Crime king Jo Nesboe's tale of revenge has echoes of his own father

Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:29am EDT
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By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO (Reuters) - Jo Nesboe, one of Scandinavia's most successful crime writers, explores revenge and father-son dramas in his latest thriller "The Son", which tracks his own story of learning his father had fought with Hitler's army.

Together with Sweden's Stieg Larsson and fellow Norwegian Karin Fossum, Nesboe is one of the biggest stars of the Nordic Noir genre that has enthralled legions of international readers by exploring the darker side of these prosperous societies.

A former footballer, stockbroker, journalist and rock star, Nesboe has sold more than 20 million copies in some 40 countries worldwide. Hollywood has been knocking at the door and wants to adapt several of his novels.

His latest book tells of a young man in prison who listens to the confessions of other inmates and absolves them of their sins. He escapes from jail when he finds out during a confession a secret about his disgraced father.

"I wanted to build a story around the idea of an avengeful God and the article of faith on Jesus as the executioner of an all powerful God who judges who lives and who dies," he said.

"What if we took it seriously and saw an avengenful son who exacts revenge for him and his father?" Nesboe, 54, told Reuters in a cafe in his western Oslo neighborhood of Majorstua.

The book may have been Nesboe's way to explore his own relationship with his father, especially his discovery as a teenager that he had fought with the Germans on the eastern European front.

Norway was occupied by Hitler's armies during the Second World War. King Haakon VII and the government went into exile, while at home Vidkun Quisling - whose last name is a byword for traitor in English - set up a Nazi puppet government.   Continued...

Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesboe poses for a photo in Oslo April 9, 2014. REUTERS/Gwladys Fouche