JO NESBØ

Norwegian author, musician and economist, known worldwide for his bestselling crime fiction novels featuring detective Harry Hole.

Biography

Jo Nesbø was born in 1960 in Oslo but grew up in Molde, in a family of readers and storytellers. His first passion was football, but a knee injury put an end to his dreams of playing professionally. After graduating from the Norwegian School of Economics, he moved to Oslo and started working as a stockbroker. Finance bored him, so he started playing the guitar and writing songs in a rock band, before he one day went to Australia and started writing about a guy named Harry…
His Harry Hole novels are complex constructions where suspenseful and fast-paced crime plots reflect our globalized modern world. Oslo forms the background for Nesbo’s stories, but the nature of contemporary crime takes Harry to many remote corners of the world. The crime novels of Jo Nesbo often discuss profound ethical questions and thus become challenging investigations into questions of betrayal, faith and revenge, while at the same time providing first-rate entertainment for the crime fiction lover.
Read more on the author´s official homepage.

Books

The Harry Hole series:

The Bat (Harry Hole #1)
2012
Translated by Don Bartlett
Original title: Flaggermusmannen (1997)
Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Crime Squad is dispatched to Sydney to observe a murder case. A young Norwegian girl taking a gap year in Australia has been murdered and Harry is free to offer assistance, but he has firm instructions to stay out of trouble. But when the team exposes  a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth. The hunt for a serial killer is on and Harry begins to fear that no one is safe, least of all those investigating the case.


Cockroaches (Harry Hole #2)
2013
Translated by Don Bartlett
Original title:  Kakerlakkene (1998)
When the Norwegian ambassador is found dead in a Bangkok brothel, Inspector Harry Hole is sent to Thailand to investigate. He needs to solve a crime and avoid a scandal, but Harry soon discovers that this case is about much more than one random murder. There is something else, something more pervasive, scrabbling around behind the scenes. It’s clear that the Ambassador’s family are hiding some secrets of their own, but few people are willing to talk. And in an unfamiliar city, who can you trust?


The Redbreast (Harry Hole #3)
2006
Translated by Don Bartlett
Original title: Rødstrupe (2000)
A fabulous introduction to Nesbø’s tough-as-nails series protagonist, Oslo police detective Harry Hole – winner of The Glass Key for best Nordic crime novel and selected as the best Norwegian crime novel ever written by members of Norway’s book clubs. A chilling tale of murder and betrayal that ranges from the battlefields of World War Two to the streets of modern-day Oslo. A former WW2 Nazi sympathizer is found with his throat cut and Harry knows he shouldn’t get involved, but next, someone close to him is murdered. The link between the cases remains a mystery, but one thing is certain: the killer must be stopped.


Nemesis (Harry Hole #4)
2008
Translated by Don Bartlett
Original title: Sorgenfri  (2002)
A man is caught on CCTV, shooting a cashier at a bank. Detective Harry Hole begins his investigation, but after dinner with an old girlfriend he wakes up with no memory of the past 12 hours. When the girl is found dead in mysterious circumstances Harry begins to receive threatening emails and realizes that someone is trying to frame him for her death?  But how do you catch a killer when you’re the number one suspect? 


The Devil´s Star (Harry Hole #5)
2005
Translated by Don Bartlett
Original title: Marekors (2003)
In the heat of a sweltering Oslo summer, a young woman is found murdered in her flat—with one of her fingers cut off and a tiny red star-shaped diamond placed under her eyelid. Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case, alongside his hated colleague Tom Waaler, whom Harry believes is responsible for the murder of his partner. When another woman is reported missing five days later, and her severed finger turns up adorned with a red star-shaped diamond ring, Harry realizes that a diabolical serial killer is terrorizing Oslo. Is this an evil that only Harry Hole can stop?


The Redeemer (Harry Hole #6)
2009
Translated by Don Bartlett
Original title: Frelseren (2005)
On a cold December night Christmas shoppers have gathered to listen to a Salvation Army carol concert. Suddenly a shot is heard and one of the singers falls to the floor, dead. Detective Harry Hole and his team are called in to investigate, but there is no immediate suspect, no weapon and no motive. Eventually the trail will lead Harry Hole deep into the darkest corners of the city and, eventually, to Croatia. An assassin forged in the war-torn region has been brought to Oslo to settle an old debt and the clock is ticking before he kills again.


The Snowman (Harry Hole #7)
2010
Translated by Don Bartlett
Original title: Snømannen (2007)
One night, after the first snowfall of the year, a young boy wakes up and discovers that his mother has disappeared. Outside, he sees her favourite scarf – wrapped around the neck of a snowman.
Inspector Harry Hole suspects a link between the missing woman and a suspicious letter he’s received – and eventually a pattern emerges: over the past decade, eleven women have vanished—all on the day of the first snow. Harry’s worst suspicion is confirmed: a serial killer is operating on his home turf.


The Leopard (Harry Hole #8)
2011
Translated by Don Bartlett
Original title: Panserhjerte (2009)
In the depths of winter a killer stalks the city streets of Oslo. Two women are found drowned in their own blood. A third woman is hanged from a diving board. The crime scenes offer no clues and the police are running out of options. And Inspector Harry Hole has retreated to Hong Kong, escaping the trauma of his last case in squalid opium dens. When he finally returns to Oslo his  instincts take over, and nothing can keep him from the investigation, though he soon understands that he is dealing with a psychopath who will put him to the test, both professionally and personally, as never before.


Phantom (Harry Hole #9)
2012
Translated by Don Bartlett
Original title: Gjenferd (2012)
After the horrors of a case that nearly cost him his life, Harry Hole moved to Hongkong, escaping the traumas of his life in Oslo and leaving his career as a detective far behind him. But now, the unthinkable has happened—Oleg, the boy he helped raise, has been arrested for killing a man. Harry can’t believe that Oleg is a murderer, so he returns to hunt down the real killer. But he is not allowed to reopen the investigation and At every turn, he faces a wall of silence. Besides, Harry is not the only one interested in the case. From the moment he steps off the plane, someone is watching his every move. 


Police (Harry Hole #10)
2013
Translated by Don Bartlett
Original title: Politi (2013)
A killer is stalking Oslo’s streets. Police officers are being slain at the scenes of crimes they once investigated, but failed to solve. For years, detective Harry Hole has been at the centre of every major criminal investigation in Oslo, where his dedication to his job and his brilliant insights have saved the lives of countless people. But as the killer grows increasingly bold and the media reaction increasingly hysterical, the detective is nowhere to be found. This time, when those he loves and values most are facing terrible danger, Harry is in no position to protect anyone—least of all himself.


The Thirst (Harry Hole #11)
2017
Translated by Neil Smith
Original title: Tørst (2017)
A woman is found murdered after a Tinder date and the marks left on her body show the police that they are dealing with a particularly vicious killer. Two days later, there’s a second murder: a woman of the same age and another Tinder user. The chief of police knows there’s only one man for this case, but Harry Hole is no longer with the force. He promised the woman he loves, and he promised himself, that he’d never go back: not after his last case, which put the people closest to him in grave danger. But there’s something about these murders that catches his attention,  and despite his promises, despite everything he risks, Harry throws himself back into the hunt for a figure who haunts him, the monster who got away.


Knife (Harry Hole #12)
2019
Translated by Neil Smith
Original title: Kniv (2019)
This book picks up where The Thirst left off and Harry Hole is definitely not in a good place. Rakel, the love of his life, has ended it with him, permanently. His relationship with his colleagues is worse than ever – and he has gone back to drinking. One morning, he wakes up after a blackout, drunken night covered in blood, blood that’s clearly not his own. And it’s only the very beginning of what will be a waking nightmare the likes of which even he could never have imagined. Someone’s out for him, and soon it appears that once again Harry is hunting the murderer who has haunted his entire career …

Standalones:

Headhunters
2011

Translated by Don Bartlett
Original title: Hodejegerne (2008)
Roger Brown is a corporate headhunter, successful and wealthy, but he also keeps up a sideline as an art thief to support his luxurious lifestyle. When his wife introduces him to Clas Greve, he not only seems to be the perfect candidate for a major CEO job, but also, perhaps, the answer to Roger´s financial woes, as he owns a priceless Rubens painting. But soon Roger finds out that there’s more to Greve than meets the eye, and it’s not long before the hunter becomes the hunted…


The Son
2014

Translated by Charlotte Barslund
Original title: Sønnen (2014)
Sonny has been in prison nearly half his life, but he is a model prisoner. He listens to the confessions of other inmates, and absolves them of their sins. They don’t know or care that Sonny has a serious heroin habit—or that he’s serving time for other peoples’ crimes.  But when Sonny learns a stunning, long-hidden secret concerning his father, he makes a brilliantly executed escape from prison—and from the person he’d let himself become—and begins hunting down those responsible for the crimes against him . . .


Blood on Snow
2015

Translated by Neil Smith
Original title: Blod på snø (2015)
A slim, dark and almost lyrical story about  Olav, who is an extremely talented “fixer” for one of the most powerful crime bosses in 1970s Oslo.  An anti hero living a lonely and violent life, but with a kind heart and a capacity for love. But when he finally meets the woman of his dreams, she is married to his boss and it turns out that the more you know about your boss’s business, the more your boss might want you fixed yourself—especially if you’re falling for his wife…


Midnight Sun (Blood on snow 2)
2016
Translated by Neil Smith
Original title: Mere blod (2016)
Another concise, dark and lyrical story about a drug-dealer and hitman. Jon is on the run from his former Oslo crime boss, the “Fisherman”, but also from a personal  tragedy. Fleeing to an isolated part of Norway, so far north that the sun never sets, he fights loneliness and nightmares. But in the wilderness not far from Alta, he also meets Lea, a bereaved mother and her young son, Knut. He starts thinking there might be something else in life, but the Fisherman’s men are on their way and getting closer…


Macbeth
2018

Translated by Don Bartlett
Original title: Macbeth (2018)
In 2014 it was announced that Nesbø would contribute a re-telling of the story of Macbeth as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare project, described as a “crime noir” version of the tragedy. His Macbeth is set in 1970 in an unspecified location that combines aspects of Scandinavia and Scotland, and involves an Inspector Macbeth of a paramilitary SWAT team targeting bikers, drug dealers, and his police colleagues.


The Kingdom
2020
Translated by Robert Ferguson
Original title: Kongeriket (2020)
In the mountains of Norway Roy lives a peaceful existence as a mechanic. However one day his younger brother Carl, always the more successful and charming of the two, turns up after many years. He is accompanied by his architect wife and they have big plans. Carl wants not only to make the brothers rich but the rest of the village, too.
But it is only a matter of time before what begins as a jubilant homecoming sparks off a series of events that threaten to derail everything.  Long-buried family secrets begin to rise to the surface…