Archive for February 9th, 2021

The Kingdom

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

By Jo Nesbö

The Short Take:

Nesbö writes great mysteries featuring his Harry Hole character. This is a stand-alone that is as noir as they come, unpredictable, and mesmerizing. Be aware that it is very dark, but then that’s what we expect from Norwegian mystery writers.

Why?

While The Kingdom isn’t quite as violent as the typical Hole mystery its pervasive aura of alienation adds darkness to every plot device. The normally positive themes of family love and loyalty become perverted and deadly, creating bonds built on guilt and lies.

The action takes place in a small and isolated community, where everyone thinks they know everything about each other but are often wrong. The town’s atmosphere of hopelessness has a valid basis–a planned new highway will pass it by, removing the meager income provided by summer tourists.

But the return of a long-absent resident brings hope. Carl, brother to the book’s narrator, Roy, has big plans and wants the whole community to be part of them. But there are dark undercurrents of feelings and even darker secrets that could derail everything.

Nesbö’s writing is a delight, revealing one surprise after another–but seldom what you expect to happen. Older brother Roy is a taciturn loner with his astute insights that too often lead to violence. Carl charms with ease but has no problem with deception.

It’s a rich brew of conflicts old and new, with explosive revelations and that’s what keeps this reader happy.

A Little Plot:

After a 15 year absence, Carl comes home with a new wife and plans to build a luxury hotel to make them rich and save the town. His brother has misgivings but stands by his brother. In fact, protecting his brother has shaped his entire life.

For more about Jo Nesbö click here.

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