The Scandinavians have a knack for noir, maybe it is those long winter nights. This is essentially a maverick cop slash serial killer story. The maverick cop; Harry Hole is battling many internal and external demons, we first meet him in Hong Kong, where he went to escape some of his demons, using opium for self medication and owing the triads some gambling debts. He is lured back to Norway by the beautiful Kaja Solness from Oslo Police Crime Squad to work on a case puzzling the Oslo Police with an ever increasing body count.
A number of women and one man have been brutally murdered, their only connection was having stayed a night in a Norwegian mountain hut. One of the favoured murder instruments is a Leopold’s Apple, an African torture instrument named after King Leopold who brutally ruled Belgian Congo as his personal fiefdom. The Apple inserted in the mouth literally explodes in the mouth when triggered (usually by the victim). The murderer also has a particularly creative and gruesome use of superglue. But why is the murderer killing them? What is the motive and who is he or she?
This is the eighth Harry Hole novel but he was new to me as was the writer Jo Nesbø, I now want to read the preceding novel The Snowman, which is referenced in this one. I found some similar names confusing at first like Hole and Holm and Gunner and Gunther. The book is over 700 pages long but it is a veritable page turner. The translation into English by Don Bartlett is also worthy of commendation.
My rating 5 out of 5