"The Leopard", by Jo Nesbo

The Leopard - Don Bartlett, Jo Nesbo, Jo Nesbo

Book # 8, in the Harry Hole Series 

Book # 6, in the Oslo Sequence Series

This novel is big and meaty, just over 600 pages, at first glance we may think it is a big long but in essence there is so much to it : a serial killer, a maverick cop, a plot with multiple threads and a large canvas to travel: from Hong Kong, Africa and Norway and of course several points in between. Mr. Nesbo did not forget Harry’s character requirements: melancholic, alcoholic, strong headed and anti- authority. This time Harry is teamed up with Kaja, an astonishingly beautiful woman colleague with problems of her own. As in all series we also find the requisite backstory.

“The Leopard” follows “The Snowman” where the horrific events at the end took an enormous toll on the Detective. It opens with Harry out in Hong Kong high on opium oblivious to everything and arm in arm with law-evaders. But his reputation as a tracker of serial killers is unsurpassable therefore he is asked to return Norway when the country is once again plagued by a multiple murderer. 

From its opening page, this case which brought Harry back to Oslo is frightening with details: a succession of women’s torture (and one young man), terror and death, in the heartland of the Norwegian mountains in the middle of winter. The deaths are notably gruesome. We cannot deny the author’s creativity when it comes to homicide. We have a few madmen in this story and it took time before Harry explains what is going on and finally the story advances from weird to weirder…another spooky gothic gloominess, good for nightmares. 

Mr. Nesbo is adept in planting seeds of the dénouement early in the narration and we do have plenty of fun twists, turns and red herrings to keep us glued to our seat although I admit to have found this to be wee bit longer than it should be.