Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Guest Review: Phantom

Summary: When Harry left Oslo again for Hong Kong—fleeing the traumas of life as a cop—he thought he was there for good. But then the unthinkable happened. The son of the woman he loved, lost, and still loves is arrested for murder: Oleg, the boy Harry helped raise but couldn't help deserting when he fled. Harry has come back to prove that Oleg is not a killer. Barred from rejoining the police force, he sets out on a solitary, increasingly dangerous investigation that takes him deep into the world of the most virulent drug to ever hit the streets of Oslo (and the careers of some of the city's highest officials), and into the maze of his own past, where he will find the wrenching truth that finally matters to Oleg, and to himself. -- Deckle Edge

When I was at BEA this year, I was lucky enough to attend one of the adult breakfasts where Jo Nesbo was a featured speaker. I also happened to get a copy of his latest Harry Hole book PHANTOM. Because I'm such a great daughter, I passed it along to my dad. Seriously, I just knew he'd get to this book before I could! Here are his thoughts:

PHANTOM is an international best seller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo that has been translated into English for sale in the United States.

The story centers on Harry Hole, a regular character in Nebo’s books. Hole is a troubled ex-cop who moved from Oslo, Norway to Hong Kong three years ago to flee the stress of being a cop. He is drawn back to Oslo to solve a mystery involving the son of the woman who was once his lover. Her son, Oleg, has confessed to the murder of his friend and fellow drug addict, Gusto, and Hole wants to prove Oleg’s innocence.

Hole’s investigation takes him to Oslo’s seamy drug world which is controlled by a mysterious Russian named Dubai, a shadowy figure from which the novel probably derives its name. The drug of choice is violin, a synthetic drug similar to heroin.

Hole has no shortage of possible suspects in his search for the truth. Hole finds himself in constant danger as he crosses paths with some of the city’s highest officials and with the police department he once worked for. He also has to confront demons from his troubled past. In the search for Gusto’s killer, Hole uncovers many other issues related to the drug scene in Oslo.

Both the emotional and physical aspects of the characters are well developed by Nesbo. It’s easy to visualize Harry Hole and other main characters like Gusto and Oleg. It’s interesting to observe the mental anguish Hole encounters as he pursues the killer. Nesbo shows the many sides of the key city official and the policemen who play important roles in the case.

Author Jo Nesbo takes an interesting, and unusual, approach in the novel by using a rat and the dead boy, Gusto, to narrate the story. Surprisingly it works as it neatly comes together at the conclusion.

Nesbo also runs with two secondary stories in the novel - one, a drug smuggling airline pilot and the other, a knife wielding Russian lackey. Other than showing the expanse of the drug problem in the world, neither story line adds much to the novel.

Because the topic of Phantom is corruption and the drug underworld, it is a dark and angry book. However, it is a real page turner with a complex plot containing many twists and turns and a surprising ending. PHANTOM would interest anyone who enjoys a fast-paced thriller.

Thanks to Booking Pap Pap for his review.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

I watched the video of Jo Nesbo's breakfast talk at BEA, but I sure am jealous that you were there in person! :--)

Sandy Nawrot said...

Yeah, Jill and I were beside ourselves that you were THERE. In theory, you could have TOUCHED HIM. This was such an emotional, personal book. Your dad needs to go back and read the whole series!

bermudaonion said...

It's interesting that it's narrated by a rat and a dead boy. I do enjoy fast paced thrillers and really need to try one of Nesbo's books.

Serena said...

This sounds fantastic...I have to say that I really enjoyed The Caller by Karin Fossum, though that's more psychologically focused.

Thanks for the guest review...this author is on my to read list.

Beth F said...

I just skimmed this because I want to read it (well, maybe listen).

His BEA talk was great.