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Before Harry took on the neo-Nazi gangs of Oslo, before he met Rakel, before The Snowman tried to take everything he held dear, he went to Australia. Harry Hole is sent to Sydney to investigate the murder of Inger Holter, a young Norwegian girl who was working in a bar. Initially sidelined as an outsider, Harry becomes central to the Australian police investigation when they start to notice a number of unsolved rape and murder cases around the country. The victims were usually young blondes. Inger had a number of admirers, each with his own share of secrets, but there is no obvious suspect and the pattern of the other crimes seems impossible to crack. Then a circus performer is brutally murdered, followed by yet another young woman. Harry is in a race against time to stop a highly intelligent killer who is bent on total destruction.
“Even with this first book Nesbø’s command of the idiom is completely in place—there is absolutely no sense that the writer was finding his feet and aficionados will be very pleased to slide this on to their bookshelves alongside the other Harry Hole novels.” -- The Daily Express
“It is fantastic to see a younger Harry, a more loquacious Harry. . . . [Nesbø is] a terrific writer who knows how to build a story, taking you slowly to the top of a rollercoaster before sending you hurtling towards a solution that you never see coming.” -- Scottish Express
“Nesbø is already taking on the clichés, ruthlessly tearing them apart and coming up with new riffs. . . . Most satisfyingly, we can now see the organic shape that Nesbø always intended his work to take.” -- The Independent (London)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Byron on 09-07-13
First Harry Hole finally translated into English!!
Although this is the first in the Harry Hole series, it's just now coming to America after many of the later books have made fans of many Americans. Luckily, this is the first book I've read in this series. I love knowing the background of the hero before getting into the later books. Harry Hole was a great character to read about in this book. Alcoholic, rushing into dangerous situations, and unlucky in love, Harry pushes for results regardless of what will happen to him.
In trouble with his Norwegian police force, Harry is sent to Australia with instructions to stay out of trouble while "looking" into the death of an woman celebrity from his homeland. The Australian police force pairs him up with an Aboriginal policeman, who is full of historical information and strange friends. The Australians want to find a simple single murderer, but Harry in convinced that they should be seeking a serial killer. Meanwhile, he quickly finds a love interest that complicates his life.
I'm really glad I started the series here. Really enjoyed the philosophical discussions that developed these characters. The story development was fast passed, and developed beautifully. Looking forward to reading all the rest of this series now that I've had an appetizing taste of this very flawed, but very compelling man named Harry Hole---pronounced Harry Holy.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
By KP on 07-10-13
Not as good as the others....
I’ve read several books in the Harry Hole series, and so I was interested in finally reading this, the first in the series. I was always curious as to why it hadn’t yet been translated into English.
Perhaps the reason it took so long to bring this to the English speaking public is because it’s not as good as his other books? I might not have wanted to continue the series if I’d started with this book, BUT since I’d become acquainted with Harry Hole, I wanted to know more about his history and his beginnings. I did get to know a lot more about him and why his personality is as dark as it is.
I didn’t think the plot was as exciting or as good as the other books I’ve read by Nesbo. I also wasn’t very interested in all the philosophical asides that he threw in. A couple of them were interesting, but I started to get tired of them, and they started to seem like filler.
Wow, I just looked and there are quite a few I’d need to read to get to the one I started with, The Snowman. Also, it looks like #2 in the series, The Cockroaches, still hasn’t been translated. I’ll take a break from Harry Hole and see if #2 comes around in English, and then perhaps I’ll try again. Hopefully, Nesbo gets better with each book!
• In The Bat (1997), Hole is sent to Sydney, Australia to investigate the murder of a B-list celebrity.
• In The Cockroaches (1998), Hole is sent to Thailand to investigate the murder of the Norwegian ambassador.
• In The Redbreast (2000), Hole is promoted to inspector in the Oslo Police District and tracks an insane assassin with a vendetta against the Norwegian Royal Family.
• In Nemesis (2002), Hole investigates a fatal bank robbery and becomes implicated in the apparent murder of an ex-girlfriend.
• In The Devil's Star (2003), Hole suspects another detective, Tom Waaler, of being a murderous arms smuggler responsible for the death of Hole's former partner.
• In The Redeemer (2005), Hole is on the trail of a Croat hitman who kills a Salvation Army officer during a Christmas street concert.
• In The Snowman (2007), Hole struggles to identify Norway's first serial killer.
• In The Leopard (2009), Hole returns from a self-imposed exile in Hong Kong and unofficially investigates a serial killer.
• In Phantom (2011), Hole again returns from Hong Kong to look into a murder apparently committed by his would-be son, Oleg. His investigation draws him into Oslo's drug scene.
37 of 39 people found this review helpful