Norwegian author Jo Nesbø was once again a center of attention in Oslo this week, when publishing company Aschehoug launched his latest crime novel starring investigator Harry Hole. Amidst all the traditional hype came news that the initial print run will be bigger than ever, with 300,000 books.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported Wednesday that Aschehoug clearly has great expectations. “This is the biggest for a first edition,” the publishing firm’s communications chief, Mona Ek, said at Tuesday night’s launch. She noted that the book had already received good reviews, and with Nesbø’s books selling millions of copies (more than 30 million, to be exact) worldwide, “he is an extremely important author for us.”
Not everyone was giving Nesbøs new book rave reviews. Aftenposten’s own book critic, Pål Gerhard Olsen, called Nesbø’s plot “smart and effectively orchestrated, but at the same time, the book follows the rules so slavishly that there’s something predictable about it, even at the moments of surprise.”
Ek nonetheless claimed that Nesbø is also “important for the entire book branch, for everyone working with books and for all booksellers.” His crime novels have been translated into 50 languages and his latest, called Tørst (Thirst), is likely to be popular as well.
The book opens with a murder victim found in his home with bite marks on his throat. The victim’s body has also been drained of blood. That sets off suspicions of vampirism, and Harry Hole knows better than anyone that some of the worst serial killers in history have been diagnosed as such, but he has another motive for assisting the police…
With that tease, Aschehoug is just waiting for sales to take off. There will be lots more Jo Nesbø hype later this year when the latest film based on Nesbø’s Snømannen (The Snowman) book premieres. Nesbø is also celebrating the 20th anniversary of his award-winning debut novel featuring Harry Hole, Flaggermusmannen (The Bat).
“This is lots of fun,” Nesbø, who’ll turn 57 next week, told Aftenposten at his launch party at Parkteatret in Oslo’s Grünerløkka district, where Tuva Syvertsen from Valkyrien and Magnus Larsen Jr from Nesbø’s own band, Di Derre, performed, along with The Rainmakers. Nesbø’s local fans were also out in force.
“I was sad after reading the last book, when it seemed like Harry Hole died,” Gry Hege Stangbye told Aftenposten. “Now I’m very glad he’s back.”