Jo Nesbo


""...this novel is a gripping, fast-paced read with unexpected twists and turns." "


After Harry Hole's successful outing in Australia he is back in Oslo and indulging in his love affair with drink. He is a talented detective but a bit unpredictable as far as co-operating with authority is concerned. So when his boss, Bjarne Moller, is encouraged by the political hierarchy to send Hole on his own to investigate a politically sensitive death in Bankok, he has many doubts as to the wisdom of the choice. The political view is that all should be settled quickly and quietly and buried out of public view. Hole wants to find out the truth.

The victim is the Norwegian ambassador to Thailand and he is found stabbed in a hotel room by a prostitute. Hole is attached to the Thai police and set to work with an inspector in the homicide division. Working with her department and with a little independent activity of his own, Harry discovers that someone is manipulating the evidence and apparently foolproof clues such as surveillance tapes are suspect. The family life of the ambassador is not as it seems on the surface and corruption in the city is rife. Harry puts himself in danger as he searches for the truth but finally manages to do so, not without some serious loss of life.

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This is the second book of the early Harry Hole stories published in English. Harry is still in a relatively uncomplicated emotional place and, whilst grieving over his love from the first book, engages only lightly with the other characters. His analysis of situations and human character, even in unfamiliar surroundings, is what underlies his success in finding out the truth. Add to that his physical toughness and disregard for personal safety and you have the recipe for the James Bond hero he almost becomes. But he does have a significant flaw with which he lives constantly - his love for Jim Beam and all things related. This struggle follows through all the books to date and it is interesting to go back in time to see where he is at this point in life whilst knowing where Hole will be in the future. Ideally I would have liked to have read the books in the order they were written but I do quite like the retrospective view of the younger Harry. As always with Nesbo, this novel is a gripping, fast-paced read with unexpected twists and turns. Although maybe not as polished as his later books, I would highly recommend it to all Harry Hole's legion of fans and for all those who want to start at the early stages of Harry's career.

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