The Redeemer – Jo Nesbo

The Redeemer is Harry Hole’s fourth English-language adventure, coming as it does after the dramatic finale of The Devil’s Star. This was an excellent and exciting read, and is the usual and typical Jo Nesbo in Harry Hole mode, fare. The eponymous Redeemer is a relentless Balkans assassin, who kills the wrong man one Christmas in Oslo, the repercussions of which drag Harry Hole into a race against time and death.

Harry is in fighting form in this novel, actively and energetically pursuing this assassin, whilst unravelling an intricate and detailed web of mystery to get to the bottom of the motives and crimes in this case. This case revolves around the Norwegian branch of the Salvation Army, and centers on the identity of an unknown violent rapist, who is introduced in the opening scenes.

The plot is typically brilliantly woven and constructed, with many suspects entering the reader’s mind while reading this book. There are some very clever plot devices, tricks and clues, which in retrospect reveal the real “baddies” identity, but which while reading the book are not obvious at all. I certainly was kept guessing in a number of respects, and there are two or three marvelous and ingenious surprises and plot twists revealed in this work.

In terms of characters in Harry’s world, there are some new additions, and some removals. Let’s just say not all of Harry’s acquaintances make it out alive, and most importantly, there is a future first-class character (in terms of importance) introduced here in a brilliantly low-key manner, that may have you re-reading this book after you read the next installation of “The Snowman”.

Overall, I highly recommend this, with the usual caveat to potential first-time readers of Harry Hole: don’t start here, start with The Redbreast! This book serves as a case in point of how important it is to read the Harry Hole novels in sequence – some of the events here are only explained in The Snowman, and if you have skipped any previous ones, you will have ruined the outcome of the books you have skipped should you subsequently read them, as this book occurs post the culmination of many notable events that have been brewing over many novels.

Finally, the finale of this book adds a worrying aspect to Harry’s psychological profile, one which I discuss more in The Leopard. But as I say, don’t read that review until you’ve read the books in sequence!

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