Monday 30 January 2012

The Devil's Star by Jo Nesbø

Jo Nesbø is widely promoted as the next Stieg Larsson which is very unfair, it turns out, because he's been writing from long before the famous trilogy of Stieg Larsson was published.  However there are some similarities - a gripping thriller, Scandinavia (Stieg Larsson was from Sweden while Jo Nesbo is Norwegian).

Things you should know:  the surname of the hero, Harry Hole, is pronounced Hooleh, the "oo" rhymes with "pool"; Jo Nesbø is a man his name sounds a little like Nesber (ø is very similar to ö in German); and that "The Devil's Star" is part of a series.  These things always hold me up when I don't know.

The central character, Harry Hole, is an alcoholic detective.  Where have I heard that before?  However I found him more engaging than many others.  He is at the point of being in grave danger of losing his job but, in the midst of the summer when everyone is on holiday, he is the only hope when a series of murders take place.  The plot is detailed and intricate, and carries you along at a great pace.  I could hardly put the book down.

All the action takes place in and around Oslo which is a first for me and has made me want to visit the city.

The Devil's Star from Amazon USA

The Devil's Star from Amazon UK

Friday 6 January 2012

The Collaborator by Gerald Seymour

The Collaborator is the brutal but compelling story of the daughter of a Mafia-like family who becomes a collaborator with the police.  The story revolves around Immacolata, the daughter of a criminal family who realises that her family has been responsible for the death of a friend.  She has been living in London where she meets Eddie who ends up being an innocent victim in the efforts of the family to prevent Immacolata giving evidence against them.  Be warned though, it really is grim and brutal in places, realistic though that may be.

The book describes the very different worlds of London and Naples very well.  I thought Naples particularly vivid but that may only be because that's new to me and not the fairly familiar world of London.  But more than that, it provides a great insight into Naples, its history and the local Mafia.  And it's one I won't forget in a hurry - unlike many thrillers.

The Collaborator is available from and from Amazon UK