Headhunters by Jo Nesbo


“Roger Brown has it all: Norway’s most successful headhunter, he is married to a beautiful gallery owner and owns a magnificent house. But he’s also a highly accomplished art thief. At a gallery opening, his wife introduces him to Clas Greve. Not only is Greve the perfect candidate for a position that Brown is recruiting for; he is also in possession of The Calydonian Boar Hunt by Rubens, one of the most sought-after paintings in modern art history. Roger sees his chance to become financially independent, and starts planning his biggest theft ever. But soon, he runs into trouble–and it’s not financial problems that are threatening to knock him over this time…”

With what sounded like such a non-stop thrilling tale, we couldn’t refuse reading it for our book club this month. And since it was an easy read, it was a nice counter balance to our epic social realist novel from last month Independent People.

It was an enjoyable read. However, most agreed that it would make a much better film than book. It sometimes even read more as a screenplay than a novel.  We found much of the ending hard to accept. However, these types of plot holes seem ideal for the big screen. Then we found out it is a film—how perfect! One bookclubber posited the question of ‘who do you think should be cast in the North American version?’ We couldn’t produce an answer, so I’ll leave it to you the reader: Whom would you cast?

We found that none of the characters were that likable. I did feel an empathic draw to Ferdinand, but otherwise every character had a lot of immoral flaws. Conversely, one can argue that that just humanizes them. On screen, the lack of morals in a stylized Quentin Tarantino-esque style would be mesmerizing, not to mention the violence…. There is a lot of room for beautiful visuals in this text. Most of us had not read many thrillers before, so maybe we are just not used to the genre in prose. Personally, I’ve been watching a lot of Tarantino films lately and ache for new films of stylized violence and beauty.

As for my favourite quote:

“As long as things remained unsaid, there was still a chance that we could forget. That we could sleep and dream in such a way that when we awoke it had disappeared, become something abstract, scenes from something that only took place in our heads, on the same level as those treacherous thoughts and fantasies that are the daily infidelity in every – even the most all-consuming – loving relationship.” (p. 116)

So true.

Tune in for next month’s review of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road


Thanks for reading!



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