by Nesbo, Jo

Reimagines Shakespeare's "Macbeth," set in a rundown industrial town, where Hecate, a drug dealer, tells Inspector Macbeth he will replace the chief of police Duncan and his lover Lady plots to make it happen.

JO NESBO is a musician, songwriter, and economist, as well as a writer. His Harry Hole novels include The Snowman, The Leopard, and Phantom and he is the author of several stand-alone novels, including The Son, as well as the Doctor Proctor series of children's books. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Glass Key for best Nordic crime novel.

*Starred Review* In some of his most revered tragedies, Shakespeare wrote crime fiction. Hamlet, on one level, is a detective story starring a quintessentially flawed sleuth, and Macbeth-except for the ending, which, by Elizabethan convention, restores a measure of order to society-is the darkest of noirs. NesbÝ, one of our contemporary noir masters, offers only the illusion of restored order in this latest entry in the Hogarth Shakespeare Project, which reinterprets the Bard's works across multiple genres. Hewing closely to the story, NesbÝ fashions Macbeth as the head of a SWAT unit in a rain-darkened, drug-infested Scottish city. His success in battling a notorious biker gang lifts Macbeth near the top of the police force's upper echelon, but standing in the way of still more power is the corruption-fighting chief commissioner, Duncan. Leave it to Macbeth's lover-known here only as Lady-who owns a casino called Inverness, to conceive a plan in which Macbeth kills Duncan and takes his place. Helped along by their addiction to a superdrug called Brew, Lady and Macbeth do the deed and then gradually unravel in a guilt-fueled fever dream that prompts still more violence. NesbÝ infuses the mythic elements of the tragedy with bold strokes of horrific, Don Winslow-like drug-war realism. The result displays in a strikingly original way both the timelessness of Shakespeare's art and the suppleness of noir to range well beyond the strictures of formula. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

The reigning king of Scandinavian noir (The Thirst, 2017, etc.) updates the Scottish play.Most of the cast members retain their own names, or something very like them. The setting—an indeterminate town during the drug wars of the 1970s—is, like the settings of earlier entries in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, both the same and different. Nesbø's Inspector Macbeth is the respected leader of the SWAT team whose efficiency and honesty mark him as a natural leader when he takes charge of the otherwise spectacularly botched stakeout of a drug transfer to the heavily armed members of Norse Riders. Swiftly leapfrogging his old friend Inspector Duff to become head of Organized Crime, he's pressed by his wife, Lady, to get ahead even further and faster by killing Chief Police Commissioner Duncan while he sleeps in the Inverness Casino, which Lady owns. As in Shakespeare, Duncan's murder unleashes the powers of hell, which here take the form of massive and spreading c orruption—everyone on every conceivable side of the law seems to be double-crossing someone else—more fully fleshed-out accounts of Lady's background, Duff's escape, Macbeth's tangled alliances, and a body count even higher than the Bard's. Reimagining Shakespeare's royal tragedy as just another chapter in the essentially unending struggle of working towns against the familiar tokens of criminal blight, though it produces a less offbeat update than the film Scotland, PA, is eminently in the tradition of the gangster remake Joe Macbeth, and Nesbø's antihero has a chance to get off some trenchant one-liners about himself, his legion of enemies, and his town, which "likes dead criminals better than duplicitous policemen." On the whole, though, this brutal account is no tragedy. The main takeaway is how remarkably contemporary the most traditional of Shakespeare's great tragedies remains, whether it's updated or not. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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