Posted: October 29, 2013 in Harry Hole, Norway, review

51OKxEMZRZL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX385_SY500_CR,0,0,385,500_SH20_OU02_In an Oslo hospital a man lies in a coma guarded by police officers, while cops are being murdered at the scenes of deadly crimes that police investigated but failed to solve. The media are going into a frenzy. 

The best that could be said about this case was that it had brought the two big murder investigation units in Norway-Crime Squad and Kripos-closer together. All rivalry had been cast aside, and for once they were collaborating, with no other agenda than to find the person who had killed their colleague.

I am not going to summarise the plot any further because of the  risk of enclosing any spoilers. The plot of Police is a trip of discovery, as Jo Nesbo tries to mystify, tease, confuse and even scare his readers. There is violence in the book and some of it is upsetting and tragic, but crime fiction has to reflect the society we live in.

Can any violence shock people after the trial of Anders Breivik? The way the prosecutors and court appointed psychiatrists lined up to shake Breivik’s hand before proceedings was more bizarre than any of the strange goings on in Jo Nesbo’s novels.

Although I had worked out [OK guessed] the perpetrator in Police quite early on I was constantly surprised and never quite sure where the plot was taking me. Nesbo is the master of the climax and the anti-climax. In other words Police is a real “page turner”. What makes Nesbo’s plots particularly interesting is that he is never afraid to take an unpopular position or even do something that will upset his readers. 

But convoluted plots alone would not make the Harry Hole series one of the best in European crime fiction, it is his characters that take these books on to a different level. Nesbo creates people you grow to love, and some that you hate with all your being. And as in real life the good don’t always prosper and villains don’t always look like villains and frequently are successful in their professional lives. Characters such as Mikael Bellman and Isabelle Skoyen are dreadful human beings but very believable.

Jo Nesbo’s style may be an acquired taste but I thought Police was a return to very nearly his best work and read the 518 pages in record time!

‘Good leaders know how to inspire their teams.’

Hagen swallowed. Swallowed what he wanted to say. That he was lecturing on leadership at the military academy while Bellman was running around with a catapult. That if Bellman was so bloody good at inspiring his subordinates, how about inspiring him-Gunnar Hagen?      

  1. Jose Ignacio says:

    After reading your post I can’t wait to read the book. Thanks for your excellent input, Norman. Am very glad to read (again) you think Police is a return to Nesbo’s best work.

  2. Robert Jones says:

    Police sounds very intriguing with some great characters. Love your review! I will check this one out. You might also enjoy No One Can Know by Adrienne LaCava, which I found to be a unique hook around a still riveting, real mystery with historical facts from the JFK era. http://adriennelacava.com/

  3. kathy d. says:

    This one sounds good, and since I can’t read all of Nesbo’s books (huge TBR piles and list), I’ll read this one. The 500-plus size is daunting, as I’m reading slower these days, but I’ll try it. I’m
    glad it’s a return to the good quality of Nesbo’s earlier books. I loved Nemesis, couldn’t put it down.

  4. Reblogged this on Something to Ponder About and commented:
    Can’t wait to read this one…
    Currently reading The Bat….

  5. TracyK says:

    Great review, very enticing. It will be a while before I get to this because I will read the earlier ones first, but I am looking forward to it.

  6. Norman Price says:

    Thanks all. I am very pleased that people seemed to enjoy this review of a very good book.

  7. […] has been reviewed at Crime Scraps Review (Norman), Crimepieces (Sarah), Euro Crime (Karen), Seeing the world through books (Mary Whipple), […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s