Monday, December 30, 2013

The Devil's Star by Jo Nesbo

A series of deaths have the police playing catch-up in Oslo.  The victims don't seem to have any relation to each other that anyone can find, but each has been killed at five o'clock and has had a finger severed.  On each body jewelry has been found that contains red star-cut diamonds; the kind of jewels that are called The Devil's Star.  In each case a bicycle messenger has been spotted in the vicinity.

Detective Harry Hole is pulled onto the investigative team.  Although he only has three weeks left until his dismissal from the police department, he is the best they have and the only one with serial killer experience.  He has been dismissed both because of his drinking and because he insists that one of the department's rising stars is in fact a criminal himself and heads up a smuggling ring.  Since he refuses to recant his accusations, and since he won't or can't stop the drinking, a decision has been made to release him from the force. 

Harry is of two minds about this.  While he can't really imagine doing anything else, perhaps it is for the best.  When working, all else goes out the window, keeping him from relationships.  The horror of what he sees keeps his drinking fueled.  But will he be able to keep away from what is central to his life?  Can he find the killer before his time as a detective is up?

Jo Nesbo has scored another hit with this latest Harry Hole novel.  The reader cannot help but be attracted to Harry in the same way that his friends are, recognizing his essential goodness while repelled by his single-mindedness and determination to drink away his problems.  No author can pull the reader into the inside of a murder investigation like Nesbo, or provide as many shocks along the way to a solution.  This book is recommended to mystery readers, and to fans of Harry Hole.

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