FICTION

The Son

Knopf. May 2014. 336p. tr. from Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund. ISBN 9780385351379. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385351386. F
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As a teenager, Sonny Lofthus learns of his father's death—the circumstances of which disgrace his family and catapult Sonny into despair. To cope with his loss, Sonny seeks escape through heroin and at age 18 admits to crimes he did not commit. As payment for his confession, corrupt Oslo prison staff, lawyers, and a priest supply Sonny with a steady stream of heroin. Then, 12 years later, the same faction threatens to cut off Sonny's heroin supply unless he confesses to a murder. At the same time, a fellow inmate provides Sonny with new information about his father's death. Sonny breaks out of prison to make the people responsible pay for their treachery. While Oslo police search for Sonny, he untangles a web of corruption throughout the city.
VERDICT The best-selling author of the Harry Hole series (Redeemer; Nemesis) delivers an exceptional, gritty, fast-paced stand-alone thriller; the smooth transitions among each character's perspectives lure readers in, and Barslund's translation is accessible to American readers. Fans of the most recent Hole novels as well as of Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy will enjoy Nesbø's tightly knit plot.

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