Thursday, October 2, 2014

Phantom--Book Review

Photo: Jo Nesbo, from

This one took a little while to get going, but of course was well worth it.  Harry Hole is back from self-isolation in Hong Kong because the son of the love of his life has been accused of murder.  Helping Hole to hopefully set this boy free are his usual suspects, though they're mostly given short shrift here.  They pop up essentially to help out and then they disappear again.  I would've liked to have seen Beate some more, but I admit that there wasn't enough in the plot to place her there more often without making it look forced.  So...maybe later.

At any rate, the crime itself again isn't a mindbender.  An experienced reader will know who done it, though, again, the proof is hard to come by.  Watching Hole figuring it out and gathering it is why we read these.  But it shouldn't surprise you.  Also not much of a mystery to me was the identity of the old man who keeps showing up.  It probably won't be for you, either.  The italics portions struck me as unnecessary, but it was different for Nesbo, and so maybe that's what he was looking for.  It also provides a decent book-ending to it all, so okay.  I guess.

What will be a surprise, however, is the ending.  Rather infamous now, as this review comes a few years too late for the surprise ending, and since the tenth book, Police, has been out for awhile now.  If you haven't read this one, I won't spoil it for you, but...yeah, there's been a sequel, so...

And, yeah, I know I'm reading the Harry Hole books out of order.  I don't have them all, so bear with me.

The best part of these books, to me, is the honesty in which Nesbo writes them.  He doesn't shy away from the depressing, bottom-line truth of things.  The ending of Phantom is yet another, and perhaps the most glaring, example.  I had that part figured out because that is the way of these types of things, as Nesbo shows time and time again in this book.  It really couldn't have been anyone else, for any other reason, at the end.  Mattress Girl, in my soon-to-be-finished ms., can attest to that.  It is what it is.  Let's deal with the what-is before we try to make it the way we want it to be.

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