There is a town without a name. It's a grey town divided by train tracks. It's a town where there are no more jobs. There are no more trains. There is just an incessant rain that beats people down, that and the incessant drug trade, which is also divided in two. There is a motorcycle gang, Norse Riders, who run synthetic drugs from out of town. And then there is Hecate, whose team cooks up a homemade brew that is stronger and more addictive than anyone has ever seen before.
When the head of the Narcotics Unit, Inspector Duff, gets a tip that the Norse Riders are bringing a truckload of drugs to town, he shows up with his team to stop them. But he wasn't the only one who was tipped off. Without Duff knowing, Macbeth and a couple members of his SWAT team also got the tip and are watching to see what happens. When the Riders show up with more men than Duff expected, it is only with Macbeth's help that he escapes alive. Where Duff is an old school policeman, slowly working his way up and keeping an eye on the politics of the day, Macbeth is a natural officer and leader. He doesn't care about politics. He just wants to do the right thing. And when this incident turns into a promotion for Macbeth over Duff, you know that there will be hell to pay.
As these men, and the rest of the police force, battle against the drugs that are infiltrating their town, they will also find themselves fighting against corruption and political machinations, against jealousy and resentment, against the worst that humanity has to offer as well as the beast of addiction. It will take everything these men have to figure out right from wrong and to find their way to their ultimate destiny.
Jo Nesbo, author of the popular Detective Harry Hole series (that the film Snowman was based on), has taken on Shakespeare's Macbeth in the latest in the Hogarth series where some of today's most brilliant novelists retell classic plays through their personal points of view. So master of crime noir Nesbo took Macbeth and reinvented the Scottish play as a drama of crime and politics in a dark, post-industrial town.
I've always loved the play Macbeth, and I love this novel version too. It's dark and complicated with layers of complexity in the relationships, which means the layers of betrayal cut so deeply. This book isn't for everyone, because of the exquisite noir, the darkness and the blood, but the original play isn't exactly filled with puppies and rainbows either. I recommend this one, but realize that it is long, which makes the constant darkness of the story even more difficult to deal with. It's excellent, but it's a lot to process. Make sure you have the mental and emotional room for it, and then take an amazing, phenomenal, luminescent ride through the worst and best of humanity with master craftsman Jo Nesbo.
Galleys for Macbeth were provided by Hogarth through NetGalley, with many thanks.