October is a Great Month for Nordic Noir

Often I will put books on hold with the library and they all tend to come in at once – or in a very short time period.  This is what is happening right now.  I’ve had many items on hold for months which have started to arrive.  First I got Phantom by Jo Nesbø.  I was thrilled to read another Harry Hole story, but I was very disappointed with the ending.

A couple of days after Phatom arrived, The Absent One by Jussi Adler-Olsen showed up.  It’s funny how dissimilar these two books are, in spite of both involving police, being set somewhat geographically close to one another, and being very fast reads.  I knew when I started Phantom that I was in for some serious story.  Harry Hole is an intensely serious character and continues to remain ultra-driven even though he is no longer a police officer.  Of course he has to since – Oleg is in trouble.  Oleg is Rakel’s son and under other circumstances would be Harry’s son, or step-son.  Oleg has become a junkie and is accused of killing another junkie, so Harry has come back to Oslo from Bangkok  to investigate Oleg’s case. Continue reading

Nemesis

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. Continue reading

Mastiff

By Tamora Pierce

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Random House, 2011

Genres: Fantasy, mystery, paranormal

Series: Beka Cooper; 3

ISBN: 9780375814709

Audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 593

Setting: Kingdom of Tortall

Time period: 249 H.E. (medieval)

Plot summary: Beka Cooper and her partner, Mattias Tunstall, are summoned to a hunt by their Lord Gershom in the middle of the night.  Beka and her scent hound, Achoo, along with Tunstall, Lord Gershom, Pounce, and a mage named Farmer Cape, travel to the Summer Palace where they discover a royal kidnapping has occurred and the kidnappers had inside help.  It’s up to Beka and her colleagues to track down Prince Gareth, who has been sold into slavery, and return him safely to the king and queen. Continue reading

The Leopard

By Jo Nesbø; translated by Don Bartlett

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011

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

Series: Harry Hole; 8

ISBN: 9780307595874

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 513*

Setting: Hong Kong, China, Oslo,  Norway, Kigali, Rwanda & Goma, The Congo

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: After working on The Snowman case, Harry’s life takes a turn for the worse and he finds himself indebted to a gangster in Hong Kong.  Meanwhile, another serial killer is on the loose in Oslo and Crime Squad wants Harry on the case.  Unfortunately for the police, Harry doesn’t want to have anything to do with serial killers or the people trying to track them.  The only thing compelling Harry to return to Oslo is family. Continue reading

The Redbreast

By Jo Nesbø; translated by Don Bartlett

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Harper, c2000, 2011

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

Series: Harry Hole; 3

ISBN: 9780062068422

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 553 (563 including an excerpt from The Devil’s Star)

Setting: Oslo, Norway, Leningrad, Russia, and Vienna, Austria, & Johannesburg, South Africa

Time period: There are two timelines – one takes place from 1999 – 2000; the other takes place during WWII – from 1942 – 1944.

Plot summary: In the course of duty, Police Officer Harry Hole is required to make a very difficult decision in a few seconds.  As a result, a team member is critically wounded and Harry feels responsible.  Therefore, the last thing he expects is a promotion.  As a new inspector, his job is routine and boring – until one report crosses his desk.  As he follows through with the report, he finds evidence of neo-Nazi involvement in an assignation attempt. Continue reading

The Keeper of Lost Causes

By Jussi Adler-Olsen; translated by Lisa Hartford

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Dutton, 2011

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

Series: Department Q; 1

ISBN: 9780525952480

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 396

Setting: Copenhagen, Denmark

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: Carl Mørck used to be one of Copenhagen’s best homicide detectives, until two of his team members were shot while he was with them.  Carl never even drew his weapon and now he is ridden with guilt and even more surly than he used to be.  A promotion was the last thing he expected, but it was the easiest way for the department heads to get him out of everyone’s presence.  Hidden in the basement, Carl figures he’ll spend the rest of his career sleeping and surfing the internet, until one of the cold cases he’s now in charge of actually peaks his interest. Continue reading

The Snowman

By Jo Nesbø; translated by Don Bartlett

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011

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

Series: Harry Hole; 7

ISBN: 9780307595867

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 384

Setting: Oslo, Norway

Time period: Most of the story takes place in November 2004, but some scenes are from 1980 and 1992.

Plot summary: When a mother disappears in the middle of the night from her home, a snowman is found in the yard outside wearing the mothers favorite scarf.  When a second mother disappears, Detective Harry Hole makes a gruesome discovery.  He soon find himself tracking a serial killer, but at the same time, senses that someone is tracking him. Continue reading