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Book Review: Jo Nesbo's Knife

The morning you wake up hangover but not from the booze you’ve willingly over-consumed last night but from the finished crime novel. You feel dizzy, still hoping that there’re a couple of pages more left, though your shattered mind sadly whispers of a final full stop. Say, it never happens? It does but only if this crime novel is written by the Norwegian detective writer Jo Nesbo and it’s the newest in Harry Hole series titled Knife.

This alcoholic Oslo detective, so imperfect and therefore so human and attractive, makes a noteworthy comeback, which completely sucks in the reader from the very first page. I always wonder how many choose Oslo as their next travel destination afterwards?

The plot of the novel is so cruel and unpredictable that it’s practically a challenge to review Knife without spoiling the reading. Harry is once again immersed into flooding his break-up with Rakel with countless rivers of alcohol when a terrible murder happens. Who is the killer? A rapist and a knife fan released after serving twenty years in prison, still feeling the grudge on Harry who killed his monster son; an ex-trooper who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder; or Harry himself, as he can’t remember nothing about that particular night?

Jo Nesbo demonstrates his master class of plotting, which makes the reader suspect almost everybody in the story by always leaving a drop of doubt and hindering ruling out of a character. But the revelation is always prompt and totally unexpected. Though the aftermath is somewhat too fictional and too good to be true.

Like in each of his novels, Jo Nesbo goes deeper into some “extracurricular” topic. This time he explores Special Forces, their mission in Afghanistan, what it takes to cross your personal boundaries and to kill a man and how it changes you forever. Nesbo describes a post-traumatic stress disorder that makes ex-soldiers always keep an eye out, never sleep and be frightened the whole time. This is the collateral damage that most of us usually don’t think of when imagining physically strong and brave troops.

The only spoiler alert I could openly announce is that Knife is definitely not the last in Harry Hole series. At least the ambiguous ending suggests a “to be continued” line. I hope I am right and am already looking forward to drowning in a new crime-toxic glass of Hole’s investigations.

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