Another outing for Jo Nesbo’s troubled, alcoholic detective Harry Hole and my second book in the series (although it is actually the 8th, I believe). This time we encounter our (anti-?) hero strung out on opium in Hong Kong struggling to come to terms with the events in the last book, The Snowman. Fellow member of Norway’s crime squad, Kaja Solness is tasked with bringing him back to help with a new serial killer stalking the snowy Scandinavian streets. He is reluctant but agrees when he hears his father is dying in hospital.
And so begins another particularly dark journey into the world of Nordic noir. The opening scene, one of the most gruesome ways to die I have ever come across, sets the scene. There are some satisfying twists, a bit of a love interest (though why anyone would find Hole so attractive I’ve no idea) and a clever killer. Standard crime fare. Readable and tense, it rattles along at a fair pace but there’s nothing particularly outstanding.