Jon, the narrator of this excellent standalone from Edgar-finalist Nesbø, is a “fixer,” or hit man, akin to the hero of 2015’s Blood on Snow. Jon, who has done jobs for an Oslo crime boss known as the Fisherman, has fled the city for Kåsund, a tiny village in the far north populated by Sami (Lapps) and dominated by a very strict religious ethos. Taking refuge in a church, he tells the townspeople he meets that his name is Ulf. A stranger in a strange land, Ulf slowly reveals what led him to leave Oslo: a failed hit and a theft that has Johnny Moe, the Fisherman’s henchman, after him. Ulf is a bad boy with a heart of gold; he got into trouble because he was trying to help someone close to him. His self-mocking deprecations are endearing: “Not that I’m an irresponsible or careless person; I’ve just got really bad judgment.” Immaculately plotted and perfectly paced, the book is also darkly funny and deadly serious. Scandinavian gloom notwithstanding, it has a neatly satisfying and surprisingly moving ending. Agent: Niclas Salomonsson, Salomonsson Agency (Sweden). (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/21/2015 Release date: 02/16/2016 Genre: Fiction
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