4 of 5 stars
Published in 2018
Thrilled to have received a Netgalley Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book, I got started right away but it took me awhile to finish due to being on vacation and having less time to read! I’m also amused to see the cover of the book making reference to The Snowman, an earlier Nesbø novel since I’m sure that’s the publicity machine’s effort to tie it into the recent movie made from The Snowman. Never mind.
This is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare project, bringing up to date a series of Shakespeare plays written as novels by many of the best writers we have currently. Who better to write about war, gangs and wrestling control at the top of the heap than crime novelist Jo Nesbø? In this novel, it takes place in the 1970s and the police in a Northern Scottish town are fighting against the Norwegian drug dealer gang, one of two drugs gangs operating in the area at the opening of the story. There’s also a lot of political maneuvering in the ranks of the various police branches with the ultimate prize of the chief of police, a powerful position, at stake.
Duncan is the commissioner as we open the story. MacBeth is the head of the SWAT unit and his ambition is sparked by his lover Lady, who runs a casino. (Mac)Duff heads up the Narco unit and he’s already got a full portion of ambition.There are three witch-like characters whose bubbly brew is filled with addictive meth. Even without the Shakespeare connection, this is a crime-noir thriller, dark, gritty and very well put together story. Corruption, loyalties, insanity, power, ambition, guilt, it’s all there. It follows the basic story of the play within the confines and power structure of the Police Commission, power and politics are still relevant even in a different environment, day and age.