After the horrific events of The Snowman, Harry is in self-imposed exile in Hong Kong, using opium to manage his pain, both physical and emotional. Then a detective from Oslo comes to tell him that Gunnar Hagen has need of his services once more. There have some rather gruesome murders of women in Oslo and Hagen thinks they may be linked. Add to this more political maneuvering and intrigue between Crime Squad and Kripos. Ugh. So Harry, a new colleague named Kaja Solness and the rockabilly forensic tech Bjorn Holm set to work on the case, all under the radar. Oh, and Harry’s father is dying.
This novel, the 8th in the Harry Hole series was tedious. How I yearned to be released from this bloated, gratuitously violent barge of a book. There was action all over Norway, from the city streets of Oslo and Frogner Park, to remote mountain cabins and into the Congo and the lip of a live volcano. If you think Harry sacrificed a lot physically in The Snowman, this installment makes that look like child’s play. I have read that Nesbo actually regrets some of the graphic violence in this book and no wonder. It got to be like some preposterous action flick, constantly trying to ratchet up the tension with more blood and gore. By the end, Harry has quite the body count to add to his frightening scars. It’s no wonder he leaves Kaja behind and heads back to the simple anonymity of Hong Kong.
I’m still giving this three stars because I’m not ready to give up on Harry or Nesbo. Not by a long shot. This just wasn’t my cup of tea, I guess.