- 30 Jul 19
Tricky to review this one without giving the game away. Nesbø puts Detective Harry Hole through the wringer from the moment he wakes up near the start of the book with blood on his hands. Separated from his beloved wife Rakel and tormented by the thoroughly nasty Svein Finne – the first killer Harry took down – Hole is in a bad place at the bottom of a bottle. He’s working cold cases as a punishment for past transgressions, but he really has to start investigating himself alongside Finne – a bloke who likes his knives - in order to uncover what’s going on. Harry is just as much in the dark as the reader.
The plot boasts more twists and turns than a box of Slinkys. Every time you think you have it figured, a turn of the page proves you wrong. Hole is, of course, a walking cliché that stretches all the way back to Raymond Chandler (although Nesbø has said that he is a nod to Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch): the cop on the edge with a drink problem, bafflingly attractive to the opposite sex. Mind you, he does start a fight with a bar owner for playing a David Gray record, which is perfectly acceptable and understandable behaviour. Nesbø’s mastery – he’s pretty much created his own genre, other writer’s work are often described as “Nesbø-ey” by a crime obsessed pal of mine - keeps it all tensely engaging. I should point out that if, like me, you’re new to Harry Hole, this twelfth book in the series is still perfectly enjoyable - though there are references to his previous adventures - as a stand-alone read. It will fly off the shelves, and rightly so.