Friday, February 8, 2013


by Jo Nesbø
(Harry Hole series #9)

For the past few years I've been hearing a lot about Norwegian author Jo Nesbø. I've frequently seen his books on the staff recommendation shelves when I go into various bookstores, and for awhile now I've considered trying one of them. I see now why he's been labeled by some as the next Stieg Larsson.

Once again I broke my own rule of starting at the beginning of a series and jumped in with book #9. Harry Hole, the protagonist in the series is a cop, or an ex-cop by the time this one starts. It doesn't take long to figure out that he's not your typical series hero. He's a complex character who is constantly struggling against his personal demons, and more often than not, losing that battle.

As Phantom begins, a new drug has begun to appear on the streets of Oslo. It's called violin, and it's far more addictive and powerful than heroin, but it doesn't allow the user to overdose. Harry gets dragged back to Oslo from his new home in Hong Kong to investigate the murder of a dealer of violin. Harry has a personal connection to the young man who is accused of killing the dealer. 

Phantom, and I would imagine the rest of the series, are not for those with delicate sensibilities. It's gritty and dark. But at the same time, it's very well written and full of unexpected plot twists and very interesting characters. I had a tough time putting it down and am definitely looking forward to reading more by Nesbø and finding out more about his highly original main character.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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