Publisher Vintage (2007)
Blurb From Goodreads
1944: Daniel, a soldier, legendary among the Norwegians fighting the advance of Bolshevism on the Russian front, is killed. Two years later, a wounded soldier wakes up in a Vienna hospital. He becomes involved with a young nurse, the consequences of which will ripple forward to the turn of the next century.
1999: Harry Hole, alone again after having caused an embarrassment in the line of duty, has been promoted to inspector and is lumbered with surveillance duties. He is assigned the task of monitoring neo-Nazi activities; fairly mundane until a report of a rare and unusual gun being fired sparks his interest. Ellen Gjelten, his partner, makes a startling discovery. Then a former soldier is found with his throat cut. In a quest that takes him to South Africa and Vienna, Harry finds himself perpetually one step behind the killer. He will be both winner and loser by the novel’s nail-biting conclusion.
The Redbreast won the Glass Key prize for the best Nordic crime novel when it was first published, and was subsequently voted Norway’s best crime novel. The Devil’s Star, Nesbø’s first novel featuring Harry Hole to be translated into English, marked Nesbø as a writer to watch in the ever more fashionable world of Nordic crime.
This for me was an up and down read in that some of it was fantastic and I couldn't put it down yet other parts of it was slow and the Norwegian names were a bit confusing so I had to look back to remember who was who.
The book is split into two, the past in the 1940s during the Natzi War we follow a small band of soldiers. The soldiers fate is revealed and the choices made by one will influence what happens up to present day.
Present day we follow a cop (Harry Hole) who has his own issues and baggage and before long is caught up in and investigation where the soldiers from the past are involved in one way or another and the story goes from there. Things get dangerous quickly and Harry has to put his own personal demons aside to track down a professional killer who wont let anything or anyone get in his way.
I loved when it went back to the past and the story was with the nurse and the soldier and the interaction with the soldiers together. The relationships, stress and hardships they face with war. however even back there some of it dragged and took a bit of time to get the point.
Present day - most of my questions got answered but again the pace went from slow and drawn to fast and jumped back and forth.
This was my first Jo Nesbo book and whilst I did like it I found it a hard slog in some parts yet totally riveting in others. There was one big issue in the book that wasn't addressed however I am sure it will be dealt with in another book. I think the bad and good are fairly even so this book is getting a 3/5 for me and I will read this author again.
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