THE SON by Jo Nesbø
Kirkus Star

THE SON

by , translated by

KIRKUS REVIEW

A deftly plotted novel that probes the deepest mysteries: sin, redemption, love, evil, the human condition.

After he seemingly brought Harry Hole back from the dead in his last novel  (Police, 2013), Norway’s Nesbø gives his popular protagonist a breather, shelving the detective in favor of a stand-alone novel that plunges deeply into the religious allegory that has frequently framed his work (The Redeemer, 2013). In fact, the symbolism might initially seem laid on pretty thick for readers looking to solve a satisfying whodunit. Sonny Lofthus, the son of the title, is introduced as a prisoner with “healing hands,” one who was “prepared to take your sins upon himself and didn’t want anything in return.” Like Christ, he suffers for the sins of others and offers redemption. He is also a hopeless junkie. His back story suggests that Sonny was a boy of considerable promise, a champion wrestler and model student, proud son of a police officer. Then, when he was 18, he was devastated by the suicide of his father, who left a note confessing his corruption as the mole within the department, and the subsequent death of his heartbroken mother. After Sonny turned to drugs, he found himself in a web of evil; if he would confess to murders he hadn’t committed, the corrupt prison system would keep him supplied with heroin. Then a fellow prisoner comes to him for confession and reveals a secret that turns Sonny’s world upside down, inspiring him to kick his habit, plot an ingenious escape and turn himself into an “avenging angel,” delivering lethal retribution. The inspector obsessed with the case had a complicated relationship with Sonny’s father, and it remains uncertain until the climax (in a church, naturally) whether he wants to be Sonny’s captor or his collaborator. It’s a novel in which one character muses on “how innocence walks hand-in-hand with ignorance. How insight never clarifies, only complicates.”

One of Nesbø’s best, deepest and richest novels, even without Harry Hole. 

Pub Date: May 13th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-385-35137-9
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2014




BEST MYSTERIES & THRILLERS OF 2014:

FictionWHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT by David Shafer
by David Shafer
MysteryTHE BONES BENEATH by Mark Billingham
by Mark Billingham
FictionNIGHT HERON by Adam Brookes
by Adam Brookes
MysteryTHE SILKWORM by Robert Galbraith
by Robert Galbraith
MysteryTHE SECRET PLACE by Tana French
by Tana French

OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for THE WICKED WILL RISE
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for BETWEEN YOU & ME
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for SO YOU'VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for I WISH YOU MORE
VERDICT:
SKIP IT

MORE BY JO NESBØ

FictionBLOOD ON SNOW by Jo Nesbø
by Jo Nesbø
MysteryCOCKROACHES by Jo Nesbø
by Jo Nesbø
FictionPOLICE by Jo Nesbø
by Jo Nesbø

MORE BY CHARLOTTE BARSLUND

FictionTHE ARC OF THE SWALLOW by Sissel-Jo Gazan
by Sissel-Jo Gazan
MysteryTHE DINOSAUR FEATHER by S.J. Gazan
by S.J. Gazan
FictionWE, THE DROWNED by Carsten Jensen
by Carsten Jensen
FictionBROKEN by Karin Fossum
by Karin Fossum
FictionBLACK SECONDS by Karin Fossum
by Karin Fossum

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionMYSTIC RIVER by Dennis Lehane
by Dennis Lehane
FictionA TREACHEROUS PARADISE by Henning Mankell
by Henning Mankell
FictionTWO SOLDIERS by Anders Roslund
by Anders Roslund
MysteryTHE HUNTING DOGS by Jorn Lier Horst
by Jorn Lier Horst