MIDNIGHT SUN by Jo Nesbo
While waiting April for the release of the eleventh book in Harry Hole's series, THE THIRST [that you can book here ] that is no doubt one of the most anticipated novels in the nordic crime fiction scene, let's talk about MIDNIGHT SUN.
This is the second chapter of a trilogy started in 2015 with Blood on Snow and will end with The Kidnapping.
Norway, 1970. A man whose name is Ulf is on a run. Eighteen hundred kilometers from Oslo to the remotest corners of the Norwegian peninsula in the small village of Kasund, up on the mountains where the sun never sets, he hopes to find a place to hide from Oslo's most feared drug lord, the Fisherman. Here, at the borders of the North Pole he finds a shack in the woods to hide and meets a woman, Lea and his son Knut, that are willing to help him. But while Lea provides him with a rifle and Knut brings essential supplies, the midnight sun is slowly driving Jon to insanity.
And then he discovers that the Fisherman’s men are getting closer...
As well as its multifaceted nature, it was to be expected that sooner or later Nesbo would have created another hero besides from Harry Hole. And there was also to be expected that his novels would have become increasingly introspective, as already had announced in the first chapter of this trilogy presenting Olaf, atypical killer, stutterer, affected by dyslexia and sensitive soul with a passion for books.
What stays the same in MIDNIGHT SUN is the prose, Nesbo's signature. Essential, clean and made of short sentences and few bare descriptions.
Ulf, whose real name is Jon, is a complex and deep character, marked by a difficult past that put him in front of suffered and hard choices. Because of money problems he finds himself having to deal with the Fisherman ( we already met in Blood on Snow) which makes of Jon his Hitman so that he can pay off for the favors he has been granted. But again, Nesbo seems committed to redeem his murderous hero from his despicable past, casting over Jon/Ulf a benevolent and purifying light. Thanks to the help of a woman and a child he will turn into a totally different person and also dampen the atmosphere tearing few smiles.
Although the novel is less than 300 pages and the style of Nesbo keep the standards up as we are used to, I had a hard time getting into the story. It flows slowly and lack of action until the very end of the book, with an end that left me rather disappointed.
A soft-Nesbo, light and fast read that even without a compelling storyline manages to stand out with such a peculiar protagonist. Recommended to those who have never read anything by Nesbo and therefore will be able to enjoy MIDNIGHT SUN without unprejudice and comparisons.