OK, so round #2 with Mr. Nesbo. Please note that there is one book between "The Redbreast" (see my review posted two days ago) and "The Devil's Star" entitled "Nemesis". I shall claim that the translators are my nemesis and are fully to blame for my lack of order here. "Nemesis" now has been downloaded on my Kindle and will be read shortly!
As much as I enjoyed "The Redbreast", I've come to the conclusion that like fine wine, Mr. Nesbo gets better over time. I might even dare to say that I enjoyed this book more than a magnum of 2004 Special Select Caymus Cabernet. Here's why:
Synopsis: Things have disintegrated since the last I saw Harry Hole. Still haunted by the death of a esteemed colleague, Harry is obsessed with gathering evidence against a cop who he is sure is dirty and is sure had something to do with the colleague's murder. His drinking has escalated, and he has alienated his beautiful girlfriend Rakel. But see, Hole is like a dog with a bone. He's not letting go that easily, even if it means losing everything he holds dear, possibly even his job.
Because the entire Oslo police force is on holiday, Harry picks up an assignment involving a woman with an amputated finger and a red diamond, in the shape of a star, inserted under her eyelid. Soon more bodies pile up, all marked in some way with the mysterious red diamond, and it becomes a serial murderer investigation. Red herrings multiply by the page, but Nesbo keeps his mystery smart, fast-paced, and terrifyingly dark.
My thoughts: I don't want to sound pompous, but I've read hundreds of crime thrillers and consider myself to be a decent judge of them. I've become hardened to the point where you have to really have to do something special if I'm going to love a crime thriller. And I loved this.
Something special #1: Harry Hole is a deeply tortured soul. That may sound passe, because many crime series protagonists are damaged. But this goes beyond the normal parameters. This is agonizing dreams every night, drinking until near death, not showing up for work, and turning from everything and everyone you love...for the sake of a very single-focused goal. It is dark and mucky and without air where this guy resides.
Something special #2: Harry's integrity is in question. I thought I understood his nature, but when circumstances push him into unethical directions, I received a little jolt of fear. Oh please Harry, don't sell out. You may be nearly a non-functioning alcoholic, but you had a good heart with good intentions. Stay true! This side plot really messed with my head.
Something special #3: This story possibly has the most terrifying location (and discovery) of a hidden body. I've never read anything quite like it. Please don't misunderstand...Nesbo isn't playing the "who can write the bloodiest novel" game. This is just pure, unadulterated creativity used to force an image in my mind that will never leave me until I die.
Although I have a couple of books in the queue, "Nemesis" is waiting on the Kindle, and "The Snowman" (which comes after "The Devil's Star) has been ordered on audio. All I have to do now is hang on and enjoy the ride.
5 out of 5 stars