Just finished Jo Nesbo’s Nemesis! Amazing, multi-layered crime fiction, heavy on fully developed characters but just as strong in terms of plot, with plenty of twists. It’s the third nominee for the MWA Edgar award for Best Novel that I’ve read over the last few days, along with The Missing by Tim Gautreaux and John Hart’s The Last Child.
Nesbo’s Harry Hole is a detective who has finally found some peace with girlfriend Rakel and her son Oleg. So he passes up the opportunity to reconnect romantically with an old flame. But the next day, he’s had an alcoholic blackout… and she’s dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. But the gun’s in the wrong hand. That’s a mesmerising premise for any book – but it’s just one of the mysteries at the heart of Nemesis.
The other plot involves a bank robbery that becomes a murder when the robber sets a time limit for the money to be handed over. 25 seconds, no more, or the teller gets it. At 31 seconds, the robber takes aim, the teller says a few words, and then she’s dead. Why? Unravelling the mystery takes Harry and his partner, Beate Lonn, down a long, compellingly twisty path.
The only disappointment – and it’s a minor one – is that I expected more from Beate’s fusiform gyrus. That is, Beate has a rare skill: the ability to remember every face she’s ever seen and where’s she’s seen it. My hope is that the next Jo Nesbo book will feature Beate more prominently! In the meantime, I’ll be going back to read the two previous books in the series (after the Edgar nominees, of course).
My intention was to rank the nominees and pick a winner. The Last Child had the edge over The Missing. It’s getting tough, but so far, The Last Child is still at #1, followed by Nemesis, followed by The Missing. Still to read: The Odds (Katherine George), Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death (Charlie Huston) and A Beautiful Place to Die (Malla Nunn).