I went through three phases with this Norwegian police procedural. The beginning seemed slow, and overly detailed. I was considering giving up on it, but several friends loved it, so I kept going.
Then I noticed – a bit wearily – the usual detective story tropes coming on in force: the ritual killing of women; the drunken, disliked, almost-washed-up-but-talented detective who only gets assigned the case because no one else is there when it comes in; the suave, popular, too-good-to-be-true detective; the stolid, reliable forensics female … haven’t I read this before?
And then, boom! The roller coaster ride starts! And wow, what a ride! I was on the edge of my chair for quite a long time with this one! The characters become much more richly drawn as well as the book progresses. And how cleverly the various plot strands weave in and out of the story in unexpected ways, so that the ending is in perfect symmetry with the beginning!
Evaluation: Am I in love with this euro-noir writer and his dissolute Detective Harry Hole? Absolutely! Was this a so utterly gripping I felt like stashing it away until I could calm down? Totally! Will I be reading the next Jo Nesbo book? I sure hope so!
Published by Vintage, 2006