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Headhunter by Jo Nesboe

Headhunter (original 2008; edition 2012)

by Jo Nesboe

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901609,793 (3.46)32
Authors:Jo Nesboe
Info:Ullstein Taschenbuchvlg. (2012), Edition: Sonderausgabe., Paperback
Collections:Your library

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Headhunters by Jo Nesbo (2008)


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» See also 32 mentions

English (43)  Norwegian (3)  French (2)  German (2)  Danish (2)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
Roger Brown is a corporate headhunter, and he's a master of his profession. But one career simply can't support his luxurious lifestyle and his wife's fledgling art gallery. At an art opening one night he meets Clas Greve, who is not only the perfect candidate for a major CEO job, but also, perhaps, the answer to his financial woes: Greve just so happens to mention that he owns a priceless Peter Paul Rubens painting that's been lost since World War II - and Roger Brown just so happens to dabble in art theft. But when he breaks into Greve's apartment, he finds more than just the painting. And Clas Greve may turn out to be the worst thing that's ever happened to Roger Brown.
With the month fast disappearing and not having got my Scandinavian crime fiction fix yet, I was, after an exchange of views with Keishon from Yet Another Crime Fiction Blog tempted into giving this standalone book by Nesbo a spin. Nesbo’s adult books tend to deal with his main character Harry Hole in a series of police procedurals, with Headhunters being his sole venture away from Hole. My first experience of the author was earlier this year when The Bat, his debut novel was finally released in English for the first time. As the second Hole adventure doesn’t appear until towards the end of this year, my OCD tendencies steered me away from later books in the series, that have long been available in the UK.
Well, how did we get on with Headhunters?
At 380-odd pages long and only taking maybe 2 or 3 working days to read, it was fast and using the old cliché – a bit of a page-turner.
What was our overall assessment? Enjoyable, interesting, one to recommend?
Hmm.... I would have to say I enjoyed it, without actually being able to gush or enthuse about it dramatically. Would I recommend it.........I wouldn’t put anyone off reading it, but conversely it’s not a book that I will be forcing on to other people either. A bit of a fence-sitting here.
What was the problem then?
Whilst the plot and premise of the book interested me to a degree, my main problem was that Roger Brown wasn’t particularly likeable. There’s a thin line between characters that exude self-confidence and have an appeal that has you rooting for them and characters that emit arrogance and leave you indifferent to their fate. Brown/Nesbo crossed the line, whether Nesbo intentionally portrayed Brown in this unflattering way would be interesting to know. His combatant in Headhunters, Clas Greve instead of contrasting with Brown was of the same ilk, gaining his super-ego from having previously excelled whilst in the Dutch military.
The plot was a little bit far-fetched, but as all fiction is made up words, I was ok suspending belief for the duration of the story. Nesbo introduced a twist towards the end, that whilst not quite telegraphed had a certain predictability about it. I was a little bit confused at the switch around, but not enough to force myself to re-cap and reread maybe the previous 10 or so pages to see if it was totally plausible or to perhaps pick-up on a small hint I may have missed.
The characters I liked most in the book were several of the supporting cast. One whose name escapes me was Brown’s partner in crime. I found myself somewhat sympathetic to him, particularly as he was so hopelessly love-struck, though I’m not sure his paranoid tendencies would have earmarked him as ideal boyfriend material. The second character I enjoyed was Ferdy, Brown’s underling in the workplace. Had both Brown and Greve exploded from a dangerous overload of testosterone, I would happily have watched Ferdy sail in to take the spoils.
I’ll go a 3 from 5. There wasn’t enough about it to merit a 4 or drag it above the barrier of averagely-interestingly- enjoyable. It was better than a 2, insofar as I was never mired in treacle reading it or ever felt like stopping at any point.
I’m unsure where I picked up my copy from. It would have been late last year or early this year, second hand either via Amazon, E-bay or as a book swap.
I haven’t been put off reading more from Nesbo, but as stated before will be holding off until I get my hands on Cockroach.
As a further note, I believe there has been a film adaptation of the book. I haven't been compelled to find out more about it, or hunt it down.
( )
  col2910 | Apr 17, 2014 |
I've read 3 of the Harry Hole series and really liked them. This is proof that the guy can really write. ( )
  bwkramer | Nov 19, 2013 |
"I had been thinking of putting a single bullet through your head as a mark of respect for being a prey worthy of a hunter, Roger. But I think I'll go back to the original plan after all. Shooting you in the stomach. Have I told you about the stomach shots? How the bullet bores through your spleen causing gastric acid to leak out and burn its way through the rest of the intestines? Then I have to wait until you beg me to kill you. And you will, Roger."

Fast paced. Couldn't put it down, Can't wait for the movie. Four stars. ( )
  richardcjennings | Nov 11, 2013 |
Nesbo takes a step away from his Harry Hole mysteries and gets into another equally interesting place, complete with his usual damaged characters living difficult lives, being not quite honest with themselves, wrapped up in what they deem to be their success stories, and overplaying their lives.

Headhunters also figure in more than one capacity. There are the egotistical headhunters who interview and recommend top level applicants for top level positions; there is a nod to the headhunters of the tropical rainforests through the auspices of "curacit," a deadly poison that is administered by a sharp prick by a needle embedded in a small curacit-filled grape-sized ball; there are the "great white hunters" of the corporate world who are looking for heads for their walls.

And, not to disappoint, Nesbo still manages to surprise me at the end. That's what I enjoy the most about Nesbo. He can always figure out how to turn the tables in the end and leave me with my jaw dropped, wondering how I missed that twist. ( )
  Hanneri | Oct 14, 2013 |
What was this all about? I am a fan of Nesbø but I found this book very disappointing. THe characters and the plot are completely unbelievable. I know that part of the appeal of the Harry Hole series is the false clues, the red herrings, but the ones in this book are just totally ridiculous. I don't even know why I finished it. I should have left it as soon as the military guy made his appearance and the alpha-male competition started. ( )
  femme_letale | Oct 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
If you thought Scandinavian crime fiction couldn’t get better than Steig Larson and Henning Mankell, you’re wrong.. Norway’s Jo Nesbo is better than either and this book is far and away his finest. Already a best-selling film in Europe and just sold for a U.S. version, Headhunters is smart, skillful, perfectly cast and full of twists that will keep you spinning.

Nesbo has given his stalwart Oslo cop Harry Hole a rest. The headhunter is Roger Brown, the most successful in Norway. Everyone vies for his skills and pays plenty. But Roger is living way beyond his considerable means. One problem is his gorgeous and expensive wife, Diana. But not to worry, dear. Roger’s profession takes him into the mansions of the richest and most cultivated, so he has a second income. He’s an accomplished art thief.

Then comes his golden opportunity. He learns of the location of a priceless painting by Rubens, stolen by the Germans, and currently on the wall of one of his clients. But when he arrives to steal the painting, he discovers there’s far more happening with his darling wife than he suspected. When his partner in crime is murdered, Roger knows that he’s in someone’s crosshairs. There’s a hunter on the trail of the headhunter and Roger is going to need all his wit and speed to save his own skin.

Smart dialogue, intricate plotting, brilliantly conceived characters, perfect pacing. This novel should put Nesbo at the top of any reader’s must-have list.
added by VivienneR | editThe Globe and Mail, Canada, Margaret Cannon (Oct 12, 2011)

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jo Nesboprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bartlett, DonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Finnish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Kahden ajoneuvon yhteentörmäyksessä on kyse yksinkertaisesta fysiikasta.
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Original title: Hodejegerne.

This is not part of the Harry Hole series.
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Roger Brown is a headhunter and art thief living beyond his means and when he meets Clas Greve, a corporate candidate who reveals that he owns a priceless Rubens painting, Roger breaks into his apartment, initiating a series of events which puts Roger's life in danger.… (more)

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