Nemesis by Jo Nesbø

NemesisNesbø, J. Nemesis (2002). Translated by Don Bartlett. Original title: Sorgenfri.Vintage 2009. 696 pages.ISBN: 978-0-099-54675-7.

Nemesis is Harry Hole book # 4, although the first two books in the series are not available in English yet. Together with The Redbreast (Harry Hole # 3) and The Devil’s Star (Harry Hole # 4) they form a trilogy within the series, the Oslo Trilogy. So I was told. In any case I was also advised to read them in chronological order. Readers must be aware that this was not the order in which they were originally published in English. Nemesis was shortlisted for the 2010 Edgar Award for Best Novel of the Year.

A CCTV shows a man walking into a crowded bank in Oslo at broad daylight. He puts a gun to the cashier’s head and tells her to count to twenty-five. The branch manager has twenty-five seconds to open the ATM, otherwise he will shoot her. It takes the manager six seconds more to open it. The man pulls the trigger and kills the cashier. He takes the money and strolls out.

While Rakel, Harry’s girlfriend, is in Russia fighting for the custody of her son, Harry Hole accepts an invitation to dinner  from Anna, an old flame.  The following day Harry wakes up back at home with a terrible hangover and no memory of the past twelve hours. The same morning Anna is found shot dead in her bed. Short after Harry begins to receive threatening emails.

Harry has to abandon his investigation on Ellen Gjelten’s case (see The Redbreast) and is assigned to the investigative team lead by Runne Ivarsson, head of the robbery unit. “Initially, Harry saw no reason to complain about mediocrity being kicked upwards, out of the way of investigations, but the danger with people like Ivarsson was that they could easily get into their heads that they should intervene and dictate those who really understand detection work.” But manages to persuade his boss Bjarne Møller to allow him to investigate with a certain amount of autonomy and he requests the assistance of Beate Lønn, a young video analyst with an uncanny ability. She never forgets a face. th_scandinaviamap-1

Nemesis is quite a complex novel with several plots that intertwine forcing the reader to keep a constant attention. The account of the facts is nimble and despite its length, close to 700 pages, readers won’t get tired. Nesbø is able to keep us breathless until the final pages with continuous turns and twists. This is another superb thriller from one of the most interesting storytellers of our time. You might not have realise it yet but Jo Nesbø is one of my favourite writers and I won’t miss any of his books.

2010 Scandinavian Reading Challenge Book # 6

See reviews by Crime Scraps, Euro Crime, Mysterious Reviews, Complete Review, DJs Krimiblog, Reviewing the Evidence, Mostly Fiction, Material Witness, International Noir Fiction.

Jo Nesbø’s Official Website

Jo Nesbø’s UK Website

2 thoughts on “Nemesis by Jo Nesbø”

  1. >Jose Ignacio – Thanks for this terrific review. I like Nesbo very much, myself, and it's good to know that you had such a good experience reading Nemesis. Sometimes, when it's done well, a long book doesn't seem long…

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