Detective Harry Hole is meant to keep out of trouble. A young Norwegian girl taking a gap year in Sydney has been murdered, and Harry has been sent to Australia to assist in any way he can. When the team unearths a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth. The hunt for a serial killer is on, but the murderer will talk only to Harry.
Reviewed on 17th October 2012
Jo Nesbo's first Harry Hole mystery is the eighth to be translated into English (and the fourth I've read). It's fairly easy to see why. The story sees Hole, a Norwegian ex-alcoholic police officer, sent to Sydney, Australia to help investigate the murder of a minor Norwegian celebrity, where he becomes over involved and listens to a lot of stories.
As a crime novel it is lacking - clues and suspects are few and far between and the investigation is difficult to follow. The characters are rough and generally stereotypical or almost undescribed, and the settings have little feeling of realism - whether this is an effect of it being set in a country foreign to the author or of the translation into English I don't know.
Although I wouldn't describe it as a great novel, it's okay and gives an insight into the main character's background that informs some of the events of the later novels I've already read.
I agree with the translation order that it's worth this one being delayed until after the series has established itself with some of the later novels. I'm not sure that if I'd read this one first that I would have kept reading.