"'...a considerable piece of work...'"
Harry Hole has buried himself in the sleazy depths of Hong Kong in order to forget the harrowing times he and his loved ones, Rakel and Oleg, suffered during his investigation into the serial murderer called “The Snowman”. He has left his position as Inspector in the Crime Squad of Oslo’s police force and abandoned himself to indulging his weaknesses and predilection for alcohol and now opium. Physically he is in very poor shape. He is called back to Norway by his old chief, Gunar Hagen, in order to solve a case involving two murdered girls. He is rescued from the predicament into which he has sunk by the young attractive detective, Kaja Solness. He is persuaded to return , not by loyalty to his boss, but because his father is seriously ill in hospital.
As he slowly reintegrates into Norwegian life, at the same time rediscovering a love for his city, he is drawn into the investigation, and the compulsive power of finding the killer takes him over. More murders are committed, with apparently little to connect them until Harry traces a common link in a skiing cabin high in the frozen wastes of the countryside. He uses his contacts and calls in many favours before, after many twists and turns right up to the very end the perpetrator of the crimes is brought down.