Friday, February 4, 2011

#4: The Devil's Star by Joe Nesbo

Harry Hole is a brilliant cop who fights alcoholism and other personal demons; Tom Waaler is his partner, the ace detective in the Oslo police force.  But Hole also believes Waaler is the murderous crime lord Prince, although nobody else believes him.  In a blazing Norwegian summer, these two cops must team up to find a serial killer in Jo Nesbo's The Devil's Star.

Nesbo's first Harry Hole novel translated into English, The Redbreast, is one of my favorites from the large spate of Scandinavian mysteries that have landed on these shores in recent years.  I thought the second in the series, Nemesis, was good but not up to the first one; but The Devil's Star is close, a dark, delirious crime drama chock full of odd characters and colorful writing.  I think Nesbo compares favorably to one of my other must-read crime novelists, Michael Connelly, although Nesbo does not have the body of work yet. 

For better or worse, Nesbo writes in a more American style with plenty of action, and doesn't often dwell in the gloom and doom of his Scandinavian brethren.  Nesbo also injects a lot of quirky humor, a welcome respite from these frequently wintry novels.

I was pleased to find Nesbo's latest at the Morrison-Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana and read it at a good clip over several snowed-in days.  Recommended.

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