Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book #96: The Redbreast

The Redbreast: A NovelTitle: The Redbreast
Author: Jo Nesbo

I started listening to Jo Nesbo's The Redbreast at the beginning of our cruise to Alaska, and for a while, I wasn't sure I was ever going to be able to finish it. I usually listen to books while I run, and early in the morning on the cruise ship I ran about a zillion laps around the promenade deck of the ship, fighting the walkers and the deck swabbers, and although it definitely beat running on the treadmills up in the overheated gym, I thought I might have a Pavlovian experience every time I listened to the book and start running in circles. 

But I'm glad I stuck it out because The Redbreast was a great read. In fact, it was so good that I ordered the next two books in the series (Nemesis and The Devil's Star) and I'm not letting myself dig into either one until I finish my blogging backlog. I started blogging book #83 this morning, so that may be an indication of how much I want to start reading Nemesis. Anyway, the first few hours of The Redbreast are a little confusing, with Detective Harry Hole working in the present in Oslo (the year 2000) and a story taking place in World War II, but eventually the stories come together and the book picks up the pace and the end is pretty thrilling. I know others have compared the books to Steig Larsson's books (must be the Scandinavian thing) but I actually think that The Redbreast is better, and less overtly gory. Of course, Harry Hole drinks too much and can't be reined in by his bosses like the protagonist all good police procedurals, but the book didn't feel too formulaic.

I will say that if you're unfamiliar with Norwegian names, it might not be a great idea to listen to the book. I think that I was slow to warm up to The Redbreast because I had such a hard time keeping track of who was who in the early chapters (although Nesbo names the main protagonist at the beginning of each chapter for dummies like me). In fact, although I love both my digital reader and my Audible subscription, I always feel the loss of being able to thumb back through a book for a quick recap whenever I feel a little bit lost in what I'm reading. But anyway, I have one more book to blog today, and then I'm losing myself in Nemesis.

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