The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo

From the blurb on the back of the book:

“1942: Daniel, a soldier legendary among the Norwegians fighting at the East Front, is killed. Eighteen months later in a Vienna hospital, a wounded soldier becomes involved with a young nurse. The consequences will ripple forward to the end of the century.

1999: Having caused an embarrassment in the line of duty, Harry Hole is lumbered with monitoring neo-Nazi activity; a fairly mundane assignment, until reports of a rare weapon being fired attract his interest. Meanwhile, an ex-soldier has been found with his throat cute. Pursuing both his assignment and his hunches, Harry embarks on an investigation in which he has much to gain and everything to lose.”

The Redbreast is the first book by Jo Nesbo (and the first book by a Norwegian writer) to be read in my quest to read as many different writers as possible this year.

The Redbreast was Winner of the Glass Key, the Riverton Prize and the Norwegian Bookclub Prize for the best ever Norwegian crime novel.

I did have difficulty with the beginning of the book at it switched in time between 1942 and the Eastern Front and 1999. Once I was captivated by Harry Hole and Oslo, however, any annoyance and confusion soon vanished.

Harry Hole is an unlikely hero. An alcoholic, a bit of a loner who believes in doing things his way and thereby ruffling the feathers of his senior officers, Hole has one good thing going for him. he gets results.

The Redbreast, as my first introduction to Jo Nesbo and A Norwegian Police Procedural, was a great read. When Hole put on his skis to investigate a scene, I was hooked.

I also learned that there was an area of history that has been neglected in my education. I did not know that Norwegian and Dutch volunteers joined Germany and fought again Russia in WWII. I was a little taken aback when Australians were placed in the trenches along side the Dutch on the Eastern Front. As I haven’t, at the time of this report, found evidence that suggests any Australians were involved in the fighting I have put it down to either an error in translation of the original Norwegian or a typographical error.

That aside, I was fascinated by the background of the story.

The Redbreast reveals that corrupt police are universal, that alcoholism is an occupational hazard as is divorce! And heavy smoking is universal.

Title: The Redbreast

Author: Jo Nesbo

Translated By: Don Bartlett

Publisher: Harvill Secker, 2006

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


One thought on “THE REDBREAST

  1. Hi–I, too, am puzzled by the presence of Australians in Russia, some months before they joined the war (in the Pacific, to start with). I have come to the same conclusion as you…typo, most likely a spell-check issue.

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