Jo Nesbo has written - I'm a big fan of his writing and his recurring character Harry Hole. When I heard he had a new book coming out I was just itching to get my hands on it. It's not a 'Harry' book, but is a stand alone title. And you'll want to get your hands on a copy of The Son.
Sonny is a junkie. He's made his home at the Oslo prison for many years. And he's fed a constant supply of heroin by his jailers. You see, Sonny keeps taking the rap for crimes he hasn't really committed. The reward for Sonny is that constant supply of drugs. The reward for those hanging crimes on Sonny is priceless - they've got a scapegoat for sale. Sonny's life went off the rails as a young man when his father committed suicide and was exposed as a dirty cop.
Sonny has a calm, preternatural air about him and he doesn't say too much. Cons have used him as a confessor for years. But one day, an old man's confession reveals that what Sonny thought about his father could all be lies. It's enough to wake Sonny up and he plans a daring escape. The other person who might know the truth is Inspector Simon Kefas, his father's best friend. And Kefas is the one hunting him down.
Jo Nesbo's plotting is simply phenomenal. It's intricate, multi-layered and just when I thought I had things all figured out, he blindsides the reader in the last few chapters. I love being unable to predict the outcome, the plot, the direction the story will take or what the characters will do. Nesbo achieves this every time. It's what makes his books so good.
Well, that and the characters. Sonny was an interesting protagonist - good and bad inextricably bound together in an almost Christ-like countenance. Despite his actions, I wanted him to prevail. Kefas was also an intriguing character study. He's made mistakes in his younger years and has made atoning for those lapses his goal in life. Again, a study in light and dark. As are most of the supporting characters as well - from the junkie under the bridge to the young boy spying on his neighbourhood, other residents of the treatment centre and more. Each is given a voice, allowing the reader to see the story form multiple viewpoints.
Nesbo's descriptions of place conjure up vivid pictures of the settings. As with most of Nesbo's books, social commentary on the state of politics, corruptions, crime and the social welfare of Norway is woven into the plot.
The Son is addicting, adrenalin fueled read that you won't be able to put down. For those who haven't read Jo Nesbo yet,(!) this would be a fabulous introduction to this talented author. Absolutely, positively recommended. Read an excerpt of The Son.
(And Charlotte Barslund's translation was just excellent)