Jo Nesbø is a pure gold phenomenon. An economist, active musician/songwriter/vocalist, ex-footballer (retired due to injury); he confessed in 2013 to be behind the pen-name of Tom Johansen; novelist of a successful children's book series featuring Fart Powders and a wildly popular, mad-cap Doctor Proctor; he's considered the top Norwegian crime fiction author globally, and now with his new anti-hero, there is five-star splendor in The Son...
30 year old Sonny Lofthus is kept in a perpetual catatonic state through a constant supply of drugs. Left in a position to be easily set up for the crimes of others, he is imprisoned at Oslo's most modern state of the art institution, Staten - an impenetrable structure that itself oozes evil from every brick of its foundation. Lofthus's name is even more tainted by the fact that his father committed suicide, a disgraced officer gone astray by his own corrupt misdeeds.
There is a power struggle of good and evil in Nesbo's uberdark novel. I'm not just talking 'good guy- bad guy stuff', or even a seasoned crime hero with a looming shadow like Harry Hole. The difference in Sonny Lofthus's case is that, although 30 years old, he has the mind of a teenager, an untested innocence, has been in prison nearly half his life and is already in the fires of hell. Immediately the reader sympathizes with his character. Immediately, we know that any ill conceived actions he does next will be tolerated, because we want him to prevail.
Counterbalancing this black soul is an aura of mystification - Sonny appears to have the touch of a miracle-worker: he can see into the deepest of a man's soul, he can absolve the worst of sins weighing on the guilty conscience, he can heal the sick, well, maybe spiritually anyway. And he's highly intelligent, too. Maybe he is the almighty?
When Sonny learns from an inmate that his father was set up and was, in reality, murdered, he plans his escape in the clever, high-tech fashion that only Jo Nesbo could pull off, nothing would get in the way of the bloody string of vendettas he has in mind. Nesbo readers expect the mind bending plot twists and palpitating thrills, the highly sophisticated criminal systems and Norwegian underworld network, they're here. New are the half-way hostels: the public funded programs that provide sanctuary for drug addicts to get off the streets of Oslo. This is such an interesting concept, one I would love to see compared to the ridiculously over-priced drug rehabs in this country.
There's a lot to entertain the die-hard Nordic noir reader; once finished, you'd want to read it again, straight away. I look forward to much more of Sonny Lofthus. I highly recommend this new Nesbo crime thriller (apparently to become a TV series).
We love Sonny, Jo!