Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Phantom by Jo Nesbo

Per my previous post, I am a HUGE Jo Nesbo fan (think Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and you get the general drift of his mysteries - in other words, not for the faint-hearted).  His favorite Oslo detective, Harry Hole (not 'hole' - Hoo-lay) is, for once, in a rather decent spot in life.  Working as a debt-collector for a Hong Kong gambler (think mafioso and the strong men who collect the 'dues' and that's Harry's job), no longer using opium or alcohol to dull his pain, he has made a semblance of a life in China.  However, Oleg, the son of his ex-love, finds himself in an Oslo prison for a drug murder and it's up to Harry to get him out.  Sounds pretty straight forward and simple, doesn't it, like every other tradebook mystery ever written?  However, Nesbo is never a cookie-cutter writer; he's always got twists and turns that a reader never sees coming and The Phantom is no exception.  I've read three of his Harry Hole books now, and I must say, this one is my favorite.  More than any other book, it explores Harry's many demons, his inability to form relationships, his desire to be 'normal,' and the implicit yet completely atypical heroism of this uniquely intriguing detective.  I'm still wondering about the ending, hoping and praying for yet another book in this series.  If you like a gritty, well-written mystery series, I would highly recommend Jo Nesbo (but not if you live alone and read at night...creepy at times).

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