By Jo Nesbø; translated by Don Bartlett

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Harper, c2002, 2012

Genres: Mystery, suspense, thriller, crime thriller, police procedural, Scandinavian noir

Series: Harry Hole; 5

ISBN: 9780062119698

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 480 (501 including an excerpt from The Devil’s Star)

Setting: Oslo, Norway, D’Ajuda & Porto Seguro, Brazil

Time period: shortly after 9/11 2001

Plot summary: While a bank robber terrorizes Oslo by killing people when he doesn’t get his money fast enough, Detective Harry Hole has more intimate concerns.  He has been seeing an ex-girlfriend while his current lover is out of the country.  The morning after their last date, she is found dead from a gunshot wound to the head and Harry is unable to remember most of the night’s events.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: The subplots are tightly interwoven with many hooks to keep readers turning pages.  This is a fast paced story.

Characterization: The story is told in third person  mainly from Harry’s  perspective.  Important secondary characters include Anna, Beate Lønn, & Rakel.

Frame: The title sets the frame for the story and subplots – there is more than one nemesis in this book.

Story line: A complex mystery that includes bank robbers, Gypsies, and spurned lovers.

Subject headings:

From Pima County Public Library:

Hole, Harry (Fictitious character)

Police — Norway — Oslo — Fiction.

Bank robberies — Norway — Oslo — Fiction.

Robbery investigation — Norway — Oslo — Fiction.

Norway — Fiction.

Detective and mystery stories.

Suspense fiction.

Mystery fiction.

Similar  authors:

Michael Connelly

Stieg Larsson

Henning Mankell

Jussi Adler-Olsen

Personal notes: Good, good book – even if I don’t like the hanging ending from an unresolved issue from the previous book.  I really enjoyed how the climax for this story was written – in short segments switching between the police meeting and the confrontation.  I always find it interesting how things are translated between languages and cultures.  It seems like the original Norwegian title for this book means free of sorrow, which surprises me.  Nemesis seems like an apt title for the story.  The cover of the book, however, strikes me as completely unrelated to anything which happens in the story.

Other: Diversity – alcoholic, female detective, artist, Gypsies, bank robbers, single mother

Originally published in Norway as Sorgenfri.

Jo Nesbø’s website


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