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Overview ebook Headhunters – Jo Nesbo:
Roger Brown is a wealthy and intelligent headhunter for a variety of corporations. He is also (in his creator’s words) a “son of a bitch”, and practises a successful sideline in art theft: a vocation that helps him maintain a splendidly appointed house and an exquisite wife, Diana.
Brown finds himself in dire financial straits, and is obliged to make some serious illegal money. He burgles the home of a candidate he has lined up for a prestigious job, and suddenly things go seriously amiss. He has targeted a Rubens as a way of settling his debts, but during the robbery Brown comes across disturbing facts about his wife. The following day, an associate in the robbery is discovered dead in his car, and Roger finds himself in the sights of another kind of headhunter.
If you are a Nesbo aficionado, hungry for another dose of his damaged but sympathetic copper Harry Hole, you will be obliged to adjust your expectations. The central character in this standalone novel is (on first impression) an unpleasant, manipulative piece of work, and it is a measure of the author’s skill that we find ourselves thoroughly on his side. Recent novels by Nesbo have been imposing, lengthy pieces, but Headhunters is more economical. Written in a terse, pithy style (and translated in customarily nimble fashion by Don Bartlett), it concentrates on just three characters: two men, and a woman who is an object of desire for both.
It’s no surprise that a successful film has already been made of the novel (the first of his books Nesbo has allowed to be filmed), as the cinematic quality of Headhunters makes it a particularly invigorating read. After the mass killings in Oslo, Nesbo was in demand as a commentator on the psychological state of his country (he had already written about Norwegian neo-Nazis), but his first novel to appear since those traumatic events is more straightforward than, say, The Snowman. If none of the author’s usual insight into Norway is forthcoming, a sizeable measure of sheer entertainment is on offer. Nesboites might like the change of pace.
Reader Review ebook Headhunters – Jo Nesbo:
A clever and elegant portrait of the dark excesses of our corporate culture as revealed through a desperate cat-and-mouse game between figures reaching for the top of the heap. My moderate rating reflects only my personal level of pleasure, in the same way that I can admire a painting such as Munch’s “The Scream” without wanting to dwell with it very long.
Roger Brown is an effete, manipulating cad who strives to be the best as his executive headhunting agency, Alfa, in Oslo. You can’t appreciating the artfulness in all the psychological tricks he uses to assure that without fail he picks the best man for the CEO positions he is well paid to fill and that his client candidates get perfectly placed in high positions. I came to see how he deserved the luxurious lifestyle he leads and his beautiful trophy wife, Diana, who runs an art gallery. That he truly loves her makes us see him as human. But such a love can prove to be an Achilles heel, and denying such a wife’s desire to have a baby can have consequences.
Roger’s greed sows the seeds for trouble. In developing a Dutch candidate for a GPS technology company, one Clas Greve, Brown learns he owns a Reubens lost during World War 2. Because Brown lives beyond his means, he has a hobby of art theft. Is the well-crafted theft of this Reubens (revealed on the book jacket) just another bad-boy behavior we can kind of admire, or does this finally move you the reader to root for his downfall? As Greve starts taking actions against Brown, does he become the hero of the tale? With his military background as an ex-special forces soldier and an expert in advanced technologies, he is a dangerous opponent. The shadowy war between Brown and Greve takes a nasty turn when Diana becomes a pawn in the match.
This was my first Nesbo and served as a good prelude to tapping into his Harry Hole detective series, which is so well respected in the vanguard of the wave of Nordic noir mysteries reaching the American shores .