Nemesis by Jo Nesbo
Nemesis is the second Jo Nesbo novel I have read as I journey through the Harry Hole novels in publication order. While I gave The Redbreast a smashing review in an earlier blog, in my mind Nemesis is far better. Regardless, I can see that reading the books in order is the best way to approach the series.
Harry is trying to solve an unscrupulous bank robbery caught on CCTV while secretly still investigating a colleague’s closed murder case on the side. If this wasn’t enough, after agreeing to catch up with an old flame, he wakes up in his own apartment realising he has been drugged. He has no memory of the previous night and later discovers his old flame has been found dead by an electrician.
What makes Nemesis so enjoyable is that there are none of the WW2 flashbacks that filled The Redbreast. Nesbo’s writing just felt a little flat and awkward during the WW2 chapters in The Redbreast as if he felt uncomfortable writing historical fiction. What this also means for Nemesis is that there aren’t two alternate plotlines and we are left with nothing but the Harry Hole experience. His character continues to grow on me. There’s nothing contrived about him as there sometimes may be with ‘rogue’ inspectors. In this novel Hole reminds me a bit of my beloved Lester Freamon in Season 5 of The Wire when he set up his off the grid investigation in Major Crimes.
I found Nesbo’s dark humour much more obvious in Nemesis and I loved Hole’s interactions with Waaler. I also appreciated the small things a lot more in this novel such as the authenticity of the music Hole, a man in his 30s, listened to and heard in the police cars. I can tell Hole is in the process of making the personal transition from feeling an obligation to fit in to just being content with his own oddities of character and not caring so much about social convention.
As with The Redbreast, Nemesis is international in scope. This time around, in addition to the migrants found in The Redbreast, there is a strong gypsy element, the war in Afghanistan frequently makes the news headlines and travel to outside Norway means a lot more than just a drive across the Swedish border. I really like this international scope as it challenges the stereotype of Norway being an isolated, homogenous society. Nesbo describes a vibrant, dynamic Oslo.
Bring on The Devil’s Star!
Nemesis: 5 stars
Three more crime books that have crept on my to read list thanks to Raven Crime Reads (criminally good read…):
The Dispatcher by Ryan David Jahn. A local police dispatcher is about to finish his shift when he gets a call from his daughter who has been missing for seven years and has recently been declared dead.
The Healer by Antti Tuomainen. Recently published Finnish crime. Helsinki is suffering from climate catastrophe when the wife of a poet goes missing. She was researching a killer known as The Healer. Is her disappearance linked to her research?
The Andalucian Friend by Alexander Soderberg. Sophie falls for Hector, not realising he is the head of an international crime syndicate.