Title: The Son
Author: Jo Nesbo
Rating: 4 out of 5
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’ve mentioned before how big a fan of Scandinavian crime fiction I am and Jo Nesbo is one of the reasons for this. I have read all his novels, most of which have Harry Hole as the central character. The last couple of these, though, I have found a bit tired and, whilst I think you always have to suspend disbelief a little with this type of story, pretty unbelievable. It was refreshing to read about different characters in The Son, characters I found interesting, had some sympathy for and which meant the story was less formulaic than the Harry Hole novels have become.
Saying that, there were similarities. 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, however, 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. However, The Son is much less graphically violent than Nesbo’s other recent novels, violence I thought often took the place of plot progression.
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, but highly enjoyable and a book I would recommend for fans of this genre and those new to it.
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