In his second novella, Nesbø offers new insight into the world of drug dealers and the redemption they seek, sometimes in places they’d least expect. Jon Hansen has lived a troubled life, at least since he began peddling hash. After a number of unfortunate events, Jon ends up working for the Fisherman, Oslo’s drug kingpin. Taking on the role of debt collector and fixer, Jon makes a calculated error and is on the lam with a large sum of drugs and money, with henchmen after him. When Jon shows up in Kåsund, he is not sure what to expect. Located in the far northerly regions of Norway, the area is vast and open, as well as being populated by the Læstadian, a branch of the Lutheran Church, who take their Bible very seriously and cast aspersions on those who frolic in an ‘unChristian’ manner. Befriended by Knut and Lea Eliassen, Jon is able to hide in a family hunting cabin just outside of town while taking on the name Ulf. However, as Jon tries to plan his next move, the Fisherman sends someone from Oslo to bring a mortal message. Jon must hide himself and gather his wits in a place that he does not belong. As the reader leans more of Jon’s backstory, Nesbø also tells of Lea’s struggles as daughter of the town’s minister and how she has shielded Knut from the harsh truths that many others know. As Jon begins to discover himself and the connection he’s developing for those around him, his executioners return to finish the job. Has Jon done enough to save himself, if not the soul that may not be found within him? Nesbø quasi-continuation of the Blood on Snow series is equally captivating as the first novella, though offers fresh and entertaining aspects the reader can appreciate.
There are many authors who are able to concoct and publish a number of novels under their name; even some who can get their work translated for larger distribution. However, Jo Nesbø has acquired a skill that few can profess to have in their quiver, the Midas Touch for fiction writing. Nesbø pushes the limits in all he writes and puts blood and sweat out on the page as he creates characters, plots, and locales that allow fresh ideas to flourish, while staying true to himself. In this novella, Nesbø taps into the devout religiosity that some have and how faith can fit alongside logic in formulating a life plan. He gets a little soft at times, but this only goes to show just how versatile the man can be. I have said it many times before and will do so again, Jo Nesbø is an author whose writing becomes highly addictive, even though it was never penned in English from the start. Not to be dismissed because of its short length, Nesbø can pretty much do whatever he attempts, with great success.
Kudos Mr. Nesbø for a unique spin on a successful collection of ideas. I am hooked and hope you’ll keep writing for years to come.