Thursday, September 21, 2017


The Redeemer (Harry Hole, #6)The Redeemer by Jo Nesbø
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

”And for one vulnerable moment Harry felt nothing but sympathy. Not the sympathy he could feel for the victim or for the next of kin, but for the person who for one heartrending moment sees his own pathetic humanity.”

Harry Hole has looked in the mirror many times and seen the stark pitiful vision of his own existence. His own human frailty too real to bear, but there is always a new case to keep him from drowning in despair.

Something smells fishy in the ranks of the Salvation Army in Oslo, Norway, and it isn’t just the odor coming from the investigating officer’s tennis shoes.

”’You should get yourself a couple of new insoles for the sneakers you’ve got in there,’ she said, pointing.

He eyed her in astonishment.

‘You don’t have to be Jean-Baptiste Grenouille to recognize the smell,’ she added.

‘Patrick Suskind,’ he said. ‘Perfume.’

‘A policeman who reads,’ she said.

‘A Salvation Army soldier who reads about murder,’ he said. ‘Which leads us back to the reason for my being here, I’m afraid.’”

An attractive woman in a snappy, Salvation Army uniform who references the main character of the cult classic Perfume would turn the head of any man of discerning taste, but for a lonely man like Harry Hole, it is like seeing an unexpected blue haze of water in the middle of the Sahara desert. He is intrigued, maybe even a bit besotted. I’d chastise Harry because he is in love with another woman and barely hanging onto a few months of sobriety, but I was right there with him, wanting to keep this woman talking to see what other interesting literary allusions might fall from her pretty lips.


And so young.

Harry has a new boss who keeps a cast on his desk of the pinky finger of a fanatical, Japanese officer from WW2 who cut off his finger when his superior did not allow him to counterattack.

The pinky says it all.

This is going to be a difficult working relationship.

Harry has a lack of social survivability skills. He says what he means without a filter. He pushes things to the breaking point when he should let it go. He likes being alone, or so he says, but really he is just still searching for the person who will complete him. The person who will make him want to stay sober. He sees things and makes connections that others do not make. He is the best detective in the department, and if he weren’t, he’d have already been bounced out of the department, and we would be reading about Harry the Truck Driver or Harry the Bouncer.

He has caught an interesting case involving the very public, very professional shooting of a mid-level officer in the Salvation Army. Who would want to kill someone in God’s army?

Harry soon finds himself in a desperate chase that has him running through the streets of Oslo, trying to catch up with the killer who is called The Little Redeemer. The case has him meeting with the mother of a Serbian, resistance fighter to trade a life for a life. He finds himself searching through empty, shipping containers on the docks and is nearly eaten by a rare, but vicious Metzner guard dog. There are junkies who know seemingly insignificant pieces of the plot. The twists and turns of the changing truth would leave most investigators’ minds corkscrewed into a babbling mess of incoherent suppositions. Harry’s mind just continues to refine what he knows, sets aside what is confusing, until finally the facts become incontestable.

And the new partner assigned to Harry learns very quickly to just let him work and not to try to keep up with the jumps in logic. Sometimes, Harry leaps Grand Canyons. Who wants to flail and fall through the long darkness to only find Harry’s painful grin waiting for you at the bottom so he can elucidate for you who and why? Drive him where he wants driven. Do what he asks and enjoy the front row view of not only the reveal of the killer, but also of the mastermind behind it all.

Oh, and Tom Waaler, from The Devil’s Star, the series entry before this one, is a phantom continuing to lurk on the edges of every Harry inspired success. Some things are just never put to bed.

As always Jo Nesbo delivers an exciting thriller that scratches that Nordic Noir itch I get at least once a month. Next for me is Snowman to be properly prepared to watch Michael Fassbender metamorphose into Harry Hole in the movie release on October 20th, 2017.

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The Witch of the Sands

The Witch of the Sands (The Hounds of the North, #1)The Witch of the Sands by Peter Fugazzotto
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shield Scyldmund and his men The Hounds for two decades were the warlock and witch hunters for the Dhurman Empire, but now they've been reduced to bounty hunters. The Hounds yearn to return North while Shield continues to honor his vow to rid the world of dark magic users. Shield gets his chance as once more the empire calls on The Hounds to hunt a witch.

The Witch of the Sands was a surprisingly solid short story. The description seemed solid and I'm glad I gave it a chance. There is nothing particularly special about the story yet it had its own personal touches. For instance warlocks and witches in this world use words of power to conjure their magic. These words can be taken and from time to time The Hounds have been asked to assist the empire in acquiring the words of power.

The characters didn't get enough page time to establish themselves. The story is told from Shield's point of view and he's the standard aging war leader, full of regrets while making hard decisions. The author did throw some interesting visuals such as Hawk who fights with a giant sword, Patch who lost an eye, and Night who blends into the shadows thanks to a warlock's cloak.

The Witch of the Sands was a strong start to The Hounds of the North series.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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