‘The Devil’s Star’

Right, as you can probably tell…I haven’t read these in order AT ALL! But the next Jo Nesbo I read was The Devil’s Star (a.k.a. Harry Hole #5) and I don’t even mind if I sound like I’m obsessed with Nesbo because it’s better to be obsessed with a great crime fiction writer than something strange like…erm…trains?

Anywho, apologies to anyone who may be obsessed with trains…I’m pretty obsessed with fizzy sweets (a certain supermarket’s ‘Fizzy Fangs’ in particular…damn the ‘3 for £1’!!!)…

This book was interesting because most of the other Harry Hole books always feel like they’re set in cold places…well, especially The Snowman…*shudder* and The Devil’s Star begins during a sweltering summer in Oslo. Harry is assigned to the case of a woman who was found murdered in her own flat, one finger has been cut off and a tiny star-shaped red diamond has been placed behind her eyelid…well it wouldn’t be a Nesbo book without a bit of gore!

What is good about this book is that it focused quite a lot on Harry’s intuition. He is partnered with a man called Tom Waaler whom Harry suspects, murdered his partner in addition to running an arms smuggling ring…”but he seems like such a good guy” – is the attitude of everyone else but I feel that I’ve read enough Nesbo books to trust in the rogue detective…feel free to make up your own minds though! Anyway, Harry is determined to prove that he is right about Waaler, while solving the mysterious crimes simultaneously!

Another cracking mystery book for lovers of suspense!


‘The Redbreast’

Right, I know I’m not reading the Jo Nesbo books in the right order…but next time, I will! Well, I’ll try!

It is due to the strength of Nesbo’s writing that I can read them in this order and still know exactly what’s going on. Harry Hole is the kind of character who bumbles around, frowning, hating the world and most of its inhabitants…so although circumstances might change for him…his attitude rarely does, so from one book to another, it is easy to ignore the ‘correct’ order of reading and just enjoy the books!

So, back on subject…The Redbreast is technically the 3rd in the Harry Hole series – the full order can be found on the Jo Nesbo website

…and I actually haven’t read the books preceding it…but as I said, that doesn’t matter! This book jumps between 1944 on the Eastern Front and 1999 in Oslo, with chilling narratives in both times. Firstly, we’re transported to trenches just outside Leningrad where a group of soldiers fight for freedom. A bold, confident man named Daniel Gudeson is shot during this time and laid in a mass grave…however a while later, a man claiming to be Daniel turns up in a military hospital and falls in love with a nurse there, Helene. When he has recovered, he is called up to be sent to a notoriously dangerous area of the Eastern Front so they plot their escape. Fast forward to 1999 and an old man wanders the streets of Oslo after receiving some bad news from the doctor…he infers that he has one final thing to do before he dies.

So, where is Harry Hole in all of this madness I hear you cry!? Well, after characteristically but accidentally shooting an American secret service agent during a Presidential visit to Norway, Hole has been moved to the secret service unit and promoted to Inspector…he has also been packed off to an office to sift through a report on a low-priority case…regarding suspected arms dealers and old/new Nazis…ooOOoh! Exactly! So, there is a lot to get your head around but it is definitely worth it! I think you’ve probably already guessed that Harry doesn’t just sit at the desk for the whole book…

Mixing past, present and future, this book is fantastic and certainly keeps you on your toes! Another cracking book from Nesbo…just need to get my hands on the others now!

‘The Snowman’

Oh my! This book is incredible! The main place that I read ‘The Snowman’ was on the train, which unknowingly made me very suspicious of EVERYONE else on the tube! It was literally chilling! (Pardon the pun…) I can’t believe that this is the first of Jo Nesbo’s novels that I’ve read! Where have I been? Fortunately, I have been assured by the lovely people at CCV that there are more to come!

From the start of the novel, it becomes clear that the title represents something a lot more terrifying than Raymond Briggs would have us believe!

One night in Oslo, a young boy wakes up to find his mother missing. When searching for her, he discovers wet footprints on the stairs…he looks outside and is faced with a snowman, glistening in the darkness…wearing his mother’s scarf.

Troubled but brilliant DI Harry Hole is assigned to the case, along with newly appointed Katrine Bratt. A mysterious but efficient woman who is determined not to take any rubbish from anyone! Soon after finding the first snowman, Harry recieves an anonymous letter from ‘The Snowman’, indicating that the woman’s disappearance wasn’t simply an unloved wife running away but something a lot more sinister!

As the story unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that ‘The Snowman’ has a vendetta against married women with children…but also that he has met his match in Harry Hole. This thrilling, disturbing crime novel keeps you guessing right until the end, leading you towards one opinion before smashing it completely and leaving a trail of doubt in your mind. Nesbo’s writing is fantastically gripping, he describes scenes with such tangible details that stay with you, hauntingly for days!

An absolutely fantastic read! But if you’re a scaredy cat (like I am…) I’d recommend reading it before Christmas, when you are faced with snowman, after snowman, after snowman on your way home…or you may become a hermit!

‘Her Fearful Symmetry’

Now, as my boyfriend wasn’t doing his job properly at the airport (stopping my from buying books when I already had enough with me…tut tut) I bought ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’, the second novel by Audrey Niffenegger. I’d had my eye on this book for a while, having been enticed by the huge adverts for the book that kept appearing to me on the underground…and I was not disappointed…I know it’s a cliche but yet again, I found a book that I couldn’t put down!

‘Her Fearful Symmetry’ is absolutely brilliant! It’s haunting and beautiful and frankly, quite breathtaking. It is hard to pinpoint the intricacies initially, but it is just lovely when they start to unravel and you realise that not everything is as it appears…

Now, I don’t want to give too much away…but…the novel begins (unfortunately) at the end of Elspeth Noblin’s life…it becomes clear from the outset that she has left her flat in London and her savings to her estranged twin sister’s twin daughters…Elspeth and her sister haven’t spoken for 21 years but we don’t find out why until the end…all we know is that in a letter to her sister, Elspeth informs her that she will not be receiving anything in the will because ‘you’ve lived my life, that’s enough’…oooOoooh! I know! Mysterious! Little snippets of information become steadily evident throughout the novel but it is nevertheless absolutely enthralling!

This is absolutely a gem of a book! I loved ‘The Time Travellers Wife’ and now, Niffenegger has established herself as one of the most awe-inspiring writers in the past few years! I adore her writing! ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’ is a ghost story with a difference…as noted on the cover, it’s ‘the human stories that glitter the most’ and this is so true. It’s filled with thoughtful ideas, wonderful characters and secrets that keep you hooked until the very end…when you want to read more and more but there are no pages left!

Fantastic book! Can’t wait for the next one!

‘On Chesil Beach’

I finished reading ‘On Chesil Beach’ a couple of weeks ago, on a train…and subsequently found myself contemplating the purpose of arguing with loved ones and in fact, having any regrets at all…which is a strange feeling to have whilst standing at an awkward angle, with someone inconsiderate’s umbrella dripping rain on my foot.

As mentioned in a previous blog, I literally went into Waterstones one day and picked books at random. ‘On Chesil Beach’ wasn’t actually a first choice of mine but was £4 with the purchase of the other books so, after reading ‘Saturday’ by Ian McEwan at University; I thought I’d give it a go.

I didn’t quite know what to expect from the book, but found the style of writing quite beautiful. It depicts a range of emotions and anxieties that anyone in a relationship has experienced, whilst also displaying a great deal of honesty, which is refreshing in a book about love. Too many books idolize the…*cough cough* physical act of love…especially when it is the character’s “first time” being described.

All in all, I finished the book and found myself overwhelmed with the feeling that, I do not want to lose the love of my life over something petty but similarly, I must do whatever it takes to achieve my dreams. A lot of emotion was unearthed in me by this book, and I feel that although the outcome is essentially regretful; it is definitely worth the read and not just to see the look on the man reading over my shoulder’s face on the underground, during the attempted-sex-scene…