Whilst I'm still reeling with the aftershock of the events in Paris, I've decided to finish the book review I had in mind for you for last Sunday. Life does go on...fortunately, for most of us.
What I want to recommend to you for some exciting (and medium light-) reading, is a book by the Norwegian writer (and musician) Jo Nesbo. I have read the Vintage Books 2015 edition, with an excellent English translation by Charlotte Barslund. Jo Nesbo has been published in 48 languages, and his books have been topping the charts for years. So it's a bit strange (for such a hungry reader as myself) that 'The Son' was the first novel I've read by him. But certainly not the last! He has gained himself a fan! This modern crime story unfolds in Oslo, and I am not (oh no, not not not) going to give away the plot. But what I do want to tell you is that Nesbo's characters are so very true to life that I had the feeling I knew them. He is one shrewd and observant judge of human nature, and gives his main clay footed heroes their own distinctive voice. One of the most memorable ones to me (but that surely has to do with my profession as a teacher) is a young boy, Markus. But also the tired jaded policeman Simon Kefas is very well portrayed, and so is one of the female characters, Martha. Nesbo tells the tragical story of a man and his son using many people's viewpoints. It is as if you are standing in someone else's shoes every new chapter. Obviously the son called Sonny, the entire book pivots around him, is present in almost every chapter, and is an anti-hero if ever there was one. There are subtle references to that other anti-heroic son, the one from the Bible, without it getting annoying or overdone. There are some rather gruesome scenes, so do not attempt it if you are a bit squeamish or if you have a phobia for dogs. But it doesn't get too detailed or blood-and-gory anywhere. If you can stomach Kay Scarpetta, you absolutely will be able to stomach Sonny Lofthus. Nesbo has written many other novels. I know what will be on my Christmas list!