Having been an avid reader of both these great authors for several years, now,  I felt that I should do a compare and contrast of the two.

Internationally acclaimed Norwegian crime writer, Jo Nesbø – primarily known for his novels featuring the maverick Inspector Harry Hole – has a very intriguing writing style. Whilst the original books are written in Norwegian, I believe that Don Bartlett has done a wonderful job of translating them to English. The Harry Hole books are gritty,  action-packed, and also have an element of darkness in them, especially with some of the grisly and gruesome murders described. During one of his interviews, Nesbø himself said that “Even if you’re writing a psychopath, you have to find that little piece of psychopath that you have within yourself, and then you have to enlarge them a bit.“. He has a cinematic way of writing. It’s as if you’re watching scenes from a movie, not reading a book.

As was the case when I read “The Leopard“, there were several references to the nemesis in the previous book – “The Snowman” – which is why I’d suggest that (unlike what I did) you read the books in order, starting with “The Bat“.  I’m really looking forward to continue reading the rest of the books in the series, and to get my hands on Jo Nesbø’s upcoming Harry Hole novel titled “The Thirst“, which will be released later this year, on the 20th of April.

Next up is Peter Robinson. The British-born Canadian author, best known for his crime novels set in Yorkshire, featuring DCI (now promoted to Detective Superintendent) Alan Banks. Right off the bat, this guy knows his music. Plain and simple. His novels are peppered with references to various different songs, bands and singers. So much so that whenever I read a book of his, it’s as if I’m listening to a movie soundtrack. In fact, in this interesting 26-minute podcast (https://goo.gl/DApwNM) Robinson explains exactly how he integrates music into his novels. Apart from the plethora of different reference types, his DCI Banks books are also rich in vocabulary. In contrast to Jo Nesbø’s works,  Peter Robinson has a more realistic approach to crime writing. His works are slow-moving, yet thorough and descriptive, showing the slower pace of actual police work as opposed to the rushed pace of many thrillers.

Although the release date of his next DCI Alan Banks book – “Sleeping in the Ground” – is yet to be revealed, I have no doubt that Peter Robinson, once again, will not disappoint us.

Below, I have listed a few of my favourite Nesbø and Robinson quotes:

  • “Then there’s Facebook and Twitter, the narcissist’s Elysian Fields.” (from “Children of the Revolution” by Peter Robinson)
  • “… four officers should be able to manage a twenty-four-hour watch between them. I mean, we don’t need anything too elaborate here. It’s not exactly Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.’” (from “Abattoir Blues” by Peter Robinson)
  • “Colbjørnsen’s Adam’s apple was running a shuttle service.” (from “The Leopard” by Jo Nesbø)
  • “That was a long time ago. Water under the bridge. Scars under the skin. Versicolor on the soul.” (from “The Snowman” by Jo Nesbø)

– Preston Carbonaro

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