A glittering gem in the ‘Scandi-crime’ genre, Headhunters is clever, sadistic and fast-paced.

Headhunters

Jo Nesbo

SCANDINAVIAN authors seem to have a knack for producing best-selling crime thrillers, and Jo Nesbo seems to be the next big thing in the 'Scandi-crime' genre.

Headhunters is a classic of the genre, with far too many double-crossings to keep track of and impossibly cold-hearted characters getting themselves into increasingly far-fetched scrapes.

'King of the pile', Roger Brown, is renowned in Oslo, with a clever, beautiful wife, and a perfect record of getting his clients to hire whoever he recommends.

His record is jeopardised when he meets Clas Greve, who is well aware of the psychological tricks Roger usually uses to manipulate his candidates and has no qualms revealing his unsettling past of man-hunting and torture.

As we learn about Roger's side-line in art theft, we forget how dangerous Clas is and are completely sidelined when his real motives for allowing himself to be head-hunted by Roger are revealed.

Queue a nation-wide criminal investigation, in which Roger appears immune to depravity and pain in order to 'win' over the psychotically ambitious Clas.

Norwegian Nesbo is sure to draw comparison with his European neighbour, Swedish Stieg Larsson and his Millennium Trilogy, which is no bad thing, given that the late author has sold over 65 million books to date.

Having already been adapted for the big screen, an English language version is due to be made next year.

Headhunters would be spectacular as a stand-alone read, but it feels a bit old-hat alongside the likes of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Killing.