“The Son” by Jo Nesbø, translated by Charlotte Barslund. Alfred A. Knopf, 2014. $25.95.

The inmate who escapes from prison and takes violent revenge on all who put him there is a staple of crime fiction. When that crime fiction is by Norway’s Jo Nesbø (best known for his Harry Hole novels), the violence takes on a brutality sometimes hard to read.

Ab Lofthus was a police detective who shot himself before he could be arrested as an informant for the Oslo crime syndicate.

His wife collapsed in despair, while their child, Sonny, took up heroin and soon confessed to a series of murders.

During 12 years of imprisonment, he rarely uttered a word but was sought out by other inmates for the solace he appeared to grant, almost like a priest, through his touch.

When Sonny Lofthus mysteriously escapes from Staten Prison, his father’s former partner, Simon Kefas, is assigned to track him down. At first, Kefas is always one step behind, but not unhappily, because Sonny is wiping out the principal figures in Oslo’s drug and sex trade, men against whom detectives have never been able to make a case. But Sonny’s quest is to learn the truth behind his father’s death, and so he is dangerous to a police force riddled with corruption.

Ab Lofthus was once heard to say: “the age of mercy is over and . . . the age of judgment has arrived. But as the Messiah is running late, we have to do his job for him.” Sonny is about his father’s business.

— Ben Martin, Baton Rouge

“The Darkest Flame (Dark Kings #1)” by Donna Grant. St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 2014. $7.99.

Denae Lacroix is an American working for M15. She’s been sent on a mission to find out what secrets Draegan Industries is hiding. While setting up for the mission, her partner betrays her, intending to use her as bait to attract the secrets they were sent to find. Denae is too strong to be taken down so easily and quickly ends her partner’s life, but it leaves her in bad condition.

Kellan is a Dragon King who utterly despises humans. They were the reason he lost all of his dragons and the reason he’s decided to sleep for thousands of years.

Awoken from his slumber by the sounds of two humans fighting outside of his cave, Kellan finds himself saving the female’s life. He’s sworn to never care about another human, but the attraction that develops between them might be his undoing.

Anyone who loves a mixture of dragons and romance is in for a treat. The writing in this novel is polished and the action flows easily.

If you haven’t read any of Donna Grant’s previous stories in this series, you might be confused in some places.

— Juliette Brandt, Baton Rouge