to Norway to determine the truth about the murder.
  • An airline pilot is arrested for transporting heroin into Norway, but – thanks to a burner within the Oslo Police Force, he is released and – although suspended from his job – is tasked by the heroin smuggling gang to work for them.
  • Harry meets an elderly priest at the hotel where he stays who, throughout the novel, gives Harry seemingly random information that ultimately aids him in solving the murder of Gusto. He also discovers that the drug-scene in Oslo no longer revolves around heroin, but around a morphine-based drug called Violin, which gives a bigger drug “high” and is much more addictive, but lacks some of the fatal consequences involved with the injection of heroin.
  • Harry manages to sneak into Oleg’s cell, pretending to be his lawyer, a man called Hans Christian, who is dating Oleg’s mother. After hearing Oleg’s side of the story he is convinced that the police have the wrong suspect and that Oleg has been arrested to keep the people who run the Violin trade going from being arrested. This theory is confirmed when Oleg is attacked in his cell moments after Harry has left.
  • Throughout the novel, the back-story, told from the point of view of a dying Gusto, explains how Oleg, Gusto and Gusto’s foster-sister, Irene, got involved in the Violin trade and how Irene has been kidnapped by the man who developed Violin to use as a sex slave. There are also passages written from the point of view of a mother rat, who is barred from reaching her hungry children by humans fighting and shooting each other and a falling body blocking her way; the significance of the rat’s experience in the main story told from the human point of view only becomes evident in the end.
  • Harry manages to find where Irene is being kept and free her, and then heads to a house where he has found out that the mysterious man behind the smuggling and dealing ring (a man no-one confirms having met) lives. He kills two bodyguards, but is trapped in the cellar of the house, which fills with water. However using an empty whisky bottle as an air pocket, Harry is able to escape drowning – the alcoholism which had often complicated Harry’s life in this case helping to save them.
  • An object in the drug lord’s house gives Harry a hint about the drug lord’s identity, and he realizes that he unknowingly met him already. He confronts the man in a life-and-death struggle which also involved a paradoxical grudging respect and mutual attraction. The encounter also enables Harry to discover who had killed Gusto, and how he was related to the drug lord. Harry then confronts Gusto’s killer. But before he can be taken in, he fires his gun at Harry apparently fatally.
  • Careful reading of the final part of the novel shows that the mother rat who appears elsewhere in the novel could sense ‘the barely perceptible vibrations’ of Harry’s heart. There are major loose ends – though the drug lord is dead, a corrupt and criminal officer is about to take command of the Oslo Police with the connivance of a corrupt city official – so Harry may survive to deal with them.

I will not tell you who killed the drug addict  at the beginning of the book but let’s just say it broke my heart and because I have already read/listened to the next book (and maybe the last book) in the series, I know that Harry is NOT dead   Hallelujah!!!!!!!

Five stars *****

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The Redeemer (Harry Hole #6) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published: March 9, 2010

A 14-year old girl is raped at one of the Salvation Army summer camps. Twelve years later, at a Christmas concert in a square in Oslo, a Salvation Army soldier is executed by a man in the crowd. A press photographer has caught a suspect on one of the photos of the concert. Beate Lønn, the identification expert, is confused by how the face can change from one photo to the next. Inspector Harry Hole’s search for the faceless man takes place on the seamy side of the city, among those who seek eternal – or just momentary – redemption. And the gunman has not yet completed his mission.

Review –

Highlights of this book:

  • Story starts off with the assault and maybe murder of a 14 year old girl by a Salvation Army soldier in 1991.
  • Rakel has dumped Harry and now he has stopped drinking and taken up getting fit.
  • A junkie is found dead in a shipping container and is pronounced a suicide.
  • Harry’s boss (who protected him from the higher ups) is taken a new position in another town.
  • The new POB (a real ass) doesn’t like Harry and will look for anything to get rid of him.
  • Brothers Robert (dark) and John (light) are soldiers in the SA and Robert knew the girl from 1991.
  • Harry doesn’t believe the facts in the shipping container case and discovers that the father of the junkie killed him to save his wife from the stain the son was putting on her.
  • One of the brothers raped the 14-year-old girl in 1991 and a hit has been put on his head (I can’t tell you who ordered the hit-too much of a spoiler)
  • The hit is to be carried out by a Croatian national with the nickname The Little Redeemer.
  • Harry’s partner, Jack Halverson, is murdered.
  • Harry finds out his beloved old boss was involved in the gun smuggling.
  • The rapist brother is killed.

The story was a bit too convoluted for me but I loved it anyway.

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The Devil’s Star (Harry Hole #5) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published: July 6, 2006

A young woman is murdered in her Oslo flat. One finger has been severed from her left hand, and behind her eyelid is secreted a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star – a pentagram, the devil’s star.

Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case with his long-time adversary Tom Waaler and initially wants no part in it. But Harry is already on notice to quit the force and is left with little alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor and get to work.

A wave of similar murders is on the horizon. An emerging pattern suggests that Oslo has a serial killer on its hands, and the five-pointed devil’s star is key to solving the riddle.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

Highlights of this book:

  • Harry is now drunk most of the time and his job is on the line.
  • It’s been three years since the murder of his partner, Ellen Gjelten.
  • He has broken promises to Rakel and she is fed up.
  • A serial killer is on the loose in Oslo killing women and cutting off a finger and leaving his calling card of a red diamond in the shape of a five pointed star.
  • Tom Waaler has a talk with Harry and openly suggests he sell his soul to the devil.
  • Harry lays his card on the table to Waaler and tell him he knows he intimidated the only witness that could identify him in connection to Ellen”s murder and arms running.
  • Harry pretends to go “in to business” with Tom Waalar
  • Man is framed by the real serial killer so Harry rescues him from jail and then they are both being hunted by everyone, especially Tom Waaler and his minions.
  • Harry discovers the identity of the real killer.
  • Oleg is kidnapped by Waalar
  • Waalar finally gets whats coming to him.
  • Harry gets to keep his job.

Five stars *****

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Nemesis (Harry Hole #4) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published: January 1, 2009

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 beings 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…

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

This is my favorite book in the Harry Hole series to date and here are a few of the highlights of the story:

  • Rakel and Oleg are in Russia for a custody court hearing.
  • Harry wakes up in his apartment and can’t remember anything from the night before.
  • Harry’s ex-girlfriend (who he had dinner with and had sex with the night before) is found dead.
  • Harry is being sent emails and being framed for her murder.
  • Bank robberies and murders
  • Anna’s neighbor has a split personality
  • Anna killed herself
  • Accountant  killed his wife during the bank robbery and framed his brother because she wanted to leave him and marry the brother.
  • Accountant is captured.
  • Even after Harry slept with his ex-girlfriend, Racal and Harry are okay.
  • He and his partner work on the Ellen Gjelten case.
  • Harry finds a witness who can place Tom Waaler at the location of Ellen’s murder.

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The Redbreast (Harry Hole #3) by Jo Nesbo

 Book Description:

Published: November 2, 2009

1944: Daniel, a soldier, legendary among the Norwegians fighting the advance of Bolshevism on the Russian front, is killed. Two years later, a wounded soldier wakes up in a Vienna hospital. He becomes involved with a young nurse, the consequences of which will ripple forward to the turn of the next century.

1999: Harry Hole, alone again after having caused an embarrassment in the line of duty, has been promoted to inspector and is lumbered with surveillance duties. He is assigned the task of monitoring neo-Nazi activities; fairly mundane until a report of a rare and unusual gun being fired sparks his interest. Ellen Gjelten, his partner, makes a startling discovery. Then a former soldier is found with his throat cut. In a quest that takes him to South Africa and Vienna, Harry finds himself perpetually one step behind the killer. He will be both winner and loser by the novel’s nail-biting conclusion.

The Redbreast won the Glass Key prize for the best Nordic crime novel when it was first published, and was subsequently voted Norway’s best crime novel. The Devil’s Star, Nesbø’s first novel featuring Harry Hole to be translated into English, marked Nesbø as a writer to watch in the ever more fashionable world of Nordic crime.

Review –

Another great book in the Norwegian character Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo. This is a very convoluted plot driven story and you have to be alert and keep up with the going back and forth in time situation and all the many characters involved in the story line. I have to hand it o  the author because there really was genius involved in the writing of this book.

Some of the highlights are:

Harry, through no merit of his own, is made an Inspector.

He first meets Rakel. (his main love interest in the series)

His partner, Ellen Gjelten, is brutally beaten to death with a baseball bat and the case goes unsolved. (the reader knows who did it, Sverre Olsen, but he was told to do it by a man called the Prince, who is in actuality Tom Waaler, a Senior Inspector on the police department.

I loved it!

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The Snowman (Harry Hole #7) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published: May 10, 2011

Internationally acclaimed crime writer Jo Nesbø’s antihero police investigator, Harry Hole, is back: in a bone-chilling thriller that will take Hole to the brink of insanity.

Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.

Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.

Fiercely suspenseful, its characters brilliantly realized, its atmosphere permeated with evil, The Snowman is the electrifying work of one of the best crime writers of our time.

Review –

This book was recommended as a winter read with spooky overtones and I couldn’t resist. It is  translated from the Norwegian and I had the audio book so I didn’t have to worry about wrongly pronouncing the names of people, places and things.

The story grabs you by the neck from the first few words and doesn’t let go.  I love a good “who-dun-it” but add in creepy snowmen at each crime scene and what could be better? I’m looking forward to listening to or reading more by this author.

Excellent!!

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