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The Son
Cover of The Son
The Son
A novel
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The author of the best-selling Harry Hole series now gives us an electrifying stand-alone novel set inside Oslo’s maze of especially venal, high-level corruption.   Sonny Lofthus is a...
The author of the best-selling Harry Hole series now gives us an electrifying stand-alone novel set inside Oslo’s maze of especially venal, high-level corruption.   Sonny Lofthus is a...
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Description-

  • The author of the best-selling Harry Hole series now gives us an electrifying stand-alone novel set inside Oslo’s maze of especially venal, high-level corruption.
     
    Sonny Lofthus is a strangely charismatic and complacent young man. Sonny’s been in prison for a dozen years, nearly half his life. The inmates who seek out his uncanny abilities to soothe leave his cell feeling absolved. They don’t know or care that Sonny has a serious heroin habit—or where or how he gets his uninterrupted supply of the drug. Or that he’s serving time for other peoples’ crimes.
               
    Sonny took the first steps toward addiction when his father took his own life rather than face exposure as a corrupt cop. Now Sonny is the seemingly malleable center of a whole infrastructure of corruption: prison staff, police, lawyers, a desperate priest—all of them focused on keeping him high and in jail. And all of them under the thumb of the Twin, Oslo’s crime overlord. As long as Sonny gets his dope, he’s happy to play the criminal and the prison’s in-house savior.

    But when he learns a stunning, long-hidden secret concerning his father, he makes a brilliantly executed escape from prison—and from the person he’d let himself become—and begins hunting down those responsible for the crimes against him . . . The darkly looming question is: Who will get to him first—the criminals or the cops?
 

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Excerpts-

  • From the book

    1

    Rover kept his eyes on the white-painted concrete floor in the eleven-square-metre prison cell. He bit down on the slightly too long gold front tooth in his lower jaw. He had reached the hardest part of his confession. The only sound in the cell was his nails scratching the madonna tattoo on his forearm. The boy sitting cross-legged on the bed opposite him had remained silent ever since Rover had entered. He had merely nodded and smiled his blissful Buddha smile, his gaze fixed at a point on Rover's forehead. People called the boy Sonny and said that he had killed two people as a teenager, that his father had been a corrupt police officer and that Sonny had healing hands. It was hard to see if the boy was listening—his green eyes and most of his face were hidden behind his long, matted hair—but that didn't matter. Rover just wanted his sins forgiven and to receive Sonny's distinctive blessing so that tomorrow he could walk out of Staten Maximum Security Prison with the feeling of being a truly cleansed man. Not that Rover was religious, but it could do no harm when he intended to change, to give going straight a real try. Rover took a deep breath.

    "I think she was from Belarus. Minsk is in Belarus, isn't it?" Rover looked up quickly, but the boy made no reply. "Nestor had nicknamed her Minsk," Rover said. "He told me to shoot her."

    The obvious advantage of confessing to someone whose brain was fried was that no name and incident would stick; it was like talking to yourself. This might explain why inmates at Staten preferred this guy to the chaplain or the psychologist.

    "Nestor kept her and eight other girls in a cage down in Enerhaugen. East Europeans and Asians. Young. Teenagers. At least I hope they were as old as that. But Minsk was older. Stronger. She escaped. Got as far as Tøyen Park before Nestor's dog caught her. One of those Argentine mastiffs—know what I'm talking about?"

    The boy's eyes never moved, but he raised his hand. Found his beard. He started to comb it slowly with his fingers. The sleeve of his filthy, oversized shirt slipped down and revealed scabs and needle marks. Rover went on.

    "Bloody big albino dogs. Kills anything its owner points at. And quite a lot he doesn't. Banned in Norway, 'course. A guy out in Rælengen got some from the Czech Republic, breeds them and registers them as white boxers. Me and Nestor went there to buy one when it was a pup. It cost more than fifty grand in cash. The puppy was so cute you wouldn't ever think it . . ." Rover stopped. He knew he was only talking about the dog to put off the inevitable. "Anyway . . ."

    Anyway. Rover looked at the tattoo on his other forearm. A cathedral with two spires. One for each sentence he had served, neither of which had anything to do with today's confession. He used to supply guns to a biker gang and modify some of them in his workshop. He was good at it. Too good. So good that he couldn't remain below the radar forever and he was caught. And so good that, while serving his first sentence, Nestor had taken him under his wing. Nestor had made sure he owned him so that from then on only Nestor would get his hands on the best guns, rather than the biker gang or any other rivals. He had paid him more for a few months' work than Rover could ever hope to earn in a lifetime in his workshop fixing motorbikes. But Nestor had demanded a lot in return. Too much.

    "She was lying in the bushes, blood everywhere. She just lay there, dead still, staring up at us. The dog had taken a chunk out of her face—you could see straight to the teeth." Rover grimaced. Get to the point. "Nestor said it was time to teach them a...

About the Author-

  • JO NESBØ is a musician, songwriter, economist, and author. He has won the Glass Key Award for best Nordic crime novel. His Harry Hole novels include The Redeemer, The Snowman, The Leopard, and Phantom, and he is also the author of Headhunters and several children's books.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Gildart Jackson gives just the right unobtrusive narration to Jo Nesb¿'s stand-alone novel, a richly layered look into the human heart. Nesb¿, known for his Harry Hole series, introduces Sonny Loftus, a 30-ish addict who is serving time in an Oslo prison for crimes he didn't commit in exchange for a continuous supply of heroin. Twelve years into his sentence, Sonny learns the truth about the death of his father, a disgraced policeman. Sonny cleans up his drug habit, escapes from prison, and begins hunting down those responsible for destroying his father's life. Jackson's artistry offers soft-voiced women and men whose personalities live in their voices. Nesb¿'s thrilling journey into Oslo's criminal underground of drugs, human trafficking, and murder is nail-biting, thanks to Jackson's insightful performance. S.J.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 1, 2014
    At the beginning of this standalone from Nesbø—the reigning master of the Norwegian crime thriller, best known for his Harry Hole series (Police, etc.)—Sonny Lofthus is serving time in a maximum-security prison for crimes he didn’t commit, in exchange for a never-ending supply of heroin from his jailors. Sonny became an addict as a teen, after his father, Ab, a corrupt cop, apparently committed suicide. When a fellow inmate raises questions about Ab’s death, Sonny devises an ingenious escape plan and exacts revenge upon those responsible for his father’s downfall. On his trail is Simon Kefas, an aging cop and close friend of Ab’s, and the Twin, a shadowy gangster who traffics in underage Belorussian girls. The book is set in Oslo, which, seen through Nesbø’s eyes, is a cesspool of corruption, drug addiction, and general depravity. Jackson turns in a solid performance, guiding the reader through the tangle of multisyllabic Norwegian names while delivering on the plot’s many twists and turns. He uses an array of British accents to differentiate the large cast of characters. Jackson’s one misstep is the voice chosen for Sonny: it sounds hollow and awkward, almost Bullwinklesque. Fortunately this doesn’t slow the story down (Sonny being the laconic type), and the effect seems less jarring as the novel progresses. A Knopf hardcover.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 24, 2014
    This excellent standalone from Nesbø, best known for his Harry Hole series (Police, etc.), centers on Sonny Lofthus (aka the Son), who’s serving a sentence at Oslo’s Staten Maximum Security Prison for two murders to which he confessed but which he did not commit. Sonny began using drugs before his incarceration, after his police officer father, Ab, hanged himself, leaving a note in which Ab confessed to having been a dirty cop. To manipulate Sonny, prison officials, lawyers, and police enable Sonny’s habit. When another inmate, Johannes Halden, who’s dying of cancer, begs for Sonny’s forgiveness after admitting a role in framing Ab and making his murder look like suicide, Sonny stops taking drugs and later escapes from prison with Johannes’s help. He launches a killing spree targeting those he suspects of having destroyed his father—in particular, a gangster known as the Twin, who controls a criminal enterprise encompassing human trafficking, drugs, and money laundering. A love affair between Sonny and Martha Lian, director of a center for drug addicts where Sonny stays, adds another exciting dynamic. Nesbø takes the reader on a chilling ride with many unexpected twists. 150,000-copy announced first printing. Author tour. Agent: Niclas Salomonsson, Salomonsson Agency (Sweden).

  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
    "A deftly plotted novel that probes the deepest mysteries: sin, redemption, love, evil, the human condition. . . . One of Nesbø's best, deepest and richest novels."
  • Lolland-Falsters Folketidende (Denmark) "Excellent . . . Nesbø takes the reader on a chilling ride with many unexpected twists."
    --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "The standard bearer for the phenomenon that is Scandinavian crime fiction. . . . Fast-paced and imaginatively violent, this latest example of Nesbo's Nordic noir hurtles like an express train towards a last act of almost operatic extravagance that leaves dead bodies and carefully nurtured reputations littering the stage. Great stuff altogether."
    --Independent (Ireland)

    "[Nesbø is] one of the current leading lights in Scandinavian crime fiction . . . Ridiculously talented . . . with his clear gift for hairpin twists and turns. . . . The thriller is so tightly plotted that it will keep readers steadfastly glued to their seat. . . . What Nesbø has crafted is not a whodunit in the traditional sense, as the writer is interested in the far more fascinating question of what can drive a person to evil?"
    --Daily Style (Australia)

    Scandinavian Reviews

    "Nesbø's new book makes all the hype before publication seem like false modesty, and is quite simply a fantastic piece of crime literature. . . . First and foremost, this is a clever, enthralling and driven story that is impossible to put down."
    --Dagens Næringsliv (Norway)

    "Yet another powerful demonstration of Nesbø's talent for creating a story that plays on all nerve strands and with so much intensity that it embodies both the Bible and Batman at once. It is really well done. It is still early in the year, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone should dub The Son as the crime novel of the year."
    --Ekstra Bladet (Denmark)

    "The pace proves to be on top in the new book, in a positive sense. This remains Norwegian crime literature in a class by itself. A plot that stretches and spreads out like great mathematical formulas, with many unfamiliar characters in the equation, but without being arcane or excessive in his fantastic interpretations. . . . Jo Nesbø prevails once again."
    --Dagsavisen (Norway)

    "The Son is a modern take on the story about Christ, that tackles the corruption in Oslo. . . . Jo Nesbø's writing is incredible as usual."
    --Jyllands-Posten (Denmark)

    "Tremendously well written by Nesbø. . . . There is something unstoppably vital about Jo Nesbø as a designer of crime stories in the baroque style. His pen is on fire and although it may be noted that it goes too fast sometimes linguistically, the stories he creates has so many staggering twists and turns that it is almost physically impossible not to get hooked."
    --Aftenposten (Norway)

    "Crime novels are rarely so skillfully told and at the same time so much more than pure entertainment. But Nesbø is a master."
    --Berlingske (Denmark)

    "No Norwegian crime writer can create such complex crime plots without losing in detail like Nesbø can. You might say that Nesbø is both high and low in his texts, and that is one of the main reasons why his novels rise above most others in this genre."
    --Dagbladet (Norway)

    "It is a formidable, diabolically clever and devilishly good book that is well put together, down to the smallest detail."
    --Nordjyske Stiftstidene (Denmark)

    "The story . . . is propelled with great force and an unerring sense of detail. . . . It is simply thrilling to read."
    --NRK (Norway)

    "Fast-paced and rip-roaring suspenseful.

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