|4 out of 5 stars|
Sonny Lofthus, in his early thirties, has been in prison for the last dozen years: serving time for crimes he didn't commit. In exchange, he gets an uninterrupted supply of heroin—and the unexpected stream of fellow prisoners seeking out his uncanny abilities to soothe and absolve. His addiction started when his father committed suicide rather than be exposed as a corrupt cop, and now Sonny is the center of a vortex of corruption: prison staff, police, lawyers, a desperate priest—all of them focused on keeping him stoned and jailed, and all of them under the thumb of Oslo's crime overlord, the Twin. When Sonny learns some long-hidden truths about his father he makes a brilliant escape, and begins hunting down the people responsible for the hideous crimes he's paid for. But he's also being hunted, by the Twin, the cops, and the only person who knows the ultimate truth that Sonny is seeking. The question is, what will he do when they've cornered him?
Gripping. That is the word that I would use to describe this offering by Jo Nesbø. It was a difficult book to put down—the urge to read “just one more chapter” was strong.
I think it is safe to say that if you enjoy Nesbø’s writing and/or other Nordic noir fiction, you will enjoy The Son. There is unrelenting action, plenty of interesting clues to keep your brain busy, a little romance—just to confuse you a bit--and lots & lots of bad guys, plus several characters who inhabit the gray zone of being good bad guys (or maybe bad good guys).
There is much more “witnessed” violence in this novel that I am used to in Nordic crime fiction, but it certainly is no worse than some American authors. I know that prisons are not peaceful places and that all countries have crime, but somehow I had never pictured Norway as a hotbed of this kind of violence & crime!
The Son is not going to be “great literature,” but it is a great reading experience. Perfect for a cold winter afternoon.