As the popularity of Scandinavian crime stories increases in the U.S., Jo Nesbø releases another in his series featuring Harry Hole, a kind of Norwegian Jimmy McNulty.

Book Digest Possibly the next fad in literature will see an upswing of publishing Scandinavian crime-story writers in the U.S.A. Stieg Larsson (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) has been hugely successful; Peter Høeg has a following here; and now Jo Nesbø (The Red Breast) reaches these shores with Nemesis (HarperCollins), his second Harry Hole opus (though outside the U.S. he has published seven Hole books—The Bat Man, The Cockroaches, The Redbreast, The Devil’s Star, The Redeemer, and The Snowman—and one standalone, Headhunters).

Hole, is, as they would say on The Wire (the best rendering of urban America ever), good police: He smokes cigarettes, drinks with abandon, and doggedly investigates any and all cases that come under his purview. Which in this case includes a savage bank robber who cruelly executes his victims, a 12-hour blackout, and a dead ex-girlfriend, gypsies, and a creepy enemy in his own department. But it’s the narrative’s hardboiled persona and noir patter that make it work and read well. Though I am averse to crime-story series, Nesbø’s Hole is a character craftily wrought who calls for more attention—he has the makings of a Norwegian Jimmy McNulty.
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