On average, I’m reading anywhere from three to eight books at a time. Occasionally I’ll become completely engrossed in a book, leaving the rest to languish on my nightstand, while other times I’ll read in fits and bursts, taking weeks or months to complete one measly book.
Typically summer break was when I got down to the brass tacks of my reading schedule, but seeing as I graduated recently, summer no longer means poolside reading extravaganzas so much as it does whiling away the hours in a windowless office. Que sera, sera. But my new status as a desk jockey leaves me a few minutes here and there to trowel Amazon or the Times bestsellers for my next book, and so far I’ve not been disappointed with my selections. I’m not even sure how I stumbled on my current favorite author du jour, but I did, and I haven’t done one productive thing in my free time since I started reading him.
After huge success in his home country, Swedish crime-writing phenom Jo Nesbo is gaining a cult following in the States for his Harry Hole crime-thriller series. In the same vein as Stieg Larsson and the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Nesbo takes you to the somewhat unexpectedly gritty underbelly of Oslo, painting a sinister picture full of weapons dealers, corrupt policemen and that most notorious of American exports, the serial killer.
Where Larsson’s protagonist Mikael Blomkvist is a scandalized ex-reporter sent to do penance in the country, Nesbo’s protagonist Harry Hole is a drunk, living in what I imagined to be a Spartan, Ikea-furnished hell-hole decorated primarily with empty bottles of Jim Beam. And yet you want to root for him. You don’t even care that he’s a selfish, masochistic a-hole sometimes, because compared to some of the other characters that Nesbo dreamed up, Harry really is a good guy.
For some reason that is beyond my realm of comprehension, the first two books in this series- The Bat Man and The Cockroaches– have not been translated into English, but should you feel you’re up to the challenge, they are available for purchase in Swedish on amazon.com. Also, not all of the books that have been translated are available on Kindle. Just a heads-up.
Start with The Redbreast, then clear some time for yourself over the next couple weeks, because you won’t want to stop reading. The rest of the series follows in this order: Nemesis: A Novel, The Devil’s Star: A Novel, The Redeemer, The Snowman and The Leopard.
My apologies to your families and friends for your absence once you start the series. Happy reading.