"Phantom", by Jo Nesbo

Phantom - Don Bartlett, Jo Nesbo, Jo Nesbo

Harry Hole book #9

Jo Nesbo certainly can do plots but I found “The Phantom” to be less outlandish than some of his previous Hole novels. It is a story very hard to follow.

“Violin” is the new synthetic drug: potent and plays havoc with Oslo’s population and its distribution is controlled by a Russian gangster “Dubai” a shadowy figure who lurks behind all the action in Phantom. Of course the drug syndicate wants Oleg dead and that gives Hole license to pursue.

What a strange way to open your story: a chapter narrated by a rat? Fortunately the story unfolds through two perspectives: a conventional third-person narrative that follows Hole on his journey, interspersed with first-person memories and observations from the drug dealer.

The development rambles a lot and I found it to be a very complicated story with lots of plot threads that doesn’t seem true. This is one story that is woefully overwritten. I was consistently lost as to what and who I was supposed to be paying attention to. Unlike “Snowman” and “Leopard” it felt stale and by far less interesting. It’s also a bit slow-paced. “Phantom” took a long time to build up before anything of note happened. The second half of the book is far better structured with all the requisite twists and turns and with endless action and violence. But the good parts came too late to be an enjoyable read. This story is so hard to follow that I wanted to drop it many times….. But I stuck with it and read it to the end….I knew I needed to do so in order to have a smooth intro to the following novel.

Some stories are better than others…..this one is not my preferred.