Headhunters, by Jo Nesbø 

Eight stars

Nesbø moves away from his police procedurals to offer this highly intriguing story that offers up excitement on par with any Harry Hole novel. Roger Brown has made a niche for himself as a corporate headhunter in Oslo’s business world. While his commissions pay him well, Brown finds himself living a luxurious lifestyle; one that requires a second and more lucrative paycheque. During interviews, Brown finds himself fishing for personal information about candidates, particularly surrounding their art collections. The reader soon learns that Brown is happy to use this knowledge to steal numerous pieces and replace them with forgeries. When Brown is introduced to Clas Greve at an art gallery, they hit it off and seem destined to work together. Greve has his eye on a Norwegian technology company and hopes Brown can work his magic and place Greve in the CEO’s chair. After learning that Greve possesses a rare piece of art, Brown proceeds with his plan. However, Greve may be more than Brown can handle and things soon spiral out of control, leaving Brown to scramble and try to make sense of this new reality. In a cat and mouse game that sees Brown and Greve dodging one another, the reader learns that this clash has less to do with art or headhunting, but a primal sense of survival. In this fast-paced novel that pushes the boundaries of the thriller genre, Nesbø captivates the reader as the story progresses and the truth about both men becomes clear. Certainly a step away from the dark world of police detectives, but a novel that Nesbø fans should not miss.

Having almost completed the entire Nesbø collection of novels (at least those gears to adults and translated into English), I can speak with some authority that there seems to be little the author cannot accomplish. This story is less ‘cops and robbers’ and more corporate espionage and personal headhunting. While it reminds me of another favourite author of mine, Nesbø is able to carve out his own niche and keep the story flowing effectively. There is no point at which I could say things lagged or the ideas seemed repetitive from the other work I have read. Nesbø knows his audience, but is also able to steer his writing in new and exciting directions. Roger Brown can be loved at some points and hated at others, never shying away from the cutthroat man that he appears to be in the opening chapters. Nesbø fans are in for a treat when they curl up to devour this piece of fiction.

Kudos Mr. Nesbø for another wonderful story. Formidable work, though that seems to be an understatement.