The Kingdom

Knopf. Sept. 2020. 560p. ISBN 9780525655411. $28.95. THRILLER
Nordic noir powerhouse Nesbø (Knife) is back with a bleakly captivating stand-alone thriller exploring the tension that arises when morality clashes with familial duties. Filling station manager Roy Opgard has long embraced the role of his younger brother’s keeper and warmly welcomes the return of Carl, who moved from their remote Norwegian family farm to seek education and riches. Traveling from Canada, Carl and his young wife, Shannon, have big plans to turn the remote mountaintop land into a destination resort in an effort to save their hometown, the beleaguered Os, bolster his professional reputation, and showcase his wife’s architecture. As Carl works to build buy-in for his project, old secrets arise, including the circumstances surrounding a car accident that killed both Opgard parents when the brothers were teens. The remote Os hides even more tragedy and evil.
VERDICT Nesbø ‘s slow-burn thriller is guaranteed to be in high demand. As the story unfolds, it builds in dread and depravity. The small-town atmosphere resembles a Peyton Place as envisioned in an unlikely collaboration between Raymond Chandler and Henrik Ibsen. The complex characters and twisting plot will keep readers turning the pages and eager to discuss. [See Prepub Alert, 3/4/20.]
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