The Redeemer

Nesbø Jo, 1960-

Book - 2013

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1st Floor MYSTERY/Nesbo, Jo Due Jun 30, 2024
Mystery fiction
New York : Alfred A. Knopf 2013.
Main Author
Nesbø Jo, 1960- (author)
Other Authors
Don Bartlett (translator)
First United States Edition
Item Description
Originally published: London : Harvill Secker, 2009.
"This is a Borzoi book."
Physical Description
397 pages ; 25 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by New York Times Review

Any fears that Carl Hiaasen might be mellowing are put to rest by BAD MONKEY (Knopf, $26.95), another rollicking misadventure in the colorful annals of greed and corruption in South Florida. As "the Medicare-fraud capital of America," this is the promised land for those erstwhile "mortgage brokers, identity thieves, arms dealers, inside traders and dope smugglers" who have found more lucrative careers in the health care racket. One swindler, Nicky Stripling, made millions billing Medicare for nonexistent motorized scooters he called Super Rollies. But his luck must have run out, because a tourist trolling for blackfin tuna near Key West has hauled in a hairy (and slightly chewed) human arm traceable via DNA to Stripling. The arm is duly delivered to Miami, "the floating-human-body-parts capital of America," but for reasons that make sense only in a Carl Hiaasen novel, it spends time among the Popsicles in Andrew Yancy's freezer. Smart but hotheaded, Yancy is on suspension from-the county sheriff's office, busted from detective to restaurant inspector. As Yancy sees it, his only hope of getting off "roach patrol" is to make the case, advanced by Stripling's avaricious daughter, that her father's death was no boating accident but a well-planned murder by her nowfilthy-rich stepmother. Meanwhile, Yancy's own homicidal impulses have been stimulated by the next-door neighbor who's building a monumental 7,000-square-foot spec house that will tower over every ramshackle habitat on modest Big Pine Key and, not incidentally, block Yancy's view of the sunset. So he periodically drops off a gift - a dead raccoon, a hive of angry bees, an ominous Santeria shrine, a homeless couple - calculated to scare off potential buyers. Another environmental disaster is under way on Andros Island, an unspoiled Caribbean paradise where the widow Stripling has been sighted in the company of her new boyfriend, a real estate developer intent on building a luxury resort on land snatched from a local fisherman named Neville Stafford. Hiaasen has a peculiar genius for inventing grotesque creatures - like the monstrous voodoo woman known as the Dragon Queen and Driggs, a scrofulous monkey "with a septic disposition" - that spring from the darkest impulses of the id. But he also writes great heroes like Yancy and Neville, who stand up to the "greedy intruders destroying something rare, something that couldn't be replaced." Every Jeffery Deaver thriller poses a daunting challenge - for his forensics expert Lincoln Rhyme as much as for the reader. In THE KILL ROOM (Grand Central, $28), the quadriplegic investigator is frustrated to find himself "a crime scene expert without a crime scene," stuck in his retrofitted Manhattan town-house crime lab while the political assassination he's been asked to investigate took place hundreds of miles away, on the Bahamian island of New Providence. Rhyme finds an ingenious solution to that problem, leaving his colleagues to wrestle with the ethical issue of why a government agency should be involved in a pre-emptive attack on a possible terrorist. Another hallmark of a Deaver novel is the creep factor - creating a villain worthy of becoming Rhyme's adversary. Here it's Jacob Swann, a sadistic killer who gets information from his victims by . . . never mind. What makes Swann such sick fun is that he's also a fantastic cook, full of helpful tips about making a roux or a rib-eye hash, as well as a practiced butcher who uses the same Japanese chef's knife to . . . never mind. Ace Atkins's killing honesty sets a new standard for Southern crime novels. Gone is the fuzzy nostalgia for the old hometown, switched out for a more authentic look at the modern "Mayberry of domestic violence, drug use, child endangerment and roadhouse brawls." That's the world Quinn Colson stepped into when he came home from tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq to Jericho, Miss., in rural Tibbehah County. In THE BROKEN PLACES (Putnam, $26.95), the former Army Ranger is now county sheriff and the go-to guy when a pair of inmates break out of Parchman prison and head for Jericho to reclaim the loot from a robbery. The locals are assertive people, vivid enough to hold their own in settings like Mr. Jim's barbershop and the River, the church started by a repentant convict who now "believed in everything he read from the Bible or learned from Johnny Cash." They're even strong enough to withstand a killer tornado. Now here's a quandary: should Jo Nesbo's American fans hang in there until his first novel, THE BAT (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, paper, $14.95), finally comes out here next month? Or should we snatch up a later novel, THE REDEEMER (Knopf, $25.95), published in Norway before this hard-boiled writer became a global phenomenon? Written in Nesbo's distinctive fast-and-furious style, "The Redeemer" offers insight into the surly attitude that defines Harry Hole, Nesbo's abrasive Oslo detective, who functions best when he's flying solo. ("You can't be in the police for 12 years without being infected by the contempt for humanity that comes with the territory.") The plot is nice and tricky, involving the murder of a Salvation Army "soldier" at the height of the Christmas season and hanging on the identity of a villain known as "the little redeemer" during the fighting in Croatia. Whichever you choose, be assured that both books were translated by Don Bartlett, who seems to relish this tough stuff as much as we do. It's no surprise that Carl Hiaasen's Miami is 'the floating-human-body-parts capital of America.'

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [July 2, 2013]
Review by Booklist Review

Nesbo's Harry Hole novels have not appeared in the U.S. in the order in which they were written, and given the stunning events detailed in Phantom (2012), that disjointed chronology may prove disconcerting for readers of The Redeemer. Still, it is a fine crime novel. Redemption of one kind or another has always been on Harry's mind (his preferred method for finding it is usually in a whiskey bottle), but here the theme encompasses nearly every character in the book, from various Salvation Army soldiers with multiple secrets in their closets, through an assassin hired to kill one of those soldiers, and on to Harry's former boss, Moller. The freezing Oslo winter nicely parallels the icy righteousness ( the virtue of the lazy and the visionless ) that drives most of these would-be redeemers. The thin line separating crooks and cops in all of the intensely character-focused Hole novels has never been thinner or more treacherous than it is here. As Moller puts it, It's chance and nuance that separate the hero from the villain. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Nesbo's books have sold 15 million copies in 47 languages. A 150,000 first printing will get his latest U.S. release off and running.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

This sixth installment in Nesbo's popular series finds Harry Hole, Oslo's most successful and least collaborative police investigator, spending the Christmas season trying to unravel a knotty murder case while bemoaning the loss of a friendly superior and working around the demands of the strong-willed new boss. The novel alternates between Harry's sleuthing and a Croatian assassin's attempt to evade him long enough to escape the city. John Lee selects a properly surly and world-weary voice for Harry, and an accented, desperate one for the killer known as "the little redeemer." Since the book travels through various strata of Oslo society and even includes a side trip to the former Yugoslavia, Lee is given ample opportunity to display a panoply of Norwegian and Croatian accents. He uses his own rich British accent to guide us smoothly through the novel's descriptive passages. Since the author packs his fast-paced scenes with crucial details easily missed, Lee's clear, crisp rendition is a blessing. However, several shifts between Harry's sections and those of the little redeemer are so abrupt-narrated by that same well-modulated voice-it may take listeners a moment to realize whose story is being told. A Knopf hardcover. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Do not expect this book to continue the story line from Nesbo's 2012 best seller, The Phantom (ninth in the Harry Hole series.) Fans will have to wait longer to discover the fate of Harry after his shocking encounter with a murder suspect. Instead, this story, published three years and as many books earlier (2009) involves the murder of a young Salvation Army employee shot at point-blank range during a Christmas season street performance. Bad weather grounds the gunman in Oslo and gives him time to realize, after reading news reports, that he has killed the wrong man. Excellent plotting, lots of twists, deception, and a comprehensible villain contribute to the rapid pacing as the iconic Nordic detective and his colleagues race to find and stop the assassin before he kills again. This could almost be considered a police procedural except that Hole rarely follows procedure even when commanded to do so by his new supervisor. VERDICT Recommended for the many fans of Nesbo as well as for readers who appreciate maverick, intuitive detectives who fight the system almost as often as they fight crime.-Deb West, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Rarely does a mystery novel succeed on so many levels, as the intricate plotting explores psychological and theological dimensions that go deeper than standard notions of good and evil. As a literary stylist as well as a master of mystery, Nesb (Phantom, 2012, etc.) has established himself as the king of Scandinavian crime fiction, a genre that became an international sensation in the wake of the posthumous success of Stieg Larrson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (and its sequels and film adaptations). Yet, tracing the publishing trail of Nesb and his series featuring the intuitive alcoholic Harry Hole requires some detective work of its own. This is actually the novel that precedes The Snowman (2011), the work that launched Nesb internationally as a best-selling author, and the sixth Harry Hole novel overall (the first two have yet to be published in the United States). It may also be the best, or at least the richest, in its evocation of a sinister plot involving the Salvation Army during the Oslo Christmas season. The rape of one Salvation Army teen by another sows the seeds for all the complications that follow, yet it takes most of the novel for the reader to be certain of the identities of the rapist and victim, as the very notion of identity defies easy resolution throughout. With its themes of forgiveness and redemption, and the difference between the two, the novel presents every one of its characters as a flawed human being, unable to separate into categories of good guys and bad guys. In fact, the title character is a shadowy contract murderer, and redemption also serves as a euphemism for a junkie's fix. As one initially peripheral character who proves crucial tells Hole, "You've discovered that guilt is not as black-and-white as you thought when you decided to become a policeman and redeem humankind from evil. As a rule there's little evil but a lot of human frailty. Many sad stories you can recognize in yourself." Ultimately, a story with a lot of pieces to its puzzle hurtles toward a climax that is not merely sad, but tragic. Perhaps not the best novel for a Nesb initiate, but those with an affinity for the darkest and most literary crime fiction will want to get here as soon as they can.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

part one Advent 1 august 1991 The Stars She was fourteen years old and sure that if she shut her eyes tight and concentrated she could see the stars through the roof. All around her, women were breathing. Regular, heavy, nighttime breathing. One was snoring, and that was Auntie Sara, who had been given a mattress beneath the open window. She closed her eyes and tried to breathe like the others. It was difficult to sleep, especially because everything around her was so new and different. The sounds of the night and the forest beyond the window in Østgård were different. The people she knew from the meetings in the citadel and the summer camps were somehow not the same. She was not the same, either. The face and body she saw in the mirror this summer were new. And her emotions, these strange hot and cold currents that flowed through her when the boys looked at her. Or when one of them in particular looked at her. Robert. He was different this year, too. She opened her eyes again and stared. She knew God had the power to do great things, even allow her to see the stars through the roof. If it was His wish. It had been a long and eventful day. The dry summer wind had whispered through the corn, and the leaves on the trees danced as if in a fever, causing the light to filter through to the visitors on the field. They had been listening to one of the Salvation Army cadets from the -officer--training school talking about his work as a preacher on the Faeroe Islands. He was -good--looking and spoke with great sensitivity and passion. But she was preoccupied with shooing away a bumblebee that kept buzzing around her head, and by the time it moved off, the heat had made her drowsy. When the cadet finished, all faces were turned to the territorial commander, David Eckhoff, who had been observing them with his smiling, young eyes, which were actually over fifty years old. He saluted in the Salvation Army manner, with his right hand raised above his shoulder and pointing to the kingdom of heaven, amid a resounding shout of "Hallelujah!" Then he prayed for the cadets' work with the poor and the pariahs to be blessed, and reminded them of the Gospel of Matthew, where it said that Jesus the Redeemer was among them, a stranger on the street, maybe a criminal, without food and without clothing. And that on Judgment Day the righteous, those who had helped the weakest, would have eternal life. It had all the makings of a long speech, but then someone whispered something and he said, with a smile, that Youth Hour was next on the program and today it was Rikard Nilsen's turn. She had heard Rikard make his voice deeper than it was to thank the commander. As usual, he had prepared what he was going to say in writing and memorized it. He stood up and recited how he was going to devote his life to the fight, to Jesus's fight for the kingdom of God. His voice was nervous, yet monotonous and soporific. His introverted glower rested on her. Her eyes were heavy. His sweaty top lip was moving to form the familiar, secure, tedious phrases. So she -didn't react when the hand touched her back. Not until it became fingertips and they wandered down to the small of her back, and lower, and made her freeze beneath her thin summer dress. She turned and looked into Robert's smiling brown eyes. And she wished her skin were as dark as his so that he would not be able to see her blush. "Shh," Jon had said. Robert and Jon were brothers. Although Jon was one year older, many people had taken them for twins when they were younger. But Robert was seventeen now and while they had retained some facial similarities, the differences were clearer. Robert was happy and carefree, liked to tease and was good at playing the guitar, but was not always punctual for services in the citadel, and sometimes the teasing had a tendency to go too far, especially if he noticed others were laughing. Then Jon would often step in. Jon was an honest, conscientious boy who most thought would go to -officer--training school and -would---though this was never formulated out -loud---find himself a girl in the Army. The latter could not be taken for granted in Robert's case. Jon was three-quarters of an inch taller than Robert, but in some strange way Robert seemed taller. From the age of twelve Jon had begun to stoop, as though he were carrying the woes of the world on his back. Both were -dark--skinned, -good--looking, with regular features, but Robert had something Jon did not have. There was something in his eyes, something black and playful, which she wanted and yet did not want to investigate further. While Rikard was talking, her eyes were wandering across the sea of assembled familiar faces. One day she would marry a boy from the Salvation Army and perhaps they would both be posted to another town or another part of the country. But they would always return to Østgård, which the Army had just bought and was to be their summer site from now on. On the margins of the crowd, sitting on the steps leading to the house, was a boy with blond hair stroking a cat that had settled in his lap. She could tell that he had been watching her, but he had looked away just as she noticed. He was the one person here she -didn't know, but she did know that his name was Mads Gilstrup, that he was the grandchild of the people who had owned Østgård before, that he was a couple of years older than her and that the Gilstrup family was wealthy. He was attractive, in fact, but there was something solitary about him. And what was he doing here, anyway? He had been there the previous night, walking around with an angry frown on his face, not talking to anyone. She had felt his eyes on her a few times. Everyone looked at her this year. That was new, too. She was jerked out of these thoughts by Robert taking her hand, putting something in it and saying: "Come to the barn when the -general--in--waiting has finished. I've got something to show you." Then he stood up and walked off, and she looked down into her hand and almost screamed. With one hand over her mouth, she dropped the object into the grass. It was a bumblebee. It could still move, despite not having legs or wings. At last Rikard finished, and she sat watching her parents and Robert and Jon's parents moving -toward the tables where the coffee was. They were both what Army people in their respective Oslo congregations called "strong families," and she knew watchful eyes were on her. She walked -toward the outhouse. Once she was around the corner, where no one could see her, she scurried in the direction of the barn. "Do you know what this is?" said Robert with the smile in his eyes and the deep voice he had not had the summer before. He was lying on his back in the hay whittling a tree root with the penknife he always carried in his belt. Then he held it up and she saw what it was. She had seen drawings. She hoped it was too dark for him to see her blush again. "No," she lied, sitting beside him in the hay. And he gave her that teasing look of his, as if he knew something about her she -didn't even know herself. She returned his gaze and fell back on her elbows. "This is where it goes," he said, and in an instant his hand was up her dress. She could feel the hard tree root against the inside of her thigh and, before she could close her legs, it was touching her underpants. His breath was hot on her neck. "No, Robert," she whispered. "But I made it for you," he wheezed in return. "Stop. I don't want to." "Are you saying no? To me?" She caught her breath and was unable either to answer or to scream because at that moment they heard Jon's voice from the barn door: "Robert! No, Robert!" She felt him relax and let go, and the tree root was left between her clenched thighs as he withdrew his hand. "Come here!" Jon said, as though talking to a disobedient dog. With a chuckle Robert got up, winked at her and ran out into the sun to his brother. She sat up and brushed the hay off her, feeling both relieved and ashamed at the same time. Relieved because Jon had spoiled their crazy game. Ashamed because he seemed to think it was more than that: a game. Later, during grace before their evening meal, she had looked up straight into Robert's brown eyes and seen his lips form one word. She -didn't know what it was, but she had started to giggle. He was crazy! And she was . . . well, what was she? Crazy, too. Crazy. And in love? Yes, in love, precisely that. And not in the way she had been when she was twelve or thirteen. Now she was fourteen and this was bigger. More important. And more exciting. She could feel the laughter bubbling up inside her now, as she lay there trying to stare through the roof. Auntie Sara grunted and stopped snoring beneath the window. Something screeched. An owl? She needed to pee. She didn't feel like going out, but she had to. Had to walk through the dewy grass past the barn, which was dark and quite a different proposition in the middle of the night. She closed her eyes, but it didn't help. She crept out of her sleeping bag, slipped on some sandals and tiptoed over to the door. A few stars had appeared in the sky, but they would disappear when day broke in the east in an -hour's time. The cool air caressed her skin as she scampered along, listening to the unidentifiable sounds of the night. Insects that stayed quiet during the day. Animals hunting. Rikard said he had seen foxes in the distant copse. Or perhaps the animals were the same ones that were out during the day, but just made different sounds. They changed. Shed their skins, so to speak. The outhouse stood alone on a small mound behind the barn. She watched it grow in size as she came closer. The strange, crooked hut had been made with untreated wooden boards that had warped, split and turned gray. No windows, a heart on the door. The worst thing about it was that you never knew if anyone was already in there. And she had an instinct that someone was already in there. She coughed so that whoever was there might signal his presence. A magpie took off from a branch on the edge of the wood. Otherwise all was still. She stepped up onto the flagstone. Grabbed the lump of wood that passed for a door handle. Pulled it. The black room gaped open. She breathed out. There was a flashlight beside the toilet seat, but she -didn't need to switch it on. She raised the seat lid before closing the door and fastening the door hook. Then she pulled up her nightgown, pulled down her underwear and sat down. In the ensuing silence she thought she heard something. Something that was neither animal nor magpie nor insects shedding skin. Something that moved fast through the tall grass behind the toilet. Then the trickle started and the noise was obscured. But her heart had already started pounding. When she had finished, she quickly pulled up her underpants and sat in the dark listening. But all she could hear was a faint ripple in the tops of the trees and her blood throbbing in her ears. She waited for her pulse to slow down, then she unhooked the catch and opened the door. The dark figure filled almost the entire doorway. He must have been standing and waiting silently outside on the stone step. The next minute she was splayed over the toilet seat and he stood above her. He closed the door behind him. "You?" she said. "Me," he said in an alien, tremulous, husky voice. Then he was on top of her. His eyes glittered in the dark as he bit her lower lip until he drew blood and one hand found the way under her nightgown and tore off her underwear. She lay there crippled with fear beneath the knife blade that stung the skin on her neck while he kept thrusting his groin into her before he had even got his trousers off, like some crazed, copulating dog. "One word from you and I'll cut you into pieces," he whispered. And not one word issued from her mouth. Because she was fourteen years old and sure that if she shut her eyes tightly and concentrated she would be able to see the stars through the roof. God had the power to do things like that. If it was His wish. Excerpted from The Redeemer by Jo Nesbø All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.