Book of the week
Jo Nesbo knows how to spin a grisly yarn. The Norwegian thriller writer also knows how to flesh out his characters, especially the maudlin, living-on-the edge investigator Harry Hole, who can crack cases, but never the mystery of unreserved happiness.
In this tale, the 11th in the Hole series, not-quitehero Harry has left the front line to lecture at police college in Oslo. He is surprisingly content in his career and marriage and is managing to stay off the booze but, as always, he is waiting for all things good to crumble. And to an extent, they do.
I’m a bit weary of forlorn, possibly clinically depressed male leads with addiction issues – there seem to be an awful lot of them sloping around Literature Land at the moment – but Harry rises above the rest mostly because he is so well drawn.
In The Thirst, he reluctantly returns to his investigator role to help find a killer who is getting his teeth into internet dating – his set of ancient-style metal gnashers, that is. I won’t elaborate.
What Harry doesn’t realise initially, is that this bizarre set of crimes has a connection to a previous case that had a life-altering effect on him. It will draw him in and return him to the very dark places he has managed to extricate himself from.
The story, with all its human carnage, crashes along at a cracking pace – Nesbo tales usually do – and reaches a satisfying conclusion.
But then (spoiler alert!) he prises open the door just a little and lets readers have a sniff of the mayhem to come. But we’ll have to wait until the next Harry Hole thriller to find out just what that entails. The Thirst is one for fans and new readers alike.