What’s it all about?:
Two women are found murdered in Oslo — both of them have drowned in their own blood. What mystifies the police is that the puncture wounds in the victims’ faces have been caused from the inside of their mouths. Kaja Solness from Homicide is sent to Hong Kong to track down a man who is the Oslo Police Department’s only specialist on serial killings. The severely addicted detective has tried to disappear in the vast, anonymous city. He is on the run and haunted by his last case, the woman he loves, and creditors alike. His name is Harry Hole.
What did I think?:
Harry Hole is back. Oh yes. Since I read The Redbreast which was the first of the Norwegian author’s novels to be published in the UK, I have been hooked and I have to admit that Harry Hole may be my favourite detective ever. After the traumatic events related in the previous book, The Snowman, Harry Hole has gone into exile in Hong Kong, and lives a miserable existence living in cheap (and definitely not cheerful) hostels, surviving on his favourite noodles, and enjoying a newly discovered opium addiction which helps him escape the memories of his past. Then Kaja Solness from Oslo police manages to track him down and begs for his assistance in solving a set of gruesome murders that hint at possible serial killing activity, which happens to be Harry’s speciality. It is only when Kaja mentions that his father is seriously ill and close to death that Harry will consider coming back to Norway however, but cannot resist becoming embroiled in the case once his interest is sparked.
There is indeed another serial killer on the loose who seems to enjoy torturing his victims in the most sadistic way with a very unique type of murder weapon. It is quite graphic in places, so definitely not one for those with a weaker constitution. What I enjoyed most about this book though was the places it went – Hong Kong, Norway, Rwanda, Congo and Australia. It was quite long compared to the other Harry Hole novels (624 pages in paperback), and at times, the plots could seem a bit confusing with a lot of sub-plots happening beneath the main one, but I felt the writing was so excellent that I was determined to push through and in the end, it was worth the extra effort. I really felt that Harry’s character in this novel came into its own and he grew considerably as a person, I’m loving his self-deprecating and sarcastic sense of humour, and although I hate this phrase I do feel Harry went on a “journey” in this novel. Nesbo does a brilliant job of writing someone that feels real, flaws and all exposed to the world. The story itself is compelling and exciting, but I would probably advise reading the rest of the books in the series before this one so that you can really get a feel of what Harry has been through. An excellent addition to the series though, and I can’t wait to read the next one “Phantom.”
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):