Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review: Phantom by Jo Nesbo

Phantom by Jo Nesbo
Publisher: Random House/Knopf
Publish Date: October 2, 2012

From the jacket:

When Harry left Oslo again for Hong Kong-fleeing the traumas of life as a cop-he thought he was there for good. But then the unthinkable happened. The son of the woman he loved, lost, and still loves is arrested for murder: Oleg, the boy Harry helped raise but couldn't help deserting when he fled. Harry has come back to prove that Oleg is not a killer. Barred from rejoining the police force, he sets out on a solitary, increasingly dangerous investigation that takes him deep into the world of the most virulent drug to ever hit the streets of Oslo (and the careers of some of the city's highest officials), and into the maze of his own past, where he will find the wrenching truth that finally matters to Oleg, and to himself.

Phantom kept me guessing the whole time I read it.  I haven't read every single Jo Nesbo book, but this was one of the best books I've read from him. Complicated but coherent, the plot incorporates and develops existing characters from his previous work while incorporating new and interesting characters.  Seeing the havoc that the drug Violin brings into the streets and people of Oslo as well as his beloved Oleg.  Harry has to comes to term with the results of leaving former love Raquel & her son Oleg and wonder whether sticking around might have helped Oleg.  Each discovery he makes and clues he uncovers bring him closer to a truth he might not want.  For me, the cherry on top of this delicious novel was the ending.  I love that Jo Nesbo was willing to go there.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Banned Book Week

Reprinted by permission of the American Library Association.  
Banned Books Week is an annual event promoting free access to information and freedom from censorship.  Every year, books are removed (usually temporarily, rarely permanently) from circulation at libraries and schools due to challenges by "concerned citizens".  For 30 years, this event has increased public knowledge of attempts at book banning and highlighted the ways to fight the ban attempts.  Check out the website for events and tips on how you can celebrate banned books week.

Recently challenged books include The Hunger Games, To Kill A Mockingbird, Twilight, The Color Purple, The Kite Runner.  Looking at the list the common theme seems to be anything that has even a hint of sexuality or violence.  The challenges very often are based on keeping the children away from inappropriate material.  Squeamishness about sex and violence is understandable but acting like teenagers or even children should be sheltered from even age appropriate discussions of these topics just doesn't reflect reality, particularly a reality where kids spend tons of time on the internet and many have phones with data plans.  What are some of the banned books you've enjoyed?