Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Redeemer - Jo Nesbø

I'm on a little bit of an audiobook role here as I play catch-up with reviews. My review of The Redeemer was part of last week's audiobook-focused Shelf Awareness issue. It is appearing here now with their permission.

First line: "She was fourteen years old and sure that if she shut her eyes tight and concentrated she could see the stars through the roof."

In the United States, several narrators have read Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole series. The Redeemer, book six in the series, is the first time John Lee gives voice to the damaged Oslo police detective. His narration, however, sounds as though he’s known the series intimately from the start.

While Lee’s style may sound abrupt at first, the rhythm quickly blends into the story and becomes an afterthought as listeners find themselves caught up in the action of the investigation.

Detective Hole is after the killer of a Salvation Army worker. Despite the murder happening in a crowded street, no one can identify the shooter; even worse, he’s not finished. Harry must find him and prevent him from killing again.

Hole’s role is a challenge in the various layers Nesbø created throughout the series, but Lee has a firm grip on the strata. Hole’s paradoxical characteristics of compassion and apathy blend seamlessly in Lee’s calm, laid back approach to the detective. And while the action of the plot is fast and intense, Lee keeps the pace in line with Hole’s character.

Nesbø works a very dark sense of humor into this series, which is not lost on Lee. His depiction of Hole with an unloaded weapon in a standoff with the murderer is both suspenseful and humorous.

Nesbø fans accustomed to Robin Sachs’ previous narrations may find the change a bit jolting, but John Lee has given voice to an exceptional interpretation of The Redeemer.

The Redeemer is available as an unabridged audio (ISBN: 9780307917546) from Random House Audio. It is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9780307595850) from Knopf (translated by Don Bartlett).


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