The Redeemer (Frelseren) by Jo Nesbø

Original title: Frelseren (2005). Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett. Vintage, 2009. 576 pages. ISBN: 978-0-099-54044-1

The Redeemer, the sixth of Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole novels, opens at a Salvation Army summer camp in Norway in August 1991. A fourteen years old girl is raped but we don’t know who the offender was. Twelve years later at a street concert, a soldier in the Salvation Army is shot down one cold December night in one of Oslo’s busiest areas. Harry Hole and his team are called to investigate. They have little to work with. There are no immediate suspect, no weapon, no motive. It seems very professional, probably a contract killer. But when the assassin discovers he has shot the wrong man, Harry’s troubles have only just begun. With no money and no place to stay, the hit man becomes increasingly desperate. He will stop at nothing to eliminate his target.

On his personal front Harry Hole has managed to remain sober. He attends regularly AA meetings, although Rakel has left him. But professionally, things don’t seem to work all that well. Bjarne Møller, his boss and protector, is taking a new ‘senior special position’ in Bergen. His new boss, Gunnar Hagen, can make his existence difficult to say the least.

As it is being usual in Nesbø the plot is complex and intricate. And the story, rich and full of historical references, is narrated just at the right pace. I was immediately hooked and could hardly put it down. Harry Hole remains a fascinating character. The Redeemer is a brilliant and exciting story, with enough twists to keep us guessing until the last pages. This is Nesbø at his very best. A captivating read and a fabulous storyteller. Having read so far The Redbreast, Nemesis and The Devil’s Star, I’m catching up on Harry Hole’s series. The Snowman is sitting next on my TBR shelves and The Leopard is on its way. Stay tuned.

The Redeemer has been reviewed at Nordic Bookblog, International Noir Fiction, DJ’S Krimiblog, Reviewing the evidence, Crime Scraps, Detectives Beyond Borders, Mysteries in Paradise and Euro Crime amongst others.

I’m counting The Redeemer for my participation in the Nordic Challenge 2011.