Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbø
Knopf Doubleday: 2/16/16
eBook review copy; 288 pages
ISBN-13: 9780385354202

Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbø is a very highly recommended novel about a man on the run in this second book in the new series that started with Blood on Snow.

Jon Hansen is on the run from the Fisherman, a powerful crime boss in Oslo. When Jon takes a bus and gets off at Kåsund, located on Norway’s far northeastern border in the Arctic Circle, he tells everyone his name is Ulf and he's there for hunting. After spending the first night in the village church, he learns about a hunter's cottage from Lea, the woman who came to clean the church. She loans him her husband's rifle and with the help of her son Knut, a talkative nine-year-old, he finds it and sets up camp.

The locals clearly know he's on the run from someone and is not there for the hunting. The area is isolated and dominated by the Laestadians, a strict Christian sect that Lea and Knut follow, and the Sami culture.

After falling into working for The Fisherman as a fixer, Jon's true nature is revealed when he fails to kill the man he was told to fix and accepts from him the money the man owed the Fisherman. Jon is an anti-hero. He needs money to help pay for the cancer treatment for his daughter. He's a small-time drug dealer who has never killed anyone, although the Fisherman believes he has.  Now he has Johnny Moe, a ruthless fixer for the Fisherman who has no compunctions about killing anyone, after him.

Jon finds himself becoming increasingly concerned about what might happen to the people who are helping him and befriending him in this new, environment - the land of the midnight sun. He wants redemption, but isn't sure if it is at all possible for him to atone for his actions. He knows that with the Fisherman there is no way to disassociate himself and withdraw from any involvement except through his death.

Nesbø excels at character development and this continues to provide the dark Scandinavian noir that you would expect from him. Although it is still grim, this novel is less dark and violent than previous novels. The novel is set in the 1970's, which simplifies the plot when you subtract our hyper-connected society with computers and cell phones. Nesbø keeps the tension high with this short (for him) novel. As you are reading you will keep expecting something bad to happen on the next page, because, naturally, you know something will happen.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of
Knopf Doubleday for review purposes.

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