“Boasts the customary ability to render attempts at work and sleep futile until it is finished.”



There is a serial killer on the streets of Oslo who is targeting police officers involved in previously unsolved murders. There is a man in a coma being guarded at the hospital and the new, self-serving, Chief of Police is extremely interested in him and what he may have to say.

Harry Hole is retired, now lecturing. His expertise is desperately needed but he is very unwilling.

This book is dark, very dark…and scary.

There are lots of characters from previous books who have more space to breathe here as Harry is missing for the first third of the book. The other characters more than make up for his loss, they are so full-bodied that it’s sometimes hard to believe they are the supporting cast for Harry.

The ups and downs in this book are immense, the cliche roller coaster does not even begin to cover it. There are moment of joy and laughter (few and far between) but the moments of heartbreak are appalling. It was so painful, so, so painful that he couldn’t breathe, so painful that he was doubled up, like a dying bee with its sting removed.

Nesbo delves deeply into the psyche of his characters, showing the human condition not only at its best but also at its most base. Even the good guys have a raw, brutal, almost animalistic side and there are times when it is positively uncomfortable and you feel you should really look away.

The complexity of the myriad plots is jaw-dropping, but Jo Nesbo handles these complexities with apparent ease. His touch moves through the book like a ballet dancer, gliding from scene to scene, character to character, plot to plot, effortlessly. 600+ pages and not one wasted. He is a master of his craft and this is his best book yet. It is unclear whether he will continue with Harry Hole but I for one hope that he does.


* * * * *


Reviewed by:

Sandra Foy

Added 2nd July 2015

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Sandra Foy