In deciding when and how the Harry Hole series ends, one of those characters from the not to go contemporary who have millions of followers, or rather how he tells it, Jo Nesbø (Oslo, 61 years old) is taking a walk through other subgenres of the thriller in search of new territories. Blood in the snow (Reservoir Books, 2020) bet on an endearing hit man and for humor as a secret weapon. On Blood sun (same publisher, same year, although both were published before in Norway) there are also hitmen, but it was closer to the context and concerns that exude the novel we have come to talk about today.
Read the first pages of The kingdom. However, there are several interesting jumps here. The kingdom (Reservoirbooks, translation by Lotte Katrine Tollefsen) has very clear ingredients: a family that is reunited, a town that is like so many others (beautiful and at the same time with its miseries) but a little more sinister, other families, filial hatreds, envies , abuses and the weight of the mistakes of the past. When one has to read the more books the better and still comes to nothing, a copy of more than 600 pages like this one arouses reservations. In the first 100 you sense that something is going to go very wrong, but it is the handling of the characters that keeps you going. Do you want to know more about this Roy who lives in the mountains, loves birds and cars, chews American tobacco, is a weirdo and loves his brother Carl, the returnee, the winner, the other face above anything else in the world of the coin.
Roy is the protagonist of a book narrated in the first person and the reader has to make a pact and trust him. The character is a real find because he is full of nuances but he moves away from the topics with personality and not by the way, so common in these times, of recreating himself in the eccentric. A hundred pages later you are hopelessly hooked and the whole show is yet to come, so it’s time to sacrifice a few hours of sleep. Carl, who is ambitious, wants to wake up the town and set up a spa hotel. But Carl is not what he seems and neither is his wife Shannon. Neither Roy nor, in fact, anyone in this novel that turns with rhythm, with just the right frights, in which there are deaths, reckoning, accidents that are not and more. As Nesbø always says: “Everything that can destroy you, you carry inside”. You have to be clever to put all this in a boring Norwegian town and not sound exaggerated. But, you know, by now Nesbø knows them all.