“The Son” by Jo Nesbø
Publisher’s Synopsis: The author of the internationally best-selling Harry Hole series now gives us an electrifying stand-alone novel set amid Oslo’s hierarchy of corruption, from which one very unusual young man is about to propel himself into a mission of brutal revenge.
Sonny Lofthus, in his early thirties, has been in prison for the last dozen years: serving time for crimes he didn’t commit. In exchange, he gets an uninterrupted supply of heroin—and the unexpected stream of fellow prisoners seeking out his uncanny abilities to soothe and absolve. His addiction started when his father committed suicide rather than be exposed as a corrupt cop, and now Sonny is the center of a vortex of corruption: prison staff, police, lawyers, a desperate priest—all of them focused on keeping him stoned and jailed, and all of them under the thumb of Oslo’s crime overlord, the Twin. When Sonny learns some long-hidden truths about his father he makes a brilliant escape, and begins hunting down the people responsible for the hideous crimes he’s paid for. But he’s also being hunted, by the Twin, the cops, and the only person who knows the ultimate truth that Sonny is seeking. The question is, what will he do when they’ve cornered him?
3 out of 5 stars
This is my first Nesbø book, and I know it won’t be my last. A gripping crime thriller, it’s fast paced and a fairly quick read that I enjoyed. I don’t read a lot of police drama and it was interesting to read this one from a Scandinavian perspective.
The book starts out in a state-of-the-art prison where we meet our main character, Sonny Lofthus, who has been in prison for 12 years – since he was 18. Jailed for murder, he is keep in a near catatonic state and supplied regularly with heroin. All he has to do is continue to take the fall for murders he didn’t commit which he willingly does in order to get more heroin. It’s a vicious circle. He is known throughout the prison as a healer of sorts, willing to hear confessions and grant absolution.
It’s in one such confession that we learn the truth about Sonny’s father – that he was a police officer whose suicide was a set up. His confession to corruption was faked and he was killed by a friend and mole in the police force. Sonny’s world changes in that moment and he breaks out of prison in a daring escape with the intent of hunting down the people responsible for his father’s death.
This was a good book, but it requires a bit of suspension of disbelief. Sonny is seemingly able to kick a decades long heroin habit overnight with not much effort. He is also able to drive with one lesson and able to use a cell phone with never having seen one before. He is able to escape a maximum security prison and then break back into the same prison.
The criminals in this book have no redeeming qualities and Sonny is gifted with almost spiritual qualities. That said, I recommend this if you like police and crime drama.