Author: Jo Nesbø
Why did I read it? Because of my (mostly audio) reading habits of late, all of Jo Nesbø’s books have appeared on recommendations for me at bookseller, library and reading sites. It was inevitable that I would read, or listen to one of his books.
What’s it about? Roger Brown is a corporate headhunter, describing himself as King of the Heap, with a beautiful wife, a height complex and a life others might envy from the outside. To fund his lifestyle, and to appease his wife, after denying her the child she so desperately wanted, he steals art on the side; his job as a headhunter and her art gallery providing the opportunity to learn of said artworks. All is going well, or so it seems, until Roger meets Clas Greve, the perfect candidate for the position of CEO of Pathfinder, a firm developing GPS systems. Roger thinks Clas is a perfect fit, and, of course, it helps that Clas has revealed he has an expensive artwork in his possession, one which could set Roger and his wife, Diana, up for life.
What didn’t I like? I don’t usually start with this section, but in this case I think it’s the best place to start.
If I am honest, I was happy to see Roger head down the toilet (literally and figuratively). As the main character, I totally loathed him, for his selfishness, his ill treatment of others, his general outlook and behaviour. He was irredeemable in my opinion. I found myself on the side of Clas Greve as he chased down Roger, even as I disliked him just as much as Roger. Diana, Roger’s wife, is only viewed through his eyes and seems very flat as a character, but then I imagine she is a trophy bride. Actually, most of the characters were one-dimensional.
I learned about foreshadowing a long time ago, and this story is laden with it, the result being that nothing really comes as a suprise, not even the resolutions in the epilogue. Twists and turns abound though not unexpectedly, and the story does get a bit outlandish, almost cartoonish. If the story was meant to be darkly humorous, it didn’t do it for me, not until things got really sticky for Roger and I could relish in his discomfort.
The audio edition had volume jumps which annoyed me. One minute quiet, so I turned up the volume, only to have it get so loud I was scrambling to turn the volume down – again. And, so it continued, up, down, up, down. It also had editing issues with the track seeming to speed up at times, not so much it distorted the content, but changing the pace of the speech and, in turn, the pace of the story. This is a disaster when attempting to build tension as a thriller.
What did I like? The fact that the end may not be the end, there is a hint that I might get my wish for Roger, which I can’t write about here without giving away too much. Not that any future reader will miss much.
The narrator, Steve West, did a good job of voicing the story.
Would I recommend it? Short answer, no. That said, I will read Jo Nesbø‘s series of Harry Hole books, as they still come recommended from reviewers I trust.