THE SON is a pulsating crime novel, epic in its emotional scope and moral complexity; a novel I thoroughly enjoyed, and admired for its sheer craftsmanship. Jo Nesbo balances a huge cast of heroes and villains, allowing each of them their moments under the spotlight, weaving their distinct stories into an intricate, but marvellously palatable narrative that resonates long after the final page is turned. Good and evil are almost entirely nebulous here; the characters in THE SON exist in a world of grays.
Sonny Lofthus is the focal point; other characters are sucked into the vortex he creates when, after being imprisoned for over a decade for crimes he didn’t commit, content to live the rest of his days in this desolate landscape, he learns a long-hidden secret concerning his father and escapes. On the outside, he becomes vengeful crusader, hunting those responsible for his life’s disorder. Enter the principal investigator, Simon Kefas – who knew Sonny’s father – THE SON opens hinting at a standard cat-and-mouse affair, cop versus vigilante, but it becomes something much more convoluted and darker – something more potent and memorable.
I haven’t read all of Nesbo’s novels, so labelling it his best might seem shallow; but he’ll be hard-pressed to top THE SON. It’s thrilling and absorbing, filled with characters you’ll care about, with an ending you won’t expect. Undoubtedly set to be one of my favorite novels of 2014, and it’s pushing for a place in my All Time Top 10.