Is it a new Harry Potter release? Another bizarre Norwegian festival? The return of Elvis? No —it’s Jo Nesbø’s new novel. On Thursday, one second past midnight, it hits the stores, some of which are open all night for this strange occasion.
Fans of Jo Nesbø and his cop character Harry Hole are likely to line up to secure their copy, some of them perhaps fresh from a special release show at Rockefeller, Oslo’s premier rock venue, which puts on a show with an improvised Harry Hole Band.
Hole in ten.
More than 10.000 copies have been pre-ordered of the new novel, simply titled Politi. It’s Nesbø’s tenth tale of crime and cruelty tackled by Harry Hole. It’s mostly set in Oslo, with horrible things going on the fringes of the forests known as Nordmarka. Nesbø’s novels have been sold to publishers in almost 100 countries, making the former footballer, stockbroker and rock star a very wealthy man. He is by far Norway’s most internationally known author.
Nesbø has dedicated the new novel to his late brother Knut, who died of cancer earlier this year. He was 51.
Several critics are raving about Politi. A reviewer in VG gave it top marks, calling it Nesbø’s best work to date. Aftenposten said it’s “by far a masterpiece in the art of manipulation and an unparalleled pageturner.” And Dagbladet concluded that “if you’re a Nesbø fan, you can’t possibly disappointed by Politi. But the reviewer added that it could easily have been made 100 pages shorter.
In a TV interview with Norwegian Broadcasting NRK (link to Dagsrevyen video, in Norwegian), Nesbø conced that he does care about what reviewers say, and that the less positive reviews were the most useful to him.
Publishing house Aschehoug has been rolling its massive marketing machine for weeks already. A 13-page excerpt was released to members of Bokklubben in early May, and more has come through Dagbladet and other media outlets. But according to Journalisten, which covers the media profession, more than a few have had their interview requests turned down by Achehoug’s gatekeeper, rights director Even Råkli.
For example, the medium-sized Dagsavisen ran a six page spread on Jo Nesbø at the weekend, but Nesbø’s voice was nowhere to read. Instead, there was an editor’s note saying that Dagsavisen had wanted a contribution from Nesbø, but his publisher had turned down the request, saying it didn’t fit into the marketing plan.
Råkli told Journalisten that a hundred requests have come in from large and small media, and that it just isn’t doable to accommodate them all. “That means that most of them are turned down,” he said.
In a the interview NRK (link to video, in Norwegian), Nesbø himself recalled the media’s attention during his years as front man of the successful rock act Di Derre.
“When I did first few Di Derre interviews, allowed to sit for half an hour with a reporter who seemed interessted and asked questions about myself, I thought I’d never get tired of it. But (…) at one point, one tires of oneself.”.
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