The Redeemer (Harry Hole Series #6)

The Redeemer (Harry Hole Series #6)

4.4 50
by Jo Nesbo

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A fantastically gripping thriller from the best-selling author of The Snowman.

Christmas shoppers stop to hear a Salvation Army concert on a crowded Oslo street. A gunshot cuts through the music and the bitter cold: one of the singers falls dead, shot in the head at point-blank range. Harry Hole—the Oslo Police Department’s best

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A fantastically gripping thriller from the best-selling author of The Snowman.

Christmas shoppers stop to hear a Salvation Army concert on a crowded Oslo street. A gunshot cuts through the music and the bitter cold: one of the singers falls dead, shot in the head at point-blank range. Harry Hole—the Oslo Police Department’s best investigator and worst civil servant—has little to work with: no suspect, no weapon, and no motive. But Harry’s troubles will multiply. As the search closes in, the killer becomes increasingly desperate, and Harry’s chase takes him to the most forbidden corners of the former Yugoslavia.

Yet it’s when he returns to Oslo that he encounters true darkness: among the homeless junkies and Salvationists, eagerly awaiting a savior to deliver them from misery—whether he brings new life or immediate death.

With its shrewdly vertiginous narrative, acid-etched characters, and white-hot pace, The Redeemer is resounding proof of Jo Nesbø’s standing as one of the best crime writers of our time.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Terror strikes during the Oslo Christmas season when a trained assassin takes down a Salvation Army musician with a single, point-blank range shot. For contrarian police investigator Harry Hole, however, the story has just begun: The professional hit-man has hit the wrong target and Hole will go anywhere, even Eastern Europe, to stop him from correcting his error. (P.S. Norwegian author Nesbro has been called the Scandinavian mystery writer to watch.)

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Harry Hole Series , #6
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
3 MB

Read an Excerpt

part one

august 1991
The Stars
She was fourteen years old and sure that if she shut her eyes tight and concentrated she could see the stars through the roof.
All around her, women were breathing. Regular, heavy, nighttime breathing. One was snoring, and that was Auntie Sara, who had been given a mattress beneath the open window.
She closed her eyes and tried to breathe like the others. It was difficult to sleep, especially because everything around her was so new and different. The sounds of the night and the forest beyond the window in Østgård were different. The people she knew from the meetings in the citadel and the summer camps were somehow not the same. She was not the same, either. The face and body she saw in the mirror this summer were new. And her emotions, these strange hot and cold currents that flowed through her when the boys looked at her. Or when one of them in particular looked at her. Robert. He was different this year, too.
She opened her eyes again and stared. She knew God had the power to do great things, even allow her to see the stars through the roof. If it was His wish.
It had been a long and eventful day. The dry summer wind had whispered through the corn, and the leaves on the trees danced as if in a fever, causing the light to filter through to the visitors on the field. They had been listening to one of the Salvation Army cadets from the -officer--training school talking about his work as a preacher on the Faeroe Islands. He was -good--looking and spoke with great sensitivity and passion. But she was preoccupied with shooing away a bumblebee that kept buzzing around her head, and by the time it moved off, the heat had made her drowsy. When the cadet finished, all faces were turned to the territorial commander, David Eckhoff, who had been observing them with his smiling, young eyes, which were actually over fifty years old. He saluted in the Salvation Army manner, with his right hand raised above his shoulder and pointing to the kingdom of heaven, amid a resounding shout of “Hallelujah!” Then he prayed for the cadets’ work with the poor and the pariahs to be blessed, and reminded them of the Gospel of Matthew, where it said that Jesus the Redeemer was among them, a stranger on the street, maybe a criminal, without food and without clothing. And that on Judgment Day the righteous, those who had helped the weakest, would have eternal life. It had all the makings of a long speech, but then someone whispered something and he said, with a smile, that Youth Hour was next on the program and today it was Rikard Nilsen’s turn.
She had heard Rikard make his voice deeper than it was to thank the commander. As usual, he had prepared what he was going to say in writing and memorized it. He stood up and recited how he was going to devote his life to the fight, to Jesus’s fight for the kingdom of God. His voice was nervous, yet monotonous and soporific. His introverted glower rested on her. Her eyes were heavy. His sweaty top lip was moving to form the familiar, secure, tedious phrases. So she -didn’t react when the hand touched her back. Not until it became fingertips and they wandered down to the small of her back, and lower, and made her freeze beneath her thin summer dress.
She turned and looked into Robert’s smiling brown eyes. And she wished her skin were as dark as his so that he would not be able to see her blush.
“Shh,” Jon had said.
Robert and Jon were brothers. Although Jon was one year older, many people had taken them for twins when they were younger. But Robert was seventeen now and while they had retained some facial similarities, the differences were clearer. Robert was happy and carefree, liked to tease and was good at playing the guitar, but was not always punctual for services in the citadel, and sometimes the teasing had a tendency to go too far, especially if he noticed others were laughing. Then Jon would often step in. Jon was an honest, conscientious boy who most thought would go to -officer--training school and -would—-though this was never formulated out -loud—-find himself a girl in the Army. The latter could not be taken for granted in Robert’s case. Jon was three-quarters of an inch taller than Robert, but in some strange way Robert seemed taller. From the age of twelve Jon had begun to stoop, as though he were carrying the woes of the world on his back. Both were -dark--skinned, -good--looking, with regular features, but Robert had something Jon did not have. There was something in his eyes, something black and playful, which she wanted and yet did not want to investigate further.
While Rikard was talking, her eyes were wandering across the sea of assembled familiar faces. One day she would marry a boy from the Salvation Army and perhaps they would both be posted to another town or another part of the country. But they would always return to Østgård, which the Army had just bought and was to be their summer site from now on.
On the margins of the crowd, sitting on the steps leading to the house, was a boy with blond hair stroking a cat that had settled in his lap. She could tell that he had been watching her, but he had looked away just as she noticed. He was the one person here she -didn’t know, but she did know that his name was Mads Gilstrup, that he was the grandchild of the people who had owned Østgård before, that he was a couple of years older than her and that the Gilstrup family was wealthy. He was attractive, in fact, but there was something solitary about him. And what was he doing here, anyway? He had been there the previous night, walking around with an angry frown on his face, not talking to anyone. She had felt his eyes on her a few times. Everyone looked at her this year. That was new, too.
She was jerked out of these thoughts by Robert taking her hand, putting something in it and saying: “Come to the barn when the -general--in--waiting has finished. I’ve got something to show you.”
Then he stood up and walked off, and she looked down into her hand and almost screamed. With one hand over her mouth, she dropped the object into the grass. It was a bumblebee. It could still move, despite not having legs or wings.
At last Rikard finished, and she sat watching her parents and Robert and Jon’s parents moving -toward the tables where the coffee was. They were both what Army people in their respective Oslo congregations called “strong families,” and she knew watchful eyes were on her.
She walked -toward the outhouse. Once she was around the corner, where no one could see her, she scurried in the direction of the barn.
“Do you know what this is?” said Robert with the smile in his eyes and the deep voice he had not had the summer before.
He was lying on his back in the hay whittling a tree root with the penknife he always carried in his belt.
Then he held it up and she saw what it was. She had seen drawings. She hoped it was too dark for him to see her blush again.
“No,” she lied, sitting beside him in the hay.
And he gave her that teasing look of his, as if he knew something about her she -didn’t even know herself. She returned his gaze and fell back on her elbows.
“This is where it goes,” he said, and in an instant his hand was up her dress. She could feel the hard tree root against the inside of her thigh and, before she could close her legs, it was touching her underpants. His breath was hot on her neck.
“No, Robert,” she whispered.
“But I made it for you,” he wheezed in return.
“Stop. I don’t want to.”
“Are you saying no? To me?”
She caught her breath and was unable either to answer or to scream because at that moment they heard Jon’s voice from the barn door: “Robert! No, Robert!”
She felt him relax and let go, and the tree root was left between her clenched thighs as he withdrew his hand.
“Come here!” Jon said, as though talking to a disobedient dog.
With a chuckle Robert got up, winked at her and ran out into the sun to his brother.
She sat up and brushed the hay off her, feeling both relieved and ashamed at the same time. Relieved because Jon had spoiled their crazy game. Ashamed because he seemed to think it was more than that: a game.
Later, during grace before their evening meal, she had looked up straight into Robert’s brown eyes and seen his lips form one word. She -didn’t know what it was, but she had started to giggle. He was crazy! And she was . . . well, what was she? Crazy, too. Crazy. And in love? Yes, in love, precisely that. And not in the way she had been when she was twelve or thirteen. Now she was fourteen and this was bigger. More important. And more exciting.
She could feel the laughter bubbling up inside her now, as she lay there trying to stare through the roof.
Auntie Sara grunted and stopped snoring beneath the window. Something screeched. An owl?
She needed to pee.
She didn’t feel like going out, but she had to. Had to walk through the dewy grass past the barn, which was dark and quite a different proposition in the middle of the night. She closed her eyes, but it didn’t help. She crept out of her sleeping bag, slipped on some sandals and tiptoed over to the door.
A few stars had appeared in the sky, but they would disappear when day broke in the east in an -hour’s time. The cool air caressed her skin as she scampered along, listening to the unidentifiable sounds of the night. Insects that stayed quiet during the day. Animals hunting. Rikard said he had seen foxes in the distant copse. Or perhaps the animals were the same ones that were out during the day, but just made different sounds. They changed. Shed their skins, so to speak.
The outhouse stood alone on a small mound behind the barn. She watched it grow in size as she came closer. The strange, crooked hut had been made with untreated wooden boards that had warped, split and turned gray. No windows, a heart on the door. The worst thing about it was that you never knew if anyone was already in there.
And she had an instinct that someone was already in there.
She coughed so that whoever was there might signal his presence. A magpie took off from a branch on the edge of the wood. Otherwise all was still.
She stepped up onto the flagstone. Grabbed the lump of wood that passed for a door handle. Pulled it. The black room gaped open.
She breathed out. There was a flashlight beside the toilet seat, but she -didn’t need to switch it on. She raised the seat lid before closing the door and fastening the door hook. Then she pulled up her nightgown, pulled down her underwear and sat down. In the ensuing silence she thought she heard something. Something that was neither animal nor magpie nor insects shedding skin. Something that moved fast through the tall grass behind the toilet. Then the trickle started and the noise was obscured. But her heart had already started pounding.
When she had finished, she quickly pulled up her underpants and sat in the dark listening. But all she could hear was a faint ripple in the tops of the trees and her blood throbbing in her ears. She waited for her pulse to slow down, then she unhooked the catch and opened the door. The dark figure filled almost the entire doorway. He must have been standing and waiting silently outside on the stone step. The next minute she was splayed over the toilet seat and he stood above her. He closed the door behind him.
“You?” she said.
“Me,” he said in an alien, tremulous, husky voice.
Then he was on top of her. His eyes glittered in the dark as he bit her lower lip until he drew blood and one hand found the way under her nightgown and tore off her underwear. She lay there crippled with fear beneath the knife blade that stung the skin on her neck while he kept thrusting his groin into her before he had even got his trousers off, like some crazed, copulating dog.
“One word from you and I’ll cut you into pieces,” he whispered. And not one word issued from her mouth. Because she was fourteen years old and sure that if she shut her eyes tightly and concentrated she would be able to see the stars through the roof. God had the power to do things like that. If it was His wish.

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The Redeemer 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This tightly plotted mystery is brilliant...the twists and turns kept me on my toes, first trying to figure out the whodunnit, then the whydunnit. Then some new aspect would come to light, and I'd have to start all over again...and again, and again. A real challenge to keep up with the story - in the best possible way! More like this, please!!!
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
The taut writing is supplemented with a broad cast of characters. But more important are the insights into Harry’s psyche. He is still suffering from the death of his partner and the corruption of some of his colleagues who ran an arms supply business right out of police headquarters (an enterprise to which Harry put an end, somewhat to the disdain of some other police officers). “The Redeemer” is a complex mystery which slowly builds to the point where the reader needs Harry’s help in understanding just what has transpired. Along the way, it is filled with deep observations about junkies, rape, and even Serbian brutality, homelessness and other social issues. It probably is the best in the series to date, and is highly recommended.
vacg More than 1 year ago
Jo Nesbo once again demonstrates that he deserves all the literary awards he has won as a Scandinavian crime novelist. The Redeemer is carefully crafted to lay out a series of crimes over a period of decades that shape the characters who move the plot to its dramatic conclusion in the present day. Don Bartlett's translation preserves the tension and nuance that Nesbo is so adept at creating. Perhaps the religious overtones of the title have to do with a significant protagonist in the book, that being the religious organization of the Salvation Army as it operates in Norway. The denomination has a culture that shapes the individual soldiers that make up the Army. But the redemption theme can be found in multiple layers and multiple characters in the book. The central character in this series by Nesbo is detective Harry Hole, who is struggling daily with an addiction to alcohol. The population that the Salvation Army is primarily dealing with in Oslo are drug addicts but the Army also is providing aid in the form of housing to refugees from Croatia, a people much in need of mercy as well as redemption. But the term Redeemer is also applied to a contract killer whose reputation dates back to his childhood. As a youngster he had volunteered to plant bombs on Serbian tanks for the rebels in his war torn country when he saw that the adults were failing at this critically important task. He was given the nickname of Little Redeemer when his efforts turned the war efforts in favor of his side, at least temporarily. And the need for redemption also plays out in the Norwegian law enforcement world, as the effects of corruption have had a devastating effect on their leadership team. This fast paced story is set in Oslo during the Christmas season, so the weather plays a major role as well The story involves love, hate, sex, familial dysfunction and a serial killer to boot. Lots to think about as one's ideas about who the villains really are continually shift. What's not to like??
T_Klein More than 1 year ago
I love Harry Hole!!! I spent this summer reading Jo Nesbo. His books just keep getting better and better. Redbreast was good, Nemesis better, Devils Star, Snowman and Redeemer were great!! You fall in love with the characters in his books and the stories have many turns and twists. He also puts things in the books that might not come up until the next book. You really have to pay attention. He is a great writer. Read the books in order!!
Cynder More than 1 year ago
For those of you that just started reading the Harry Hole novels starting with the snow man you must read this book that gives a background to the people in Harry's life. The series is terrific and keeps you guessing and in suspense. I only wish that the first two books of the series were available in English in the states!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommended, One of his best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can always count on Jo Nesbo - excellent read
bengunn More than 1 year ago
Anything Jo Nesbo writes I get right away.....he is a very, very good writer with plots that mezmerize me......all hail Harry Hole.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast reading, challenging characters, does not disappoint. A great action book. Can hardly wait for the next Harry Hole book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful tale. The Norwegian way of doing things was very interesting to read about. So much angst in Harry Hole, makes me certain I will read more of Nesbo's works.
GreenEyedReader More than 1 year ago
INTERESTING I picked this up because I LOVED 'The Snowman', BUT.... I thought this one was somewhat confusing. There are many characters. It takes a while to get into the story. The main plot, the murder, is accompanied by many subplots that include the rape of a girl that happened years ago along with a current rape situation, conflict within the Salvation Army(which has it's headquarters in Norway), the Serb-Croatian conflict, a company trying to regain financial resources, infidelity and of course Harry's(the main character) personal conflicts to name a few. The story does have many convolutions and keeps you involved. This is the fourth(?) in a series. I imagine it may be better if readers start with the first and evolve with it(the series) unlike me who started with the fifth, but each can stand alone. Am unsure if I will go back and start at the beginning .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kept falling asleep while reading it. Just over half way through it got interesting so I had to keep reading.....
Gigiuno More than 1 year ago
I've read almost all of the Harry Hole series, and this one will not disappoint you. Every book weaves in different global locales outside of Norway, different cultures and how that affects what is happening in Oslo (or at least in its criminal element). This one has interesting characters who come from a forgotten war zone in Bosnia and gives us a window into what happens to people many years after war and how that can travel far outside their own countries and communities. This was as good a detective story as most of his others, but it really made me consider the cost of war in a much different way. I like a thought-provoking book, and this one did that for me.
Radavis59 More than 1 year ago
An excellent, fast moving read!
Andrew_of_Dunedin More than 1 year ago
A uniformed member of the Salvation Army is shot dead – assassinated – during a concert on the streets of Oslo. Who did it? And why? Congratulations to Mr. Jo Nesbo, for crafting a murder mystery that kept me guessing up to the point when he chose to reveal details to the reader. And an attaboy is due for developing a set of characters who caught and kept my interest throughout the novel. Nesbo illustrated how each possessed abilities, honed through experience, to either detect truth or evade capture. However, not forgetting that Achilles could be harmed through his heel and Superman via Kryptonite, Nesbo reveals that his “good guys” had their flaws and the “bad guys” possessed some positive traits – although, in one case, those were a front for even worse behaviors. Normally, I try to read (or in this case, listen to audio book) of a series in sequential order. In this case, I was introduced to Harry Hole in the middle of the ongoing series. It may be my first visit, but it will definitely NOT be my last – I’ve already picked up 4 more books in this series. RATING: I enjoyed this book, found few if any flaws, and it stuck with me – that’s how I define 5 stars.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. Kept me guessing to the end and I didn't see the end coming. Jo Nesbo is a great writer and I sugguest reading all his books
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Tcasscros More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have read by Jo Nesbo. It holds together more coherently and doesn't get side-lined. It is a solid thriller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story unfolds and twists in ways difficult to foretell. Only caveat is to keep reading. If you take too long in between, it’s difficult to remember all the characters. I also like novels that end in a dramatic, tragic way, but are still satisfying.
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