|Photo courtesy of Amazon.com|
Every so often, I’ll reach out for a book purely for escapist reasons. Much like we would reach out for a bag of smarties I suppose. Lately I’ve had a thing for Scandinavian police thrillers. Blame it on Stieg Larsson. After Stieg, I tried Henning Mankell and promptly fell for Inspector Wallander. My newest inspector of choice comes from the pen of Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo. I first met Harry Hole in The Snowman and he’s not your typical hero. He’s an almost recovering alcoholic, he’s just lost the love of his life, and is neck deep in a grisly investigation. Flaws aside, or maybe precisely because of his flaws, I was hooked on the story. I literally couldn’t put the book down. After finishing it, I had to have more. But this time, I wanted to know the back story of Harry Hole. Is this a sign of true addiction? Probably. That didn’t stop me from buying The Redbreast, one of the earliest in the series.
Here, we meet Harry before he even becomes an inspector and it is to Nesbo’s credit that he is able to create a character that we can fully sympathize with. Unlike maybe Mankell, Nesbo’s touch with Harry Hole is a bit lighter. He is not as dour as Wallander though they both share a thing for the bottle. The Redbreast story itself is vividly told and as fast paced as later books in the series. It also deals with racism and Neo-Nazism, something that Larsson also dealt with in his Millenium trilogy. Despite the Scandinavian image of pristine whiteness (blame it on all the snow?), I have the impression from reading all these books that there is an underlying darkness in their national psyche. Is it their way of dealing with their history during the WWII? Hmmm, maybe its not such light reading after all.
What’s your book candy of choice?