harry-hole

The Snowman

Book Review

That's right, the seventh Harry Hole book, and, because I read these out of order, the last one in the series for me to read. This one is the first one optioned to be turned into a movie (optioned I think in 2014, though you can probably search and figure that out quickly). Of all the books, I have to say I agree that this one would make the best movie, though all of them would be good.

Having read the previous six and the subsequent three, I knew what was going on around this book. I knew how it was going to end, and I STILL didn't see all the twists. I knew a couple were false, but didn't really know that others were twists except for the fact I wasn't near the end of the book. That said, I was still deeply engrossed, reading fast, and agitated during the climax of the book.

All the expected characters were in the book. If you are reading them in order, then this book is an OH. MY. GOD. in its conclusion.

Having not particularly liked the first Harry Hole I read, I am somewhat delighted at now being a fan. Lots of gruesome, ahhhhh-cannot-unthink scenes, but Nesbø's twists and puzzles and misdirects are just way worth it. The broken hero story makes it more appealing.

This book is readable stand alone, but for maximum impact and oh shit revelations, read them in order.

The Redeemer

Book Review

Okay, the sixth book in the Harry Hole series, and the ninth one I read, since I read them out of order.

And despite reading them out of order, I didn't recall one particular aspect of the books that I probably should have, about a couple characters in the series. I kept thinking, oh, this is fine, it'll all work out. Except this is a Harry Hole series, so OF COURSE it doesn't work out.

This particular book had enough twists and turns and vague language when reading that wow, I'm pretty sure I guessed wrong at least 12 times on "who did it." While part of that is the joy of allowing the author to reveal the plot and characters and motivations and mysteries at his own pace, which means deliberately not thinking things through too hard, I have to say that even if I had thought about it through, I likely would have still guessed wrong.

This might be one of my favorite Harry Hole books, if only for that reason. Which is saying something, as Nesbø is pretty good at twists and turns in all his books.

Yeah, again, if you can stand the gore and horrible things people might do to each other, the series is recommended.

Nemesis

Book Review

Okay, be completely (and by "completely" I mean 100%) unsurprised that the next book I read is a Harry Hole book. It's pretty much all I'm reading these days. So close to 104 books for the year, which would be twice my goal of one book a week. Go me.

This Harry Hole book had the feeling of deja vu. So much so that I had to reread a number of chapters just because I felt I had already read the chapter and wanted to reread it just to confirm that the feeling of "I've totally read this book before" wasn't valid.

In this book, Harry is set up.

Shock.

And likely about time.

By which I mean, the man has totally set himself up to be screwed by jealous and less moral coworkers.

Tom Waaler is a major character in this book, how he is a complete an total asshole and BAD COP (whoops, spoiler alert). Seriously, if you've been reading this series, that Tom is a bad guy isn't a revelation. He plays an important role in the previous two books. And yeah, he's an asshole. Takes advantage of someone else setting up Harry.

I enjoyed the book, again with the caveat "as much as I can enjoy anything with murder in it." Hate people taking advantage of other people, hate the willful destruction of other people, hate the fucking unfairness in this world. Go Harry! it gets better.

Related: OMG writing book reviews when drunk is AWESOME. Sober Kitt, you should try this more often.

Or maybe not.

The Redbreast

Book Review

Book ONE HUNDRED for the year! Given my goal was to read 52 books this year, a feat I accomplished in June, I have to say that I have crushed that goal. Harry Hole was a significant part of that crushing: this is the seventh book I've read in the ten books of the Harry Hole series. While I prefer to read series in order, this one happens to be readable in any order, with lots of details filled in by reading earlier books. I kinda like that I didn't read them exactly in order. Even if I didn't really like the first book, I do like the series and the tragic character of Harry Hole.

This book has a different writing structure than most of the other Harry Hole books, in that it tells two stories intertwined, with the merging of the two plot lines at the end with a resolution for both of them. One of them was the story of a soldier from Norway who fought on the Eastern Front during World War 2. On the wrong side. Except there wasn't a correct side in the trenches until after the war and atrocities were revealed, and even then, the bottom of the totem pole does what he was told to do, did what he needed to do to survive.

As with the rest of the Harry Hole books, there is the path Nesbø leads us down, and the actual solution to the mystery, the actual person doing the series of murders of persons who fought on the Eastern Front. A few of the murders didn't quite fit, which of course leads the police down the wrong path, which makes things interesting and confusing.

I'll finish the series, likely this year at this rate. Maybe. Four more books this year and I've doubled my reading goal for the year.

Cockroaches

Book Review

And now, to no one's surprise, I'm going back to read the five Harry Hole books I didn't read. Starting at book five likely wasn't the best decision, since I was fairly "meh" after reading it, but I found that I missed the character, so I'm going back to read the books I had missed.

This is book two of the Harry Hole (hō-lay? hol-lee? hōl!) series. Again, Harry is on the other side of the world. Again, he is solving an odd murder. Again, there are so many twists and turns and what the hell, I am so confused moments, that, yes, I enjoyed the book (minus the murder and the brutality parts).

The book takes place mostly in Thailand. There are a number of actions that Harry does that are referred to in passing in later books that I'm glad I read this book. I suspect I missed a lot of other references, having no context for them when I read the later books.

As with the Harry Dresden and Harry Potter books, I recommend this Harry series if you like Scandinavian crime mysteries and can stand gruesome descriptions and horrific acts. I tended to skip over the dark parts, without loss of continuity.

Police

Book Review

Okay, this is the latest book in the Harry Hole series. Based on the ending, I feel this should be the last book in the series. I'm not the author, and I understand the lure of keeping a franchise alive, yet this one feels like a great place to end the series.

True to Nesbo's style of writing the Hole series (ha, I crack me up), there are a lot of twists and turns and deliberate wording causing misdirections. I was confused a bit with some of the characters, but figured them all out in the end. Unsurprising, this book was about THE POLICE, and had a large bit of house-cleaning in it (another reason why this could be the last book: a lot of the different plotlines are wrapped up, cleaned up, and squared away).

I really liked how a number of details from previous books wrap back around in this book. The details are still details, not major plot points. They are subtle enough to make this book stand on its own (without the Dresden repeating of everything), but stand out if you've read the previous book recently (like finished it about an hour before starting this one).

So, with this one, I've read five of the Harry Hole books. Given I've read the last three, and know much of the plot points of the previous ones from details gleaned from those last three books, I'm likely going to skip the rest of the Hole books.

Despite my luke-warm first book review, I have to say that I now recommend this series.

Phantom

Book Review

Second to last of the currently published Harry Hole books, which is to say, book nine, and I read this one quickly. Not really sure I intended to read this one as much as I did, I avoided some of the conference this weekend to read it, but read it and read it fast, I did.

The ending, holy crap. Totally had me emotional and upset. I was glad there was another Harry Hole book to immediately begin reading. If I had had to wait a year for it to be published, I'm not sure I would have read the next one (yes, I would have read the next one).

This one has Harry returning from Hong Kong, this time to defend Oleg, Rakel’s son. Again, in Nesbo's style of using pronouns and just enough description to paint a picture in your head, playing with your prejudices and expectations to have you paint the wrong picture, only to have a clearer picture painted later providing a different interpretation, this book has a number of twists and turns and unexpected huh? moments.

Last book, Harry almost died. In that one, it seemed to be a lucky but plausible escape from death. In this one, Harry, surprise, almost dies, but ehhhhhhhhhhhhhh, no, it's not really a plausible escape from death. Just a clever plot twist that, okay, works.

I still very much enjoyed the book. The ending had me overwhelmed. Worth reading.

The Leopard

Book Review

This book is number eight in the Harry Hole series. As such, I really need to put links to the whole list at some point. After reading The Bat, book one of the series, I sought this book out from (you guessed it) the stack of books from Mom. I will finish that stack of books. Really.

This book starts out confusingly, from the perspective of the first victim of HEY NO SURPRISE a serial killer. It takes awhile to understand the particular method of death, mostly when it happens again. I wasn't particularly able to "see" this book the way I could see the previous one, given this one is back in Norway, and not Sydney (of course). There are a number of life path changes that happened as a result of the previous book in the series, which I hadn't read, so yeah, I was confused a bit.

This one has Harry in Hong Kong, using opium instead of alcohol to numb himself. Why he's there is the subject of the previous book, which is also the first Hole book to be turned into a movie, so I might have to read it at some point. He is convinced to return to Norway, works on the case, has a number of strange romantic twists (complete with confusing real-world "Is she interested? I can't tell" moments), and several "we caught the bad guy NO WAIT WE DIDN'T" endings. You know the actual ending only because you read the last page.

Nesbo is vague enough with his descriptions and his use of pronouns that you're never really sure who is who in the books. This is one that I'm uncertain could be translated into a movie for that reason. The ending was a little surprising to me because of the use of pronouns, and that, like real life, the first guess is not always the correct answer, so I have to say, I'll be reading the remaining books in this series pronto.

This series is recommended.

The Bat

Book Review

Okay, really now, this book surprised me completely.

It is the first Harry Hole series. The first Harry Hole I read, turns out, was book five in the series. Which meant, there were four books of character development that I completely missed out on. Which is surprising, given that this book was also in the stack of books from Mom. WHEN AM I GOING TO GET THROUGH THAT STACK? I swear, that woman has defined my reading for this year, and likely next.

So, this book, the first Harry Hole book, actually acknowledges the odd name, though most people in this book pronounce Harry's last name as Holly and Holy.

The book takes place in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, which I found ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTFUL, as I started reading it when I was in Sydney. It made the story more interesting to me in the way the Harry Bosch series was engaging: I knew the area. I knew what the spaces looked like, I walked along the places, watched people in the different locations. I hadn't really realized how much that connection appeals to me.

This story also gives us a large part of Harry's background, which also made the character more interesting to me.

The plot is that Harry flies to Sydney to look into the death of a Norwegian citizen. Amidst a whole bunch of other deaths, a serial killer is discovered in investigation, and boom, now we have a plot. There were a number of Australian cultural references in the book that went along with the museums that Mom and I were visiting as I was reading the book, that made the story have a stronger impact.

I enjoyed the book, and am looking forward to the other Harry Hole books in the stack from Mom, unlike how I was after the previous Hole crime mystery thriller I read.

Recommended.

The Devil's Star

Book Review

Oh, good lord, when is the list of books from my mom going to end? I swear, I've read more of her books this year than I have of mine. No, wait, that's not quite true. Feels like it, though.

And what is it with all the Harry books? Harry Dresden. Harry Potter. Harry Bosch. And now, Harry Hole.

I am not kidding on that name. The main character's name is Harry Hole. Just let me die of laughter now.

He's a detective. The plot is set in nominally Oslo. There are deaths and they are murders. At least there isn't any Mab. Or tunnels. There is a BAD COP, though, so maybe this is just a Norwegian Bosch tale. No, wait, no tunnels.

This book was a fast read. I know that Mom enjoys Nesbo's work. I also know there are Stieg Larsson comparisons. Blah blah blah. Right. Fast read, somewhat interesting. This Harry is, as just about every other Harry also is, flawed in ways that adversely affect the outcome of his life. He's an alcoholic. He obsesses. He makes mistakes. In the end, he solves the murders, and I really didn't see who-did-it coming, so there's that.

Not recommended, not not recommended. If it's on your night stand, go ahead and read it.