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Headhunters
Cover of Headhunters
Headhunters
by Jo Nesbo
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With Headhunters, Jo Nesbø has crafted a funny, dark, and twisted caper story worthy of Quentin Tarantino and the Coen brothers. FIRST TIME PUBLISHED IN THE U.S. NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM MAGNOLIA PICTURES.
Roger Brown is a corporate headhunter, and he's a master of his profession. But one career simply can't support his luxurious lifestyle and his wife's fledgling art gallery. At an art opening one night he meets Clas Greve, who is not only the perfect candidate for a major CEO job, but also, perhaps, the answer to his financial woes: Greve just so happens to mention that he owns a priceless Peter Paul Rubens painting that's been lost since World War II—and Roger Brown just so happens to dabble in art theft. But when he breaks into Greve's apartment, he finds more than just the painting. And Clas Greve may turn out to be the worst thing that's ever happened to Roger Brown.
BONUS MATERIAL: This edition includes an excerpt from Jo Nesbø's The Redeemer.
With Headhunters, Jo Nesbø has crafted a funny, dark, and twisted caper story worthy of Quentin Tarantino and the Coen brothers. FIRST TIME PUBLISHED IN THE U.S. NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM MAGNOLIA PICTURES.
Roger Brown is a corporate headhunter, and he's a master of his profession. But one career simply can't support his luxurious lifestyle and his wife's fledgling art gallery. At an art opening one night he meets Clas Greve, who is not only the perfect candidate for a major CEO job, but also, perhaps, the answer to his financial woes: Greve just so happens to mention that he owns a priceless Peter Paul Rubens painting that's been lost since World War II—and Roger Brown just so happens to dabble in art theft. But when he breaks into Greve's apartment, he finds more than just the painting. And Clas Greve may turn out to be the worst thing that's ever happened to Roger Brown.
BONUS MATERIAL: This edition includes an excerpt from Jo Nesbø's The Redeemer.
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One 1
    CANDIDATE

    THE CANDIDATE WAS TERRFIED.

    He was dressed in Gunnar Øye attire: grey Ermenegildo Zegna suit, hand-sewn Borelli shirt and burgundy tie with sperm-cell pattern, I guessed Cerrutti 1881. However, I was certain about the shoes: hand-sewn Ferragamo. I once had a pair myself.

    The papers in front of me revealed that the candidate came armed with excellent credentials from NHH – the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, in Bergen – a spell in Stortinget for the Conservative Party and a four-year success story as the managing director of a medium-sized manufacturing company.

    Nevertheless, Jeremias Lander was terrified. His upper lip glistened with sweat.

    He raised the glass of water my secretary had placed on the low table between us.

    ‘I’d like . . .’ I said with a smile. Not the open, unconditional smile that invites a complete stranger to come in from the cold, not the frivolous one. But the courteous, semi-warm smile that, according to the literature, signals the interviewer’s professionalism, objectivity and analytical approach. Indeed, it is this lack of emotional commitment that causes the candidate to trust his interviewer’s integrity. And as a result the candidate will in turn – according to the aforementioned literature – provide more sober, objective information, as he has been made to feel that any pretence would be seen through, any exaggeration exposed and ploys punished. I don’t put on this smile because of the literature, though. I don’t give a damn about the literature; it is chock-a-block with various degrees of authoritative bullshit, and the only thing I need is Inbau, Reid and Buckley’s nine-step interrogation model. No, I put on this
    smile because I really am professional, objective and analytical. I am a headhunter. It is not that difficult, but I am king of the heap.

    ‘I’d like,’ I repeated, ‘I’d like you to tell me a little about your life, outside of work, that is.’

    ‘Is there any?’ His laughter was a tone and a half higher than it should have been. On top of that, when you deliver a so-called ‘dry’ joke at a job interview it is unwise both to laugh at it yourself and to watch your interlocutor to see whether it has hit home.

    ‘I would certainly hope so,’ I said, and his laughter morphed into a clearing of the throat. ‘I believe the management of this enterprise attaches great importance to their new chief executive leading a balanced life. They’re seeking someone who will stay with them for a number of years, a long-distance-runner type who knows how to pace himself. Not someone who is burnt out after four years.’

    Jeremias Lander nodded while swallowing another mouthful of water.

    He was approximately fourteen centimetres taller than me and three years older. Thirty-eight then. A bit young for the job. And he knew; that was why he had dyed the hair around his temples an almost imperceptible grey. I had seen this before. I had seen everything before. I had seen applicants afflicted with sweaty palms arrive with chalk in their right-hand jacket pocket so as to give me the driest and whitest handshake imaginable. Lander’s throat issued an involuntary clucking sound. I noted down on the interview feedback sheet: Motivated. Solution-orientated.

    ‘I see you live in Oslo,’ I said.

    He nodded. ‘Skøyen.’

    ‘And married to . . .’ I flicked through his papers, assuming the irritated expression that makes candidates...
About the Author-
  • Jo Nesbø is a musician, songwriter, economist, and author. The first crime novel in his Inspector Harry Hole series was published in Norway in 1997, an instant hit, winning the Glass Key Award for best Nordic crime novel (an accolade shared with Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell). He also established the Harry Hole Foundation, a charity to reduce illiteracy among children in the third world. He lives in Oslo.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 8, 2011
    Nesbø takes a break from his Harry Hole detective series (The Snowman, etc.) with this stellar stand-alone caper. Roger Brown, a British ex-pat comfortably ensconced in Oslo, has developed a reputation as one of the best corporate headhunters in the business, but money problems lead him to use information he gleans from job applicants about valuable art they own. Brown arranges to steal their art works and replace them with clever fakes. When Clas Greve, the former CEO of a major European GPS company, lets slip that he accidentally discovered a long-lost Rubens painting in the apartment he inherited from his aunt, Brown anticipates making his biggest score. Of course, the heist doesn’t go smoothly, and the dizzying reversals of fortune and situations that would be over-the-top in lesser hands make for a delightful roller-coaster ride. Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard fans will be delighted.

  • Booklist

    September 1, 2011
    Nesb's Harry Hole series, starring the troubled Oslo police detective, vaulted the author to the Scandinavian crime-fiction A-list. Now he tries something completely different: a twisty, plot-driven Hitchcockian thriller starring an Oslo headhunter, Roger Brown, legendary in the city's high-end business world for never recommending an executive who wasn't hired. But behind the image, Roger has deep trouble: in order to keep his art-gallery-owner wife, Diana, in the luxurious lifestyle he feels she deserves, he moonlights as an art thief, stealing paintings from the candidates he interviews. That's fine, except he may now have met his match: the former chief executive of a GPS manufacturer, who claims to own a long-missing Rubensand who may also be sleeping with Roger's wife. Nothing is as it seems in this deliciously plotted thriller, and as the tale unwinds, Nesb delivers one shock after the other, culminating with a doozy of a switcheroo at the finish. It's gripping reading, but Nesb's fans may be a bit disappointed: the story, while intricate and involving, lacks the multitextured richness of the Harry Hole novels, and Roger is a far less sympathetic hero than Harry.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2011, American Library Association.)

  • USA Today "If you don't know Nesbø, it's time to get with it."
  • Vanity Fair "Like [Stieg] Larsson, Nesbø explores the darkest criminal minds with grim delight and puts his killers where you least expect to find them. . . . [and] his novels are maddeningly addictive."
  • The New York Times Book Review "Nesbø has a horrormeister's flair for transforming natural scenes into ominous situations."
  • Slate "Irresistibly addictive. . . . This is reading as you experienced it in childhood, without any gap between eye and mind, but with the added pleasures that adult plots and adult characters can bring. . . . Brilliantly conceived, carefully worked out, and complicatedly satisfying."
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch "Nesbø's books have a serious, socially significant heft, as well as a confident (even cocky) narrative stride that is unmatched."
  • Time Out New York "Nesbø's pace is unerring, and the way he builds up suspense will incite Pavlovian page-turning."
  • The Times (London) "With Henning Mankell having written his last Wallander novel and Stieg Larsson no longer with us, I have had to make the decision on whom to confer the title of best current Nordic writer of crime fiction. . . . I hesitate no longer. [Nesbø] wins. . . . This is crime writing of the highest order."
  • Dagens Nyheter (Sweden) "A mind-blowing story that captivates the reader from the very first page. ... [Nesbø] has found a delightfully laconic, hard-boiled tone in Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett's tracks, which triumphs exactly where it should: when circumstances are the worst, the bullets zing by and the corpses pile up. . . . Entertaining, sharp and suspenseful."
  • Helsingin Sanomat (Finland) "This book is one you absolutely have to read. . . . The outrageous storytelling is so stimulating, it makes James Ellroy look like a Boy Scout and Bret Easton Ellis like a Sunday-school boy."
  • Dagbladet (Norway) "A highly entertaining, first-rate crime novel, where Nesbø uses his entire register of narrative techniques and tricks to tell a story that is wilder and more zany than anything he has ever written before."
  • Nordjyske Stiftstidende (Denmark) "Nesbø can out-write most of his Scandinavian colleagues. . . . Cleverly written and effectively composed, and you can easily devour it in one ravishing read."
  • Bogrummet (Denmark) "Headhunters has everything that makes a good crime novel: Strange murders, inventive disappearing acts and above all brilliant fraud for all you're worth."
  • Dagsavisen (Norway) "The reader is glued to the pages like gum to the street. . . . With Headhunters, Nesbø has accomplished [a] . . . brilliant and elegant thriller."
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