Jo Nesbo is a Norwegian police and at the same time a crime writer who was born is Oslo, Norway in the year 1960. He is also an accomplished musician as the primary singer and songwriter for the Norwegian rock band Di Derre. His crime novels, specifically the Harry Hole, series are is biggest claim to fame. His works have been translated into over forty (40) languages and have attained worldwide sales of over 9 million copies. Nesbo studied Economics and Business Administration at the Norwegian School of Economics and worked as a freelance journalist and stockbroker before his writing career took off.
His talents as a writer are not solely based on the crime genre. He has also released a series of children’s books with the crazy Professor Proctor as the lead character. These have been well received and some book critics have compared them to Roald Dahl’s work.
The Harry Hole Series
Harry Hole is the main character in Jo Nesbo’s series of ten crime novels. Harry is a police officer with the Oslo crime squad. HIs mother is deceased, he has a weak relationship with his father and his sister had Down Syndrome. He has very few close friends. Harry in a heavy smoker and is also an alcoholic, whose problems sometimes get him in trouble with his superiors. One of his only friends on the force, Bjarne Moller, the head of Hole’s department, often prevents his sacking because he understands Harry’s superior detective skills. The novels place Harry in many places in Oslo and give an unabashed view of the city, both good and bad.
The Bat Series
The bat serves as an introduction to the character of Harry Hole. Harry has the pleasure of being sent to Sydney in order to look into the murder of a young B-list Norwegian celebrity. Unlike future novels that are set primarily in Oslo the action takes place entirely in Australia. The novel introduces many of Harry’s flaws. You see his alcoholism first hand as well as get some insight into what his problem has caused in the past. The novel is fast paced with a developed mystery that keeps the reader guessing until the culprit is revealed. Although this was the very first novel in the series it was not translated into English until later. The publishers believed that the stories set in Oslo would be a better bet. Only once these became hugely popular was Jo Nesbo’s very first novel translated.
The Devil’s Star Series
The Devil’s Star is the fifth in the Harry Hole series but it has the distinction of being the first of the Jo Nesbo series to have been translated into English. The story involves a young woman found dead in an Oslo flat with a finger from her left hand severed. Furthermore there is a a tiny diamond secreted in her eyelid in the shape of a pentagram. Harry must drag himself out of his alcoholic hole and use his detective skills to uncover the identity of the killer. This novel is interesting, not only because of the plot and characters but also by the use of the number 5. This being the fifth novel in the series Jo Nesbo expertly wove the number 5 into the story. For example, the number of days between murders is 5 and the victims were all murdered on the fifth floor. There are many more instances of the number being used. It gives an exciting under layer to an already enthralling story.
The Doctor Proctor Series
It is rare that an author can develop a series with two memorable characters. This is even more impressive when one is an alcoholic crime novel police officer and the other an inventor in a series based for children. Doctor Proctor is an inventor waiting for his big break. He thinks he may have discovered it when he invents the most powerful fart powder known to man. Of course the powder cannot get into the wrong hands, which leads to a myriad of wildly imaginative adventures. As dark as Harry Hole can be this series is a laugh out loud joy to read. This shows Jo Nesbo’s talent as an artist. The genres are polar opposites yet both are done to an exceptional level of professionalism.
Jo Nesbo Films
Although the Harry Hole series has not been transferred to the big screen the release of the 2011 film Headhunters, based on the stand alone novel of the same name showed that Nesbo’s stories are screen worthy. Not only was this film well received but it was nominated for numerous awards outside of Norway. To date it is the highest grossing Norwegian film of all time. It is also rumored that at least two novels have been written under the pen name of Tom Johansen. One of them, provisionally entitled Blood on Snow has reportedly been bought by Warner Brothers in the U.S. in order to make create a screenplay based on the novel. It is further rumored that big name actors like Leonardo DiCaprio are involved in the project.
More about Jo Nesbo
Jo Nesbo is truly a man of many talents. Having studied business, he left the mainstream and became a rock star. Once the music world was conquered as such, he turned his talent to writing and produced a series of best selling crime novels. Rather than keep to the same characters he wrote stand alone novels, one of which was made into a film and became an award winning blockbuster. That would be enough for most people to accomplish in a lifetime, but Jo Nesbo decided to challenge himself as a writer and created a series of children’s stories that astound with their imaginative story line and their humor. The future is bound to hold many interesting projects for Jo Nesbo. We can only wait with baited breath to see where his literary talent will lead us next, whether is be down a dark mysterious alley way or a laugh inducing fart filled adventure. It will surely be ours to enjoy.
Books in order of publication by series:
Harry Hole Books
|The Devil’s Star||(2003)|
Publication Order of Doctor Proctor Books
|Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder||(2009)|
|Bubble in the Bathtub||(2011)|
|Time-Travel Bath Bomb||(2011)|
|Who Cut the Cheese?||(2012)|
|The Magical Fruit||(2013)|
|The Great Gold Robbery||(2013)|
|Silent (But Deadly) Night||(2017)|
Blood On Snow Books
|Blood on Snow||(2015)|
Hogarth Shakespeare Books