Book Review: The Redbreast

(Harry Hole #3)
12.23.2008 | Harper Collins
Rating: 5/5 stars


Harry Hole has once again found himself in a predicament that could potentially jeopardize his career. When the President of the United States comes to Norway, Harry finds himself on surveillance duty alongside the Secret Service. Unbeknownst to Harry one of the Secret Service officers makes a move that causes him to be seen as a threat and Harry accidentally shoots him. The Norwegian police department and Secret Service come to an agreement that Harry will not be persecuted, but instead he will be placed in a new department and promoted to an inspector.

In an attempt to hide Harry away from causing further trouble, he finds himself looking into a case that spans several decades. Someone has smuggled in a Marklin rifle, best known for its use in World War II. Harry believes no one would pay almost a million kroner to smuggle in a weapon of this caliber if they were not seeking to wreak havoc. Coupled with a recent uprise in the neo-Nazi community living in Norway, Harry finds himself in a battle against time. Can he piece together the puzzle before chaos reigns?

Only the dead escape unscathed.

Jo Nesbo has struck the perfect mixture of historical meets crime fiction within the pages of THE REDBREAST. This book is every bit as much of a guide to Norway’s involvement in World War II, as it is a mystery. Being an American, I grew up learning all about America’s involvement in WWII, but had little knowledge of Nordic involvement. I was instantly captivated by the chapters that took the reader back in time. These chapters are narrated by a soldier who brings the reader onto the frontline and a firsthand glimpse into the turmoil that war can cause. Each flashback chapter draws the reader further into the present time and the connection between this narrator and what is going on in Norway. I found myself looking forward to these chapters just as much as I was the present day sections.

Harry Hole is the obvious star of this series, but the secondary characters he works with and is investigating bring a fantastic depth to the story. I was invested in the lives of those around Harry at times more than I was his life. There are certainly some standout characters that will hopefully continue on in the series, as well as one character in particular I wish would have made it through this book.

Many people believe that right and wrong are fixed absolutes. That is incorrect, they change over time.

Reading these books in order helps to build up the connection the reader feels with Harry, as we learn more about what makes him tick. Harry has been through several dramatic situations in the preceding two novels of this series and the third installment doesn’t grant him any leeway. This time around it was refreshing to see Harry pull through the situation by devoting himself to the case at hand and not immediately being sucked into an alcoholic stupor. While there is quite a stereotype in using a troubled police officer in crime fiction novels, I feel that Harry’s character brings a level of depth often missing from other books using this element.

THE REDBREAST was an intoxicating and mesmerizing story that had me binging sections to find out what would happen next. I truly became swept away by both the present and past within these pages. Nebso delivered an amazing finale to the book, which created an ultimate 5 star read! I can’t wait to carry on with this series in 2019 and find out what Nesbo has in store for Hole in NEMESIS.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Redbreast

  1. So glad you are loving this series! Just like you, I was a little worried about the stereotypical alcoholic detective, but Nesbo has given him so many nuances that make him more than just a stereotype. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve read all the books in the series so far, and I can’t believe how much he has changed (and hasn’t changed) since the first book. You won’t believe all the things he does.

        Liked by 1 person

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