Jo Nesbø

Norwegian author, musician, freelance journalist and a stockbroker Jo Nesbø might be sitting on top of the best seller lists both at home and abroad, (translation into more than forty languages suggests worldwide interest in the old Nordic noir). Given the apparent topic of his children’s series (I note the title of Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder and make no further comment) he’s got an eye for what sells and seems to have hit on a commercially viable formula.

I’ve got him filed under Will probably provide something to read when none of the preferred options are available.


  • The Leopard (2011), where Detective Harry Hole has retreated into opiated exile in Hong Kong in the wake of The Snowman, where Crime Squad officer, Kaja Solness locates him and persuades him to return and investigate the deaths of two women that seem to be the work of a serial killer. He’s less concerned by the actual cases than by the fact that his father is seriously ill and unlikely to live much longer. 

His return to Norway coincides with internal feuding between Crime Squad and the National Criminal Investigation Service (Kripos), headed by the ambitious Mikael Bellman, intent on gaining a monopoly on murder investigations. The power struggle heats up when a female Norwegian MP is murdered, hanged but decapitated by the rope.

All three victims had been at a ski lodge on the same night, so there’s the link between them and a fourth victim (male, super glued to his bath and then drowned) had been there on the same night. An attempted sting to draw the killer out sees the ski lodge wrecked by an avalanche and investigations lead Harry to the Congo, where the set piece ending duly takes place. Harry’s father passes, and after a brief encounter with his former partner, Rakel, and her son, Oleg, at the funeral he’s back to his self-imposed exile in Hong Kong.

Labyrinthine is, I think, the apposite descriptor, and the dude definitely knows how to write long

Other titles:

Harry Hole:

1997 Flaggermusmannen: The Bat 

1998 Kakerlakkene: The Cockroaches

2000 Rødstrupe (English: The Redbreast)

2002 Sorgenfri (English: Nemesis)

2003 Marekors (English: The Devil's Star)

2005 Frelseren (English: The Redeemer)

2007 Snømannen (English: The Snowman)

2011 Gjenferd (English: Phantom)

Doktor Proktor:

2007 Doktor Proktors Prompepulver (Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder)

2008 Doktor Proktors Prompepulver: tidsbadekaret (Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder: "The time Bathtub)

2010 Doktor Proktor og verdens undergang. Kanskje. (Doctor Proctor and the Armageddon. Maybe.)

Stand-alone titles:

1999 Stemmer fra Balkan/Atten dager i mai (Figures in the Balkans, with Espen Søbye, documentary)

2001 Karusellmusikk (short stories)

2007 Det hvite hotellet (English: The White Hotel)

2008 Hodejegerne (English: The Headhunters)

© Ian Hughes 2012