Jo Nesbo is a critically acclaimed Norwegian writer and musician. He has been hailed as one of the best crime novelists. Critics also claim that he has brought about a widening of the scope of crime novels and the way they are written. This article provides you with a complete list of all of his works.
“Everything you do leaves traces, doesn’t it. The life you’ve lived is written all over you, for those who can read.”
― Jo Nesbø
Jo Nesbø is a multi-faceted person. He is an economics and a business administration graduate, and was briefly a professional footballer playing in the Norwegian premier league, till a grave injury put an end to his career. Now, not only is he an exceptional award-winning writer of crime novels, but he is also the lead singer and lyric writer for a Norwegian rock band called “Di Derre”. To top it all off, he has now also ventured into writing children’s books entitled the “Doctor Procter” series. His books were initially published in Norwegian and have now been translated in more than 40 languages. His talents and achievements leave you in awe of his intellect and his joie de vivre.
Novels by Jo Nesbø
Harry Hole Series
(English: The Bat)
Harry Hole is an inspector in the Oslo Crime Squad. He is sent to Sydney to aid a murder investigation, with strict orders to keep to himself and away from any sign of trouble. Never one to sit quietly on the sidelines, Harry ends up befriending one of the lead investigators along with one of the witnesses, and is drawn further into the mysterious case. As they team up to investigate, they make a ominous discovery that the current case is just the latest in a long string of unsolved murders committed by a psychopath meticulously working his way across the country. The closer they get to identifying and capturing the killer, a realization dawns on them that everyone’s lives are in danger. Especially the lives of those investigating the case!
★ The Riverton Prize 1997 for Best Norwegian Crime Novel of the Year
★ The Glass Key Award 1998 for Best Nordic Crime Novel of the Year
The death of the Norwegian ambassador to Thailand in a Bangkok brothel is a scandalous nightmare. Harry Hole is enlisted and dispatched to deal with it and to stop the case from being made public. On his arrival in Bangkok, he realizes that the case is just the tip of the iceberg, with something sinister looming beneath. Not unlike how a few cockroaches imply the presence of a multitude of cockroaches hiding in the walls. Amidst the sights and sounds of Bangkok, Harry weaves through the bars, temples, opium dens, and other tourist traps on the streets, attempting to retrace the ambassador’s steps prior to his death. As he investigates further, he realizes that no one want him to make inquiries, not even himself.
(English: The Redbreast)
1944: Daniel, a legendary Norwegian soldier fighting tooth and nail against the progress of Bolshevism on the Russian frontlines, is killed. A few years later, a wounded soldier gains consciousness in a hospital in Vienna. His interaction and involvement with a young nurse cause lasting consequences that affect the next century.
1999: Having caused an imbroglio while on the job, Harry Hole is assigned to surveillance duty. He is assigned to monitor neo-Nazi activities; very humdrum until his interest is piqued by a report of the firing of a rare and strange gun. As he begins to investigate, the death of a former soldier by with his throat slit, plunges Harry into a quest that will see him racing from South Africa to all the way in Vienna in a bid to outwit and capture the killer.
★ Best Norwegian Crime Novel Ever Written awarded by the Norwegian book clubs in 2004
★ The Glass Key prize for Best Novel of the Year 2000
How do you apprehend a murderer when you’re name is on top of the list of suspects? Harry Hole is in the middle of investigating a bank robbery case, with CCTV footage of a man shooting and killing a cashier at the bank.
After a dinner date with an ex-girlfriend, he wakes up the next morning with no recollection of the events of the past 12 hours. To make it worse, the girl is mysteriously found dead, and threatening e-mails are being sent to Harry. In such a flummoxing situation, he struggles to clear his name, while the bank robberies continue unchecked.
★ Macavity Award Nominee for Best Mystery Novel (2010)
★ Edgar Award Nominee for Best Novel (2010)
★ The Mads Wiel Nygaards Bursary (2002)
(English: The Devil’s Star)
A woman is murdered and her body mutilated in the privacy of her own home. A finger from her left hand has been severed, and a tiny red diamond in the shape of a pentagram, the devil’s star, is hidden behind her eyelid.
The case is assigned to Harry Hole and his enduring foe Tom Waaler. Although Harry is reluctant to take on the case, being on notice to quit his job, he has no choice but to get on with the investigation. With the emergence of a wave of similar murders, the pattern points towards a serial killer on the loose. The only way left to apprehend the killer is by solving the puzzle of the devil’s star.
★ The Finnish Academy of Crime Writers’ Special Commendation 2007 for Excellence in Foreign Crime Writing
(English: The Redeemer)
A shot rings out at the Salvation Army Christmas concert, and a man is murdered. The face of the killer is caught on film by a press photographer present at the concert. When the photos are examined, the identification expert is baffled at how different the killer looks in each photo. Now Harry must hunt down this seemingly faceless hit-man before he strikes and kills again.
(English: The Snowman)
A boy wakes up in the middle of a wintry night to discover the disappearance of his mother. Out in the yard, is the mysteriously appeared snowman with his mother’s scarf around its neck. At the same time, an ominous letter finds its way to detective Harry Hole. As he investigates the woman’s mysterious disappearance, he begins to form a theory that the letter he received maybe linked to the case, along with the all the cases of women who disappeared on the day of the first snowfall. While testing out his theory, a realization dawns on him that he is being manipulated as a pawn in a game that runs on the whims of the killer. He must push back from the brink of insanity and outsmart the killer before it is too late.
★ The Norwegian Book Club Prize for Best Novel of the Year 2008
★ The Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize or Best Novel of the Year 2007
(English: The Leopard)
Having accumulated a sizable debt, Harry Hole has fled to Hong Kong to hide from the creditors. Meanwhile, a murder case of two women leave the police clueless and baffled. The women have puncture wounds on their throats and have been drowned in a pool of their own blood. The police decide to enlist Harry’s help. They try to entice him to come back by offering to erase his debts. Despite these efforts, Harry has no intention of going back, until something so horrifying happens that he is left with no choice but to return.
After solving a case in Oslo and returning to Hong Kong, Harry believes his days of fighting crime as a cop are over. Just when he is getting used to the life of a retired cop, something inconceivable happens and pulls him back to Oslo. The son of the love of his life has been arrested for murder. Banned from returning to the police, Harry sets out on a solitary mission to prove the innocence of the son, Oleg. His investigation will take him to the labyrinth of his past, where he will find answers to questions that matter to Oleg and himself.
The police are in desperate need of Harry’s help, with a killer on the loose, who is brutally slaying police officers at the scenes of crimes they once investigated, but could not manage to solve. The police are scared, and the media reaction is hysterical. But just when he is needed the most by his near and dear ones, Harry finds himself unable to help and protect anyone. Not even himself.
Doctor Proctor Series
Doktor Proktors prompepulver (2007)
(English: Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder)
Nilly, an eleven-year-old, moves to a new neighborhood, where he meets Doctor Proctor. The doctor is an eccentric professor, famous for inventing unique powders and potions. His latest invention is a fart powder, which is powerful enough to be used to send people to outer space. Now, Nilly along with the doctor and his new friend, Lisa, must protect the powder and prevent others from using it for evil.
Doktor Proktors tidsbadekaret (2008)
(English: Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder: Bubble in the Bathtub)
The doctors latest invention: a time-traveling bathtub. To use it, all you need to do is lather up the special Time Soap and focus on where and when you want to travel to. The doctor plans to use his invention to go back in time to stop the love of his life from marrying an evil count. But when things don’t go according to plan, Nilly and Lisa take it upon themselves to correct all wrongs. And when the situation seems too far gone to be salvageable, the fart powder is there to the rescue.
Doktor Proktor og verdens undergang. Kanskje (2010)
(English: Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder: The End of the World. Maybe)
While Nilly, Lisa, and the doctor are busy making new inventions, they are missing out on the broadcasts of an extremely popular singing contest on TV. Soon, they realize that their friends and family have started acting differently. And the only ones acting weird are the ones watching TV. What’s going on could lead to the end of the world, and it is up to Nilly, Lisa, and the doctor to save the world.
Doktor Proktor og det store gullrøveriet (2012)
(English: Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder: The Great Gold Robbery)
A Russian billionaire robs the Norwegian Gold Reserve and melts all the gold to form the Premier Soccer League trophy. The doctor, Nilly, and Lisa must try to get back the trophy at any cost. After several failed attempts, they realize the only way left to retrieve the trophy is to compete for it and win it back. They team up with the underdog Rotten Ham soccer team, and along with the help of the doctors crazy inventions, set out to win the trophy before it is too late.
(English: Carousel Music)
This book is a collection of 11 short stories inspired by the experiences gained by the author while traveling around Norway. The book is named after an album of the same name produced by Jo Nesbø’s band. Each story in the book is related to a song in the music album.
Roger Brown is an excellent corporate headhunter, but his salary is not enough to support his opulent lifestyle along with his wife’s art gallery. A chance meeting with Clas Greve makes him feel like his prayers are about to be answered. For, Greve happens to possess a rare and valuable Peter Paul Rubens painting and Brown happens to be adept at art theft. But when he breaks in to steal the painting, he realizes he might have chewed off more than he could handle. It was adapted into a film of the same name in 2011.
(English: The Son)
Sonny Lofthus is serving prison time for crimes he hasn’t committed in exchange for a continuous supply of heroin. His addiction is rooted and entangled with his father’s suicide in the past. His father chose to end his own life to prevent being exposed as a corrupt cop. Sonny’s unique predicament makes him the center of the corruption maelstrom in the prison, with everyone there focused on keeping him high on drugs and in prison, and all of them working under Twin, Oslo’s crime kingpin. But when a few truths about Sonny’s father surface, he escapes from the prison and begins to hunt down all those responsible for the crimes that he has been paying the price for. But he is not the only one doing the hunting, as he himself is now being hunted down by Twin, the cops, and the one sole person who knows the truth about everything.
Stemmer fra Balkan (1999)
(English: Figures in the Balkans)
This book is a documentary book jointly written by Jo Nesbø and Espen Sobye. The book narrates the events experienced by the authors during the course of their travels across the nation of Serbia. They also discuss the Kososvo war that began on March 23, 1999. The book analyzes the war, the issues associated with it, and the part Norway plays in it.
Jo Nesbø excels at writing any genre that captures his fancy. From crime novels to children’s books, and finally to non-fiction works, he is an adept writer who knows how to mold words in a way that leaves the reader in awe, and wanting more.