Review: Nemesis by Jo Nesbø

4 of 5 stars

Harry Hole 4

My version:
Fiction Thriller, Crime
A gift

How do you catch a killer when you’re the number one suspect?

A man is caught on CCTV, shooting dead a cashier at a bank. Detective Harry Hole begins his investigation, but after dinner with an old flame wakes up with no memory of the past 12 hours.

Then the girl is found dead in mysterious circumstances and he beings to receive threatening emails: is someone trying to frame him for her death?

As Harry fights to clear his name, the bank robberies continue with unparalleled savagery…


Nemesis is much better than the previous  Jo Nesbø’s I’ve read. Mainly because, after sending a Norwegian detective out all over the world, to solve crimes in a way which aren’t related to his unique Norwegian-ness, it wisely sticks to Harry Hole, Norway, crime and the solving thereof. Much better. So it can concentrate on what makes Harry Harry and not on me wondering how he got to speak English so well, when he’s a dyed-in-the-wool Norwegian and an alcoholic at that. Oh, and speaking of booze, Hole stays off it this time. I didn’t do alcoholics being kept on because they’re good at their job. Especially not in the solving of crimes area. If you can’t trust them to stop buying beer (the easiest way to quit, I’ve done it), then you sure as fuck cant trust them to do all the linking of un-linkable pieces of evidence and catching the perp. Nope.

It follows the well-worn path of the previous three, that of the crime having been ‘solved’ with acres of pageage left. If you have the book, you just need to check your right hand while reading – there’s still an inch of book left! And JN isn’t one for lengthy ‘thanks go to…’ So, it doesn’t work. It’s on a parr with the ‘You’re wondering why I’ve gathered you all here…’ When the detective runs through the whole case in front of all the suspects, because the author is worried you the reader haven’t understood what’s going on. Either because they think you’re thick, or they realise – probably after a word with their publisher – that they’ve taken too many lines out and made it un-understandable (you can say that in Danish, I’m sorry). They even have a champagne reception! Those Norwegians, eh? Their Viking ancestors myst be real proud of them… Vikings were Danes anyway, so there! And you’re thinking ‘there’s still an inch to go you idiots!’ You know what’s coming next too, Harry leaves, goes down the stairs, meets someone he doesn’t know, sees something totally unrelated to whatever has happened before, and realises “we’ve got it all wrong!” Etc. You know it.

The other good bits are that the ‘inside the mind of the psychopath’ nonsense is kept to a bare minimum. However, JN needs to tippex out more of the eyebrow raising in time for the next one. The most eyebrow raising seen this side of an Anthony Riches book, unfortunately. But, on the whole, all in all, it’s good. I enjoyed it and I actually got to like Harry, maybe understand him. He’s much better being Harry in Oslo than out other places, for sure..

You can buy a paperback of Nemesis at The Book Depository

Jo Nesbø’s website

Related reviews on Speesh Reads:

The Bat Jo NesboCockroaches - Jo NesboThe Redbreast




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