Jo Nesbø – Nemesis


“It was gone now, the little smile, the glee that Spite gives. The Small-mindedness. The Self-righteousness. The Sadism. The four ‘S’s of revenge.” 

Title: Nemesis (Harry Hole #4)
Author: Jo Nesbo
Language: English (Originally Norwegian)
Publication details: London: Vintage, 2008. (First published 2002)
Pages: 695

The gist of it:

  • Harry has dinner with ex. Ex found dead the next day.
  • Harry can’t remember a thing. Uh-oh.
  • Also, there’s a murderous bank robber on the loose.
  • Harry’s on the case! And there’s the dead ex thing…
  • Chaotic juggling ensues.
  • Just like the rest of his life.

My ponderings:

Well, well, well.


Malfoy semi-approves.
I read Nemesis right after The Redbreast in hopes that Jo Nesbo would restore my faith in him. I have to say, I am impressed. Partially.

While still not a ‘great’ book, Nemesis is definitely a good thriller. The case of the bank robber killing the cashier had enough intrigue in it to keep you eager to know what’s next, and I was very interested to see how Harry would deal with being framed for the death of his ex-girlfriend. I wanted to see accusations! Scandal! Suspicion of Harry! Harry trying to defend himself!!

Give it to me!!

The tiny bummer is that even though Harry was placed at the scene of the crime, he sufficiently covered his tracks so that no one started pointing fingers at him immediately. Only about three quarters through the book did Tom (Harry’s rival), start sniffing around and ordering search warrants on Harry.
Just as I predicted, reading about Harry under suspicion was the best part! Though knowing Harry he didn’t bother so much in objecting but instead just chose to lay low till he could work things out. Still, it was fun to see him lone-ranger it even more than usual.

One thing I’ll say about Nemesis is that about halfway through the book, I was so into it that I was fighting off heavy eyelids to continue reading. That’s saying a lot coming from me, as any battles against sleep usually end with sleep triumphant. The pace was fast (which is more than I can say about The Redbreast…yawn); the crime, intriguing; and Harry’s dilemma at the fact that he may have just murdered his own ex, exciting.

I’ve grown a certain fondness for Harry Hole. Though it was kind of a dick move for him to sleep with his ex while in a relationship with Rakel, I still sympathised with him. I was like, “Urgh, fine. I’ll give you a chance this time, Harry.” He’s like a trodden down mongrel that you’re simultaneously wary of while also wanting to bring it home for some much needed coddling.

The bank robbery was quite exciting, though I actually successfully guessed the culprit from the start, which is pretty amazing considering my history of never being able to guess whodunnit in a Hercule Poirot novel.

Honestly sometimes I feel the main story of interest in Harry Hole’s life is his relationship with Rakel and Oleg (Rakel’s son), and his diehard quest to achieve truth and vengeance regarding the murder of his assistant, Ellen. Oh, and his antagonism with Tom, which is related to the murder. Every time there were snippets of scenes regarding these three main things, I absorbed them even quicker than the ongoing case. It’s almost as if the ongoing cases in each novel are the subplots, and Harry’s life is really the main plot. Which is a good thing, actually. It makes you attached to Harry. Well, it makes me attached anyway.

I’m halfway through The Devil’s Star now, and all the aforementioned ‘subplots’ are definitely getting brought to the forefront. I’m (internally) screaming “YES, YES, MOAR!!” because that’s the stuff I want to read about! Well, review to come as soon as I’m finished with it.

As for why my rating is only 3 stars: I sped through Nemesis, which is good, but it didn’t leave much of an impact on me. The prose is still not really to my taste, and the story, though interesting, is still…missing something. I can’t quite put my finger on what that thing is. Heck maybe it just all really boils down to the prose because after flipping through the book to refresh my memory, I just realized again how the prose just doesn’t really spark anything in me.

Although this quote did catch my attention:

“With regard to power, women don’t have the vanity men have. They don’t need to make power visible, they only want the power to give them the other things they want. Security. Food. Enjoyment. Revenge. Peace. They are rational, power-seeking planners, who think beyond the battle, beyond the victory celebrations. And because they have an inborn capacity to see weakness in their victims, they know instinctively when and how to strike. And when to stop. You can’t learn that…”

I bookmarked this quote, and to my surprise found it the most liked one listed in Goodreads as well! Look at me being all one with the crowd…

Really relate to the quote by the way. I’m not saying that all men have an ego, but when they do things for the purpose of ego, it just boggles me.


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