Written by Jo Nesbø
Number 5 in Harry Hole
Genre: Thriller, Crime
Original Language: Norwegian
Read from 2019-11-18 to 2019-11-23
Read in Norwegian
Review: Harry Hole’s adventures continue. As usual he’s in a bad place personally, to the point where his perpetual state of almost getting fired looks like it will finally tip beyond almost. Then a really strange case pops up while almost everyone in the police force are gone on holiday, and conveniently… well, conveniently for narrative purposes anyway, the police force have to put Harry Hole on the case. As usual he is haunted by his inner demons, and as usual his primary fight turns out to be is with the powers that are fighting him from within the police force, rather than with the perpetrators of the crime he is investigating.
Marekors is as solid a book as I’ve come to expect from the Harry Hole series at this point. It didn’t enthuse me as much as Nemesis did, but that’s also not a standard to which I can realistically hold all of these books. Marekors is a more run-of-the-mill crime story of a protagonist in a dark place, having to battle everyone around him and heroically uncover the truth. I don’t mean run-of-the-mill in a derogatory way at all - the formula works for a reason, and when done well, which it absolutely is in Marekors, it’s a great read. Though, Marekors didn’t give me the feeling of going as deep into Hole’s personality as some of the other books have. Where I’ve previously felt like I’m reading a story about the life of a man who is solving a crime, Hole’s personal struggles, in this book, feels more like a narrative device used in a story about solving a crime. The version of “forces within the police force working against Hole” in this book, and the previous couple, is also starting to feel a little stretched out in this book. It works, but it feels more contrived to me in Marekors than is has done previously. This was also, from memory, the first Nesbø book where I was relatively confident in the direction the twists would take before they happened. Usually I have the same feeling, and it turns out to be a deliberate red herring. In this book my assumptions of what was going to happen next generally transpired. This isn’t a problem with the book per-se, but I really feel like it adds to a book when I’m blindsighted by it.
Marekors is still a really fun read though. To state the obvious, Jo Nesbø obviously knows what he is doing. The book does have the feeling of giving the reader a little more than it absolutely had to. On top of the crime story there are flashes of humour, little fun details, and a feeling of the book respecting the reader enough to give them some extra treats here and there.
Marekors definitely isn’t a reason not to get stuck in with the Harry Hole series. And, as has, or at least will become a bit of a refrain, I’m glad I decided to gradually read them all. They’re better than I expected they would be.