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Jo Nesbo @ All Saints

May 14, 2017

We first became attached to Harry Hole, Oslo detective, in The Snowman. Of course, that’s no. 7 in the Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole (“Hoo-leh”) series, so we’ve had to backtrack, as well as catchup. The newest release is The Thirst and Vroman’s presents Nesbo in conversation with Hollywood Reporter editor Andy Lewis at All Saints on May 23.

A main protagonist without close friends, socially inept or socially reluctant, who has periodic and usually failing relationships, and a difficult sibling, ex-spouse, and/or parent and child dynamic; these are the sort of characters one finds in many Scandinavian mysteries.

Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander, Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander, and Karin Possum’s Inspector Sejer. Often, too, the main characters are world-weary.

The extent of the depravity of the crimes committed—and the graphic depictions—in most of these books initially shock, as we naively think of Sweden and Norway as unmarred as freshly fallen snow. But it’s an inaccurate perception, a Scandinavian ideal of small city and rural life. The main characters witness the aftermath of gruesome, disturbing crimes by bent and twisted perpetrators—and with every new case experience an increasing, and stifling, sense of a dwindling and eroding humanity.

The juxtaposition of the stunningly beautiful natural world and the savagery of the crimes can be alarming; towns and communities defiled. The infection is insidious. The clash between the raging, vengeful, deviant criminal and the flawed, conflicted, struggling protagonist is gripping, and exhausting. Layers and subtext, nuance and shading: these books are engaging and addictive, and unsettling. Quaint whodunits, these are not.

Certain minds thrive on working out puzzles. Certain minds cannot allow a puzzle to remain incomplete, inconclusive. In The Thirst, Harry Hole—retired, committed to a family he’s finally embraced—cannot resist one more puzzle…

 

 

Jo Nesbo in Conversation
Tuesday, May 23, 7 p.m.
All Saints, 132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena 91101
Tickets: $35.23, includes admission and copy of The Thirst
Purchase tickets here
VromansBookstore.com

 

 

 




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