Jo Nesbø, trans. by Don Bartlett, read by John Lee. Random House Audio, unabridged, 14 CDs, 16.5 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-0-8041-6388-0
For roughly a third of Nesbø’s new novel, Oslo police detective Harry Hole is missing—not surprising considering he was felled by a headshot at the end of 2012’s Phantom. In his stead, associates struggle to work around venal police chief Mikael Bellman while hunting for a vicious serial killer who’s slaughtering police officers. Narrator John Lee provides the book’s characters with pitch-perfect voices. He catches forensic expert Beate Lonn’s arch smugness and sense of superiority, and Bellman’s self-satisfied purr, rich in vanity when he is in control, obsequious in the presence of power. When Harry eventually appears, more or less recovered, he’s a different man: sober, contemplative, and retired from police work. Those changes are present in Lee’s vocal interpretation, and, as Harry is eventually drawn deep into the killer’s grim game, anxiety, ire, and even a touch of fear are added. Lee is able to adapt his voice to any situation. It hardens during the book’s descriptions of particularly grotesque and disturbing murder scenes, softens for romantic moments involving Harry and his true love, Rakel. Perhaps more important, his precise diction, pacing, and emphases do wonders in presenting this particularly complex crime novel that consists of at least four separate plots that unfold simultaneously, all complete with clues, twists, turns, red herrings, and plenty of misdirection. A Knopf hardcover. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/06/2014
Release date: 10/01/2013
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