I have a weakness for police procedural drama on television, and the structure of a good thriller is a joy in any medium. The raw materials of this story are familiar; what makes it work is the dark passion that exists under the icy facade of Norwegian manhood.
Harry Hole is the same lone wolf cop we’ve seen a hundred times. Battling alcoholism and suppressed grief, isolated from co-workers not only by his brilliance but by the violence of previous cases. Coming home alone to an empty apartment–he’s isolated from his family by the same old issues that so many fictional police carry. The job and the bottle standing between the hero and the woman and child that he loves.
The serial killer he’s after is also a classic, a butcher of women who targets them specifically because they have children. He’s intelligent, creepy, and artistic. Unraveling his mind over the course of the novel is like picking through a nest of freezing piano wire which keeps cutting your fingers.
I picked up this book translated into English and I will cheerfully pick up any other Jo Nesbo novels that I see on the shelves here in North America. Highly recommended.