Macbeth by Jo Nesbo


Jo Nesbo

In his retelling of Macbeth, Jo Nesbø brings the gritty, powerful procedural gusto that made him an international New York Times bestseller to William Shakespeare's most timeless tragedy.

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Set in the 1970s in a run-down, rainy industrial town, Jo Nesbo's Macbeth centers around a police force struggling to shed an incessant drug problem. Duncan, chief of police, is idealistic and visionary, a dream to the townspeople but a nightmare for criminals. The drug trade is ruled by two drug lords, one of whom—a master of manipulation named Hecate—has connections with the highest in power, and plans to use them to get his way. 
Hecate’s plot hinges on steadily, insidiously manipulating Inspector Macbeth: the head of SWAT and a man already susceptible to violent and paranoid tendencies. What follows is an unputdownable story of love and guilt, political ambition, and greed for more, exploring the darkest corners of human nature, and the aspirations of the criminal mind.

Advance Galley Reviews

Nesbo's many crime novels have never failed to entertain readers although a few have not be up to the author's usual excellence. This new novel is certainly among Nesbo's top 10. A thoroughly modern telling of the Shakespeare play this novel does not fail to hold the reader's interest and joy at the prose and character development. Do not let the fact that the book is a re-telling of the classic play keep you from reading this truly excellent crime novel. I will not spoil your enjoyment or expectations by telling the modern plot here. Best for you just to get a copy and relax with a good brandy in your favourite chair. Thank you, Jo Nesbo, for helping me to survive the late winter.

As part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series, wherein noted authors of today translate Shakespearean plots into present day settings, Nesbo's Macbeth sets the action in a gritty town in Scotland in the 1970's. In his version Macbeth is a SWAT team leader attempting to bring down criminal gangs and curb corruption in local city government, a goal he shares with the idealistic, upright police chief Duncan. Ultimately, however, powerful drug lord Hecate, aided by 3 sisters (think of the witches in the original) fuels Macbeth's ambition and manipulates him into effecting Duncan's removal, leaving Macbeth in charge. Suffice it to say that all the ambition, guilt, greed and political upheaval of the original shows up here in a different time and place.

I tried to enjoy this, I really did, seeing as how much I adore Macbeth as a play. But I just could not get into this. Maybe I can try reading a hard copy once it's released, but as far as digital's a pass for me..

This was not for me (DNF at 20%). It’s a little too noir for my personal tastes. Another reminder to be more selective about my requests.

I think it must very difficult to write within the confines of incorporating a classic. I've read other installments in the Hogarth Project and found them enjoyable, but this one unfortunately wasn't one of them. It is a little strange, because I like Nesbo and I like MacBeth, but the two together just weren't what I was hoping for. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have early access to this.

I really wanted to love this book. The story seemed really promising when I read the synopsis and I was very exited when I was given the chance to review this book through First To Read. Unfortunately though, I am not a fan of the writing style. I have a rule about books- if I do not enjoy a book within about 50 pages, I put it down. There are so many great books I would rather spend my time enjoying! Nesbo really tries to paint you a vivid picture, but I kept finding myself lost in the details and forgetting the larger picture. I found myself rereading paragraphs, or skipping some entirely just to get back to the dialogue. If you are a fan of the original play I may still recommend this book to you, but this is not a book that can be taken lightly. From what I could tell a good portion of the characters are introduced right way, which was a little overwhelming for me, as someone who hasn't read Shakespeare since high school. Again, if you're someone who can handle dense writing and likes more of a complicated story, with many moving parts- enjoy! This might be perfect for you. Perhaps I'll come back and try this book again, but I don't imagine it will be any time soon.

Could not finish the book. Liked the concept, but it just could not hold my attention. Didn't read like a Nesbo.

The latest addition to Hogarth Shakespeare Project is Jo Nesbø Macbeth. For those who do not know, Hogarth was launched in London in 2012 to retold one of the greatest stories of all times by modern day bestselling authors of today. Hogarth was founded by Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard Woolf in 1917. This modern-day adaption of Shakespeare's original play, sharing the same title is set in the 1970s. The book starts in a vividly poetic style. It is a crime plus noir version of the play that was written almost 400 years before. It focuses on a police force attempting to shed the drug problem in the local town. A drug lord, who keeps the whole town by the strings as if they are his puppets and him, the puppeteer. He has connections that get him what he wants. Absolute power. A major portion of the main cast is introduced in the first chapter. A Lot happens in the first few chapters which set the speed of the novel. Macbeth is the captain of the SWAT team. Duncan is the commissioner. Banquo is still Macbeth's friend and Lady Macbeth renamed as 'Lady'. There are those three witches which turned the life of Macbeth upside down by implanting the seed of greediness. It does seem Nesbo enjoys a lot by giving these characters a life of their own. The character of Duff, the original Macduff, is developed along with the plot to rain down Macbeth. In the original play, his character was not entirely developed. Nesbø fills this gap in his work. There are a lot of similarities with the original play. Both sets of characters share almost identical traits. The plot has the identical flow but what makes this book interesting in my opinion is the way it is written. Each and every detail unfolds in front of a reader like an offspring. There are detailing that as a reader you would not expect the author to go into even though you have read the play and know a lot about the plot. Just like the development of characters like Macduff. Every character, now in 21st century breathes on his own. The length of the novel signifies that it is big but I think once you immerse yourself in the book, you will forget about it. It stays true and close to the original plot. This is the reason I like this book so much and enjoyed reading it. Fans of Shakespeare's Macbeth will find a delight in this modern-day retelling. Fans of Jo Nesbø's will appreciate the hard work the writer might have gone through while retelling the tale.

The writing style and plot were just not for me. I requested this ARC because I thought that the concept was interesting, but I never got into it due to a poor fit between myself and the style.

I wasn't able to focus on this book. As I read, my mind kept wandering away from the story and I found myself re-reading paragraphs. The story is fairly good.


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