Book review: Jo Nesbø’s The Son


Thor A. Larsen
Fishkill, N.Y.

I am particularly fond of reading Norwegian crime fiction, having read most of the books authored by Gunnar Staalesen, Karin Fossum, Kjell Dahl, and Jo Nesbø. Not only do these authors hold my interest by the rich range in character developments and their effective skills in addressing various aspects of modern Norwegian society and the general theme of “crime and punishment,” but also with how they develop suspense and the intense desire of the reader to turn the page. Up until I read The Son by Jo Nesbø, he was one of my favorite authors.

Briefly, The Son explores how a young, troubled man seeks to avenge his policeman father’s death. As always, the plots are complex, and the action is continuous and always surprising. However, the disturbing aspect of the book, from almost the beginning until the end, is the brutality, the tortures, the killings, and the overall sense that every aspect of Oslo’s society is corrupt. In this environment, the idea of crime and punishment no longer exists.

In net, I think Mr. Nesbø’s incredible success has caused his imagination to leave Norway for someplace closer to a broken-down society, perhaps in Mexico or South America.

Readers, what do you think? Send your comments to

Born in Stavanger, Thor A. Larsen immigrated to New York City with his parents in 1948. Now retired from a 40-year career as physicist and engineer, Thor draws and paints, and writes travel and arts articles for a local publication. He’s been married to Arlene for 49 years, and they have two adult children and four grandchildren.

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 10, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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