With Headhunters, Jo Nesb? 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.
Part of the Reader Store Gritty Fiction collection.
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September 06, 2011
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Excerpt from Headhunters by Jo Nesbo
THE CANDIDATE WAS TERRFIED.
He was dressed in Gunnar �ye 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.'