The Son by Jo Nesbo

Title: The Son
Author: Jo Nesbo
Genre: Crime
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Son

What it is About?

Sonny Loftus has been in prison for 12 years. He is a heroin addict, convicted murderer, and model prisoner. Other inmates confess their crimes to him, convinced he can absolve them of their sins. There is something about him that gains their trust. Then, one day, a prisoner confesses a sin Sonny can’t ignore. It is to do with the death of his father, a disgraced policeman who committed suicide. To find the truth, and punish those responsible for his father’s death, Sonny breaks out of prison and begins hunting down the guilty.

Simon Kefas is a detective in Oslo police not long from retirement. He is known as an honest, dogged, cop who could have risen higher if he’d just played the game. He is also a former gambler and former best friend of Sonny’s dad. When Sonny’s crime spree starts, Simon sees the link before anyone else. The question is whether he will uphold the law or try to save Sonny.

What did I Think?

I am quite a fan of Scandinavian crime fiction, which I’ve often found to be quite clever, and Jo Nesbo was one of the reasons for this. I really enjoyed the first few of the Harry Hole novels; then, I must admit, I got a little bored but kept reading them because they were familiar. The last couple I found especially tired and, whilst I think you always have to suspend disbelief a little with this type of story, pretty unbelievable. It was refreshing, then, to read about different characters in The Son. Characters I found interesting and had some sympathy for.

However, there were similarities with the Harry Hole novels, which mean it didn’t feel completely new and exciting. For example, Harry is an alcoholic and a detective in Oslo police who lives by his own code of honour, who does what he thinks is right, not necessarily what is legal. Simon Kefas follows in the same mould of the un-heroic hero, a man with demons to fight. He is, though, much less indestructible, which I liked. And happily married, rare with this type of character. The background of the seedy side of Oslo is also the same, as is the use of a omnipotent Crime Lord. The Son is much less graphically violent than Nesbo’s other recent novels, violence I thought often took the place of plot progression, but it’s still pretty bloody.

Overall, though, this is a fast paced book that is well written with plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing. I found it a very easy read, finishing it in a couple of days, and think it is something fans of crime fiction will enjoy.

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