A year after Olso police detective Harry Hole solved a sensational case in Sydney, Australia (detailed in The Bat) he is foundering. Drinking continuously and just barely getting by at work, he is still consumed by the horrors he encountered and obsessed with finding the man who brutally raped his sister. Then two colleagues are sent to the tavern where he is drinking with a directive: get on the next plane to Bangkok to help investigate-and keep quiet-the death of Norways ambassador to Thailand in a seedy motel.
If there was one thing he tried to bury in the last year, it was responsibility. Whether it was for the living or the dead, himself or others. It only involved guilt and was never rewarded anyway.
Landing in that teeming, chaotic city, he is taken to the crime scene and introduced to the team he will be working with. Determined to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible so he can return to Oslo and further his search for his sisters attacker, he eschews alcohol and gets to work. The sights, sounds, smells and customs of this exotic city all play a big part in this novel. Expat Norwegians, local mafia, human traffiking, pedophelia, death all loom large. Who can Harry trust? The very forces he’s working for seem to work against him at every turn, but if you know anything at all about our Harry, that won’t deter him and will most likely just make him dig his heels in deeper.
Overall a satisfying mystery and an improvement from the first novel in this now famous series. Nesbo is clearly getting his sea legs and I can’t wait to see where Harry ends up next.