If you enjoyed the rest of the books in this series – dont bother with this one. It is a waste of time.
The First Inspector Harry Hole Novel
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
The electrifying first appearance of Jo Nesbø’s detective, Harry Hole.
Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Crime Squad is dispatched to Sydney to observe a murder case. Harry is free to offer assistance, but he has firm instructions to stay out of trouble. The victim is a twenty-three year old Norwegian woman who is a minor celebrity back home. Never one to sit on the sidelines, Harry befriends one of the lead detectives, and one of the witnesses, as he is drawn deeper into the case. Together, they discover that this is only the latest in a string of unsolved murders, and the pattern points toward a psychopath working his way across the country. As they circle closer and closer to the killer, Harry begins to fear that no one is safe, least of all those investigating the case.
I am a Jo Nesbo fan. I have read all his other books in the Harry Hole series and mostly have been very impressed with the action, the narrative, the character development, the intrigue and the resolution. This book however is an exception to the series. It is banal, its language wooden, stilted and as an Australian reading Hole’s experience of his adventures in Sydney, Australia and of Australians, I generally felt let down and uncomfortable with the stereotypes and colloquialisms – of big waisted, slow witted, “dinkum” white Aussie males and the Indigenous cop’s voice felt stunted and farcical too – continually explaining the world in Dreamtime stories and explaining everything very carefully… all the Australians had a dumbed down quality I did not like and I did not appreciate reading this interpretation of Australia and Australian life. (I did however enjoy the Dreamtime stories perhaps worthy of a book in their own right but not relevant in this book) The political voice in this book was …annoying.
The first 160 odd pages of this book were flat, dull, convoluted and clumsy and did I mention farfetched and I could not stretch my imagination to believe the premise of the murders and the police procedures or rather the lack of procedure and lack of professionalism. How disappointing. This is the first book I have read on NetGalley where after 50 pages I thought I would just not bother to continue, that my time was being wasted trying to find something interesting or redeeming in this book. Stupidly I continued on. The story did not improve – it worsened becoming more incredulous and bumbled along with the addition of masses of blood and gore and torn apart limbs and should have been read whilst listening to the theme track of JAWS!
Jo Nesbo – I am glad some publisher somewhere saw the potential in your writing – I did enjoy your other books in this series but think that the publisher did me a favour by not translating this first novel of the series any sooner – if I hadn’t read this book at all I would be perfectly happy and not felt as if I had been cheated of a potentially great read.