First line: "How are we to start this story?"
Jo Nesbø's narrator in this standalone thriller is running from The Fisherman, a powerful drug lord with eyes everywhere. He knows it is only a matter of time until he is found, but figures Kåsund, a small village in the far north of Norway, is as good a place to hide as any.
Introducing himself as Ulf, up from Oslo to hunt grouse, the narrator meets Lea and her precocious son, Knut, when they discover him sleeping in the church. Lea loans Ulf her husband's rifle since he has nothing to hunt with and shows him a small cabin in the woods where he can stay. Time alone in the secluded shack affords Ulf the opportunity to reflect on the past he's trying to escape. But he also spends time with the newly widowed Lea and grows fond of young Knut. Those familiar with a Nesbø novel know serenity can only be short lived, and it isn't long before Kåsund's visiting hunter becomes the hunted.
Midnight Sun is short, swift and thoroughly captivating. The author of the Harry Hole series continues his trend of well-crafted, surprising plots populated by complex, haunted characters. Midnight Sun offers several superb plot twists as well as strong symbolism, like the 24-hour sunlight offering no darkness in which to hide, and well-placed humor. The relationship dynamics of Kåsund's colorful citizens adds to the suspense and illustrates Nesbø's skill for rich, dimensional characters, regardless of their role. Ulf is arguably one of Nesbø's finest; his return would certainly be welcome.
Midnight Sun is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9780385354202) from Knopf and as an unabridged audiobook (ISBN: 9780553545999), narrated by Kim Gordon from Random House Audio.