Summer. A boy is lying on the floor of an Oslo appartment. He is bleeding to death. Outside, the church bells toll, and he begins to tell his story. Autumn. Former police inspector Harry Hole returns to Oslo after three years away. He seeks out his old boss at Police Headquarters to request permission to investigate a homicide. But the case is already closed: the young junkie was shot dead by a fellow addict. While Harry tries to uncover the truth, the murdered boy continues his tale. A man walks the dark streets of Oslo. The streets are his and he has always been there. He is a phantom.
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Amazon Exclusive: An Essay by Jo Nesbø on Harry Hole
It is not easy to summarize the protagonist of the series in a few words, but here are some features of Harry’s personality that are important to me when I write about him: he’s the type of guy who is driven by his good side as well as his darker side. At times he believes in his role as law enforcer, at other times he doesn’t. And occasionally he is so gripped by his emotions that they overwhelm his basic belief in the principles of a state governed by law. He hunts down criminals with such an intense hatred and finds revenge so hard to resist that at times he could be mistaken for the antagonists he is fighting. But at the same time he can feel empathy for, perhaps even a kinship with, the lawbreaker. Harry Hole is a hero with pronounced weaknesses. All interesting heroes have an Achilles heel, and in Harry’s case, it is alcohol.
Harry feels something akin to what the serial killer feels, the same tension and excitement, when he approaches a victim and the same anti-climax after the killer is caught. It is Harry’s ambition to understand both love and evil. He is a passionate guy in all ways. And he is the type of man who has difficulties controlling his impulses. The fact that he cannot set limits permeates his drinking habits and his attitude to his job. He takes on cases and is swallowed up by them. It is the same with his relationships with women. I could have chosen to make Harry and Rakel live happily ever after and have children, but then we have a completely different person. I like the fact that he is in transit in his own life, as far as his emotions and his job are concerned. I'm often asked how much Harry and I have in common. I won't answer that in detail, but when you make a person a hero, as a writer you are bound to have at least a basic set of values, a goal, a need or a longing that you can relate to.About the Author:
Jo Nesbo is a musician, songwriter, economist and author. His first crime novel featuring Harry Hole was published in Norway in 1997 and was an instant hit, winning the Glass Key Award for best Nordic crime novel (an accolade shared with Peter Hoeg, Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson). Phantom is the seventh of Nesbo's Harry Hole novels to be translated into English. Check out www.jonesbo.co.uk.
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