My feelings about “Scandinavian Noir” are pretty well established. With rare exceptions, I dislike the genre. I find it nihilistic and depressing.
But I’ve read a couple of Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole books all the way through. And when I saw that he’d written an updated version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, set in the police force of a fictional Scottish city, I thought it was an interesting concept, and bought the book.
I’d only gotten a fifth of the way through when I noticed I was approaching my reading with dread. This was a journey I didn’t really want to take.
The pleasure of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play,” (as we “actors” call it), is largely in being able to hate Macbeth almost from the start. He’s pretty one-dimensional, and you look forward to seeing MacDuff lay on against him.
Macbeth here is the leader of a SWAT team when the book starts, a pretty admirable guy. He has a couple serious flaws, though, and it’s easy to see how he could be corrupted.
I felt like I knew what was going to happen, and I didn’t think there’d be much enjoyment in it. There was no pleasure here. No moments of lightness. So I put it aside.
It’s well written, and if this is your cup of tea, you’re likely to enjoy it. Cautions for adult material.