Book review – New Hole is explosive

2012-05-26 08:49

A dying young man recounts his last minutes – rushing through his life as a beautiful but wasted young man – the wrongs he has done to others, that they have done to him.

As the lifeblood leaks out of this unfortunate narrator, the reader simultaneously gets reacquainted with former detective Harry Hole. After a lengthy sojourn in the East, he’s back

in Oslo (Norway) and for good reason – his girlfriend’s son, Oleg, is in the dock for murder.

Solved as a junkie-on-junkie killing, Hole asks permission to poke around the investigation.

He doesn’t get it, but he starts poking around anyway, making himself a target of a man so dangerous his existence is but rumour.

Jo Nesbo has been writing for years. This is his seventh Hole novel, though his big break in the English publishing world came when he released The Snowman, which coincided with the insatiable hunger for Scandinavian crime fiction.

While he may have, at first, benefited from a contemporary, his work more than stands on its own and Phantom is really good.

If ever you needed someone to read a cautionary tale about the horrors of drug addiction, this would make the list.

It not only exposes the underbelly of the drug trade in Norway, but Hole’s investigation ends up draining a lot of the poisonous pus out of it.

Harvill Secker
452 pages; R199

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