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realjimbob

REALJimBob

Fortysomething, photographer slacker, working in IT, living in Greenwich; failed polymath; drinks and eats too much, reads too little...

Nemesis - Jo Nesbø Harry Hole returns in the fourth book in the series by Jo Nesbø (although only the second, translated ably, by Don Bartlett) and follows on from Redbreast. Some time has passed between the two novels, although it's not entirely clear how much - not enough to change the other people around him too much or for him to have ruined his relationship with Rakel (surely only a matter of time) or to have forgotten the murder of his partner, Ellen, but enough for there to be a new girl on the force - Beate Lønn - an expert in video analysis.

Nemesis is two crimes in one; a bank robbery, where the robber executes one of the bank staff when his request to get the money within a certain amount of time isn't met. The other, an ex-girlfriend of Hole's, Anna, who he meets up with for drinks is found dead in her apartment - apparently suicide - however Hole's memory of the evening is a total blank. So while investigating the bank robbery with Lønn, he's also trying to continue the investigation into the death of Anna without implicating himself to his colleagues, and not forgetting the ongoing investigation into the death of Ellen that he's struggling to keep alive.

So far, so confusing. One cop, three cases, but, Nesbø didn't think that was confusing enough. The three cases are intertwined, common threads and characters appear and disappear from one case to another and so on. Hole's own blackouts further confuse the second case, and finally, every time Hole decides he's solved a case, you soon realise he hasn't. The two main cases both have twists, even their twists have further twists. Until you're thoroughly confused. The robbery is solved half-way through the book. I assumed this was to free up the rest of the book to concentrate on the Anna and Ellen cases, but nope, Hole's got the wrong man (and not for the last time). If you can keep up, both the main cases have very clever resolutions, although the Ellen case really never gets much further than in Redbreast - there are hints and clues provided to us the reader, but Harry never really gets anywhere. Fingers crossed that Waaler, the Prince, gets his comeuppance in the next book.

Gripping and well paced, even as confusing as it was. You're never quite sure how closely the cases are connected, or who is guilty, is getting framed, or is just lying to us, right until the end. Even then, while I thought that the Anna case was tied up satisfactorily, I struggled with one facet of the resolution of the robberies. We find out who committed the first robbery/execution, but the remaining robberies were presumably copycats - who committed those? How did that person get the necessary inside information? Can we assume it was Gunnerud and Waaler (something else for him to get his comeuppance for)?