In this electrifying new addition to Jo Nesbø’s internationally acclaimed series, Harry Hole must confront the darkest demons in his city—and in himself.
Inspector Harry Hole has retreated to Hong Kong, escaping the trauma of his last case in squalid opium dens, when two young women are found dead in Oslo, both drowned in their own blood. Media coverage quickly reaches a fever pitch. There are no clues, the police investigation is stalled, and Harry—the one man who might be able to help—can’t be found. After he returns to Oslo, the killer strikes again, Harry’s instincts take over, and nothing can keep him from the investigation, though there is little to go on. Worse, he will soon come to understand that he is dealing with a psychopath who will put him to the test, both professionally and personally, as never before.
Jo Nesbø is a bestselling Norwegian author and musician. He was born in Oslo and grew up in Molde. Nesbø graduated from the Norwegian School of Economics with a degree in economics. Nesbø is primarily famous for his crime novels about Detective Harry Hole, but he is also the main vocals and songwriter for the Norwegian rock band Di Derre. In 2007 Nesbø also released his first children's book, Doktor Proktors Prompepulver.
Last time I heard from you, you lost the woman you loved, her son who called you Dad and your middle finger. You quit Crime Squad for good, sulking from the trauma and devastation in your life caused chasing down that twisted Snowman. You moved to Hong Kong where you graduated at the top of your class from Jim Beam to heroin. No more serial killer hunts for you. Just smack, glass noodles and gambling on losing horses. The good life for someone who has given up on life.
Then this woman Kaja from Oslo Crime Squad shows up at you doorstep, pays your gambling debt and convinces you to come back to Oslo and chase down yet another Norwegian serial killer. How many could Norway have and why are their killings so over the top gruesome? What ever happened to just shooting them. Who knows and who cares. The fun is in the chase. You are one smooth operator Harry. Cool under pressure. You don't give a toss what your colleagues think of you or whether your boss throws you in jail. You have got to stop messing with the H Harry it makes you vulnerable.
You put together the clues peel back the layers to find the killer only to have more twist and surprises placed in your path. Nothing is ever straight forward in you life is it Harry? You dodge department infighting, avalanches, and trial by fire, volcanoes, bullets and the bite of a very bad apple. Don't mind the maggots.
Now you have faded in the sunset again back into your squalid corner of the world. But I know you will be back. There is always another nut job serial killer out there and who else can find them? And you know Rakel and Oleg need you. Don't wait too long Harry.
Nesbø's Harry Hole books should come with at least two warnings on them; Never start to read one if you need a full night of sleep (you will be up until way too late because the story is just too addictive), and never start to read one if you don't have at least one more Harry Hole, ideally in chronological order lined up waiting for you next, since you'll probably be going on Harry Hole binge. This one would work great outside the series too, but it is much more enjoyable if you read the HH books in order.
Nordic noir is an understatement. Very noir, and very Nordic. Oslo and exotic Norway (and a bit of Hong Kong and Congo), how much more exotic or Nordic can you get? Harry is noir. Imagine Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, make him more noir and to get his bottle easier and place him in Norway. The same type of characters in the police force (a chief who's not exactly agreeing with Harry is a recurrent theme in the series), the same amount of twists and turns. A lot of interesting characters, and everyone's suspicious. Everyone, even with the most polished and shiny public face has a dark side and their secrets. And all these characters with their drive the story to a very dark soup... blame the characters, not Nesbø - they clearly drove the story forward, in a fabric, and to a neatly folded, solved fabric.
In short, Harry's found by a fresh police colleague from Norway in Hong Kong where he fled after the Snowman case, and he's convinced to get back to Oslo to investigate a few murder cases which make it seem there is another serial killer in loose (he returns there because his father's dying but good enough, he ends up investigating the case anyway). The murder weapon is interesting and rare to be sure. There's an intense fabric of clues pointing the detectives to places and people, and any time it seems they are close to a resolution, if you're on the page 200 or 300, wait for many more nearly solutions until the case is built back as it happened.
And yes, now I can't wait to get the next HH in my hands... hi, I'm Anna and I'm HarryHoleholic. Just like Harry Hole wants his bottle of Jim Bean, I want an endless supply of Harry Hole stories.
The Leopard by Jo Nesbø is a real Russian doll of a thriller. Intricately and meticulously plotted, it’s full of twists, tricks and suprises. The brain needs to work overtime as theories become redundant, constantly being replaced by new ones. This is a powerful tale of warring police departments, gory and imaginative killings, scary obsessions, strange motives, lots of snow and of course Harry Hole. At the beginning of this story our hero has to be dragged back from a squalid existence in Hong Kong where he’s slowly destroying himself in a cloud of opium. He’s considered to be the only one able to solve the unsolvable. This is the eighth outing for the troubled and complex Norwegian policeman and in this long, tense novel we see him in all of his rangy, ruined brilliance. I often worry that Harry won’t make it to the end of the book, such are the violent sacrifices that he constantly makes, but I guess he realises there are more books in the series awaiting him and more mind bending puzzles that need his unique skills! Don’t even try to work out the twisted conundrums contained in The Leopard ........ leave it to Harry! A masterful thriller by surely one of the best crime writers writing today.
”Where was he? Was he standing right behind her? She held her breath, listened. She couldn’t hear anything, but she could sense a presence. Like a leopard. Someone had told her leopards made so little noise they could sneak right up to their prey in the dark. They could regulate their breathing so that it was in tune with yours. Could hold their breath when you held yours. She was certain she could feel his body heat. What was he waiting for? She exhaled again. And at that same moment was sure she had felt breath on her neck. She whirled around, hit out, but was met by air. She hunched up, tried to make herself small, to hide. Pointless.
The days she had wasted for the days she thought she would have.”
Women are being killed in traumatic and dramatic fashion on the streets of Oslo. The killer is a show off, a killer intent on inspiring the most terror in his victims as well as the population of Norway. The man most likely to be able to stop him is AWOL.
Harry Hole is on sabbatical. His status as a police officer is uncertain in the minds of his bosses, but in his mind, he is done. The cost has become too great for him and the people he cares about. The Snowman, his diabolical adversary in the book preceding this one, nearly broke him. He doesn’t like the person he becomes when he is chasing these deranged, murdering monsters. He starts to understand them on a level that reveals his own inner madness.
Harry is currently living a life of oblivion in Hong Kong, in a haze of sweet opium smoke. He wants to forget, but he doesn’t want to go back to drinking. I always say that booze is about diminishing returns. The first drink is the best. The second is pretty good. The third is okay, and anything beyond that is probably just a waste of good alcohol. Harry has drunk a lake of booze and doesn’t want to drink another. The opium is working. He doesn’t have to think about anything or, more importantly, remember anything.
Kaja Solness is in Hong Kong looking for him. They need him back in Oslo to do what he does best...catch a killer. He’s not interested, but she has an ace in the hole. His father is dying.
Mikael Bellman, the head of the Kripos, a unit that is a rival to Harry’s murder squad, isn’t pleased to hear that Harry is back in town. He loathes Hole and the feeling is mutual. ”Harry looked at Bellman. He could not help but admire him. The way you admire a cockroach you flush down the toilet, that comes creeping back. Again and again. And in the end it inherits the world.” Bellman is certainly more interested in building his own reputation than he is about serving and protecting his country. He’s been green with envy ever since Harry cracked the Snowman case, and he isn’t going to give him a chance to solve this latest serial killer crime.
What’s frustrating, of course, since I am a civilian, is reading about police working at cross purposes. We see it in the states with the multi-layers of law enforcement who battle each other almost as much as they battle the criminal elements. They compete for busts because busts lead to better funding. What Bellman should be is thankful that a man like Harry Hole exists. A man who is willing to put everything on the line, not to be famous, but to catch a murderer and in the process, hopefully, save lives.
Harry is going to be betrayed. He is going to fall down a booze rabbit hole. He is going to try and make amends to his dying father. He is going to try and catch a killer on a shoestring operation. He is going to follow a clue into the steamy Congo, a place where people go missing every day without a trace. There are going to be deathly avalanches, notes from the killer, and more tortured, dead bodies. Every day he doesn’t catch the killer is another day someone else can die. He is going to fall in lust with a woman and with the chase, but neither will be enough to place him squarely back on his feet. He is in the crosshairs of a killer again, and the revenge the killer feels for others will be turned on Harry.
”Harry Hole, not demolish and destroy. You will have to pay compensation. If not, I will take something from you that you hold dear. In a matter of seconds. You have no idea how easy it will be.”
This is the eighth Harry Hole book out of twelve. Needless to say, I am behind, as I am with every long lasting mystery series I enjoy. Not to mention all the stand alone novels that Nesbo has been publishing besides the Hole books that I haven’t even had time to glance at. I noticed that, as his success has grown, his Harry Hole books have gotten longer. This one weighs in at 611 pages. Length is usually a sign of success and a publisher who doesn’t mind spending more money on pages, knowing that they will have another bestseller on their hands. The twisty plot certainly kept me turning the pages, and I’m certainly invested in Harry Hole. I was pleasantly surprised to see Katrine Bratt show back up, Harry’s partner with the Snowman case. His partners don’t fare well, but then neither does Harry. She is willing, yet again, to offer Hole some help, even if it is from the bowels of an insane asylum.
I must say, though, the book exhausted me, not in a bad way, but certainly shows the extent with which Jo Nesbo can manipulate me emotionally. This is a thriller in all sense of the word. I will join the chorus of fans saying, Jo...could you give Harry a break? Could you let something on a personal level go well for him? Anything? :-)
Number 8 in the Harry Hole series and maybe the best out of all of them so far! Harry is by now a confirmed alcoholic and spends a lot of his time in drunken binges but when a new serial killer comes on the scene he manages to stay sober long enough to solve the case. Despite his failings Harry is still such a likeable character and always smart enough to win out over criminals and bent police officers. Possibly his success is due to the fact that he really really does not care what happens to him and he cruises in and out of danger with no apparent fear. I very much enjoy this series and am glad I still have two more to go at least!
4.5 stars. Think this might be my favorite so far. I was a lot more invested in Harry Hole this time around and found the story quite more "nail biting". Hope my intense interest will continue in the next one. Determined to finish this series at least before the year ends, at least all the books that are out
Perhaps I didn’t want to dredge up the memory of The Leopard. Its imagery continues to haunt me. Seriously, some of the graphic violence in this book wouldn’t be out of place in the film genre that’s known as “torture porn” (for horror film novices: see the Saw or Hostel movies).
But damn, Nesbo knows how to construct compelling plots, full of complex characters, did-NOT-see-that-coming plot twists, and, his big drawing card, a vivid sense of place. This is the perfect book to read while alone in a wintry, snowed-in cottage, the fire crackling and coffee pot on... but if you were reading this book in said cottage one night, you’d probably call 911 and get airlifted out before morning.
The grizzled, alcoholic Harry Hole (get that smirk off your face - his name isn’t pronounced the way you think it is), hiding in Hong Kong after the grisly events of The Snowman, is drawn back to Oslo because his father his ill. But the police also want him to help solve some gruesome crimes involving victims who don’t seem to have anything in common except the way they die: drowning in their own blood with 24 puncture wounds in their heads. (Ugh, just typing that and knowing how they die makes my blood curdle.)
Once back in Oslo, Harry sees that the police department is going through some changes - lots of bureaucratic politics - so he sets up his own secret team in a basement office to investigate the crimes. And soon he gets some juicy leads involving a cabin in the country, Africa and volcanoes. Eventually he gets pulled deeper and deeper into the orbit of the psychotic murderer (note: the killer narrates certain sections, which are italicized, a very creepy, effective touch).
This is a long novel, and as with The Snowman, there’s a lot of setup, but that only makes you invested in the characters and situations so you’ll be turning those pages late into the night and saying, “One more chapter… okay, one more" until you're done.
There’s also a rich theme about fathers and sons that’s very poignant.
I liked this book even more than The Snowman. I’m sure it will eventually be adapted for the screen, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch certain scenes. Once you read the book, you’ll see what I mean.
At the end of the seventh book in this series, The Snowman, Inspector Harry Hole was an emotional wreck. The case had taken a very heavy toll on him personally and his reaction to it all was to quit the Oslo police force and run away to Hong Kong where he lost himself in the city's notorious opium dens. But now a new serial killer may be stalking victims back in Norway and Harry is the most experienced policeman in the country in dealing with such criminals.
Harry's boss sends Kaja Solness, an attractive young female detective, to Hong Kong to track Harry down and bring him back. She does manage to find him, but Harry insists that there's no way he's going back. Then Solness drops the bomb: Harry's father is in the hospital, close to death. Harry now agrees to return, but insists that he's going back only to see his father and that he has no intention of returning to the police force.
Famous last words. Shortly after he returns to Oslo, a third victim is killed. Like the first two victims, this one is murdered in a particularly unusual and brutal way. Harry is at heart, of course, a born murder investigator. His curiosity is aroused and so he now agrees to hunt the killer. But he immediately finds himself in the middle of a turf war over who is going to be responsible for investigating homicides in Norway in the future. Will these crimes continue to be investigated locally, or will murder investigations now effectively be nationalized under the direction of a single agency?
Complicating matters is the fact that Mikael Bellman, the second in command of Kripos, the national agency involved, is a glory hound who wants all the credit for a successful investigation to accrue to himself. He's jealous of Harry and afraid that Harry might outshine him. And so, although Harry's local boss, Gunnar Hagen, desperately wants him investigating the case, Bellman bars him from the investigation.
But Harry has the scent now, and no incompetent bureaucrat is going to keep him from the trail. Harry ultimately discovers a thread that links the seemingly random victims together. In fact there is a very clever and very dangerous killer at work here, and the hunt will take Harry as far away as Africa. Harry's investigation and the turf battle with Mikael Bellman are both compelling plots that run through the book, and this winds up being one of the best entries in the series thus far. Again, it will take a very heavy personal toll on Harry, who also has to deal with the problem of his father's decline. But as hard as it might be on Harry, it's great fun for the reader. Nesbo writes beautifully; twists and turns abound, and the story is likely to keep one up very late into the night.
Οι τρεις αγαπημένοι μου Χαρούληδες (όχι απαραίτητα με αυτή τη σειρά) είναι οι εξής: 1ον) Χάρι Πότερ για τις αναμνήσεις των εφηβικών – φοιτητικών χρόνων και την αγωνία για κάθε καινούριο βιβλίο 2ον) Χάρι Χόλε για τα αξημέρωτα βράδια που αγωνιούσα ποιος είναι ο δολοφόνος και αν θα επιβιώσει ο αγαπημένος μου επιθεωρητής ή αν θα τα σκατώσει εξαιτίας του ποτού 3ον) Γιάννης Χαρούλης γιατί… εντάξει, έχετε πάει σε live του; Πάμε λοιπόν στο νο 2, όπου σε αυτή την περιπέτεια τα πράγματα… δεν έχουν πολύ σχέση με τους άλλους δυο Χαρούληδες, από θέμα διασκέδασης, ζωντάνιας και αισιοδοξίας μιλάω πάντα. Εδώ ο Νέσμπο γίνεται πιο νουάρ από ποτέ και οι καταστάσεις στις οποίες βάζει την ήρωά του να ζει ξεπερνάνε κατά πολύ τις συνηθισμένες περιπέτειες ενός αστυνομικού. Καταρχήν, πλέον το ποτό δεν φτάνει ώστε ο Χάρι να καταπνίξει τους δαίμονες και τις τύψεις του για τα γεγονότα που παρακολουθήσαμε στο Χιονάνθρωπο (και θα τα δούμε με το Φασμπέντερ τον Οκτώβριο του 2017 αφού πρώτα τον απολαύσουμε ως Ασσασίνο). Επίσης (καινούρια παρένθεση) ΜΗΝ ΔΙΑΒΑΣΕΤΕ ΤΗ ΛΕΟΠΑΡΔΑΛΗ ΠΡΙΝ ΤΟ ΧΙΟΝΑΝΘΡΩΠΟ ΓΙΑ ΚΑΝΕΝΑ ΛΟΓΟ, ΘΑ ΚΑΤΑΛΑΒΕΤΕ ΠΟΙΟΣ ΕΙΝΑΙ Ο ΧΙΟΝΑΝΡΘΩΠΟΣ (ναι, πρώτα διάβασα τη λεοπάρδαλη και μετά το χιονάνθρωπο……). Το καινούριο «φάρμακο» του Χάρι, λοιπόν, είναι το όπιο, το οποίο και προμηθεύεται από κάτι καλά παιδιά της Μαφίας του Honk Kong. Άρα, δεν μας έφτανε το πρόβλημα του αλκοολισμού, έχουμε και δεύτερο πρόβλημα εξάρτησης, ίσως λίγο σημαντικότερο για τη διαύγειά του. Παρ’ όλα αυτά, θεωρείται ο πλέον ικανός αστυνομικός για να επιλύσει μια παράξενη υπόθεση, όπου δυο νεαρές κοπέλες βρίσκονται πνιγμένες στο ίδιο τους το αίμα. Οι υποψίες κινούνται γύρω από κάποιο πρόσωπο, μετά γύρω από κάποιο άλλο, το θέμα είναι ότι ο Χάρι φτάνει μέχρι το Κογκό – άλλη δημοκρατική και καθόλου διεφθαρμένη χώρα – της Αφρικής προκειμένου να μπορέσει να βρει τη λύση. Ταυτόχρονα, έχει να ξαναζήσει τα συγκλονιστικά γεγονότα του Χιονάνθρωπου, αντιμετωπίζοντας ανθρώπους, μέρη και καταστάσεις, με σημαντικότερη από όλα την απουσία της Ράκελ και του Όλεγκ.
Το βιβλίο ήταν γύρω στις 800 σελίδες και το διάβασα σε λιγότερο από 5 μέρες, σε φάση φουλ δουλειάς, προφανώς χωρίς να κοιμηθώ τις περισσότερες! Επίσης δεν ξέρω κατά πόσο ήμουν σε διαύγεια κατά τις 5 το πρωί, αλλά ένα περιστατικό με έναν μαύρο μπράβο να κρατάει το Χάρι πάνω από ένα ηφαίστειο έτοιμος να τον αφήσει, δεν λέει να φύγει από το μυαλό μου. Μη θεωρήσετε ρατσιστικό το μαύρο μπράβο, σκεφτείτε απλά την εικόνα ενός διεφθαρμένου αφρικανού στρατιώτη, έτοιμου να δολοφονήσει επειδή τον πληρώνουν. Ούτε που θυμάμαι πώς τη γλίτωσε ο Χάρι από εκείνη τη φάση... Σπόιλερ?? πού να διαβάσετε το βιβλίο... τίποτα δεν σας είπα!
Θα έλεγα ότι είναι από τα πιο συγκλονιστικά βιβλία της σειράς, αλλά ακολουθούν τα επόμενα δύο, όπου η κατάσταση ξεφεύγει ακόμα περισσότερο.
The violence in The Leopard is gruesome and unrelenting (took me a while to craft a review without the phrase "sick fuck" in it [oops]). For some, I know, it will be too much. It came close for me, but my lack of an ability to visualize allowed me to power through.
That said, the violence works well within the story. Detective Harry Hole is back on the case of another serial killer and lets face it, things have to get pretty damn dicey to shake up Harry (and he is well and truly shook).
This thriller is well-paced and terrifying. I could not put it down once I got to the halfway point. If you are squeamish, read it during daylight hours.
Cel mai intens volum din serie, după crimele Omului de zăpadă, Hole are de rezolvat crimele unui criminal sadic, inteligent, carismatic și foarte bine ascuns. Interesantă este legatura cu volumul anterior, considerat cel mai bun din serie, Hole oferindu-i cu cadou internat adversarului său. Ca întotdeauna Nesbo reușește să creeze povești complexe și să te încurce atunci când totul pare rezolvat.
Най на края, след осем прочетени книи от серията, мога да го напиша с чиста съвест - отлични 5* за Несбьо и неговия блуден детектив Хари Хуле!
"Леопардът" е страхотен криминален трилър, не можеш да го оставиш настрана, щом веднъж си го почнал.
Има връзка с предния роман - "Снежния човек" и е добре да се четат последователно.
Хари Хуле се е заврял в някаква китайска дупка, в опит да избяга от кошмарите свързани с последното му преследване на жесток сериен убиец. Кротко си пуши опиум и се крие от главорезите на местната триада.
Един ден от Норвегия пристига хубавата полицайка Кая, носеща му две новини - баща му е на смъртно легло, а из Осло вилнее нов психопат. Случай, с който полицията и КРИПОС не могат да се справят вече месеци.
Хари няма избор и се завръща...
И ако се чудите, има един леопард в книгата - потаен, самотен и мрачен ловец, но прозаично прегазен с кола.
P.S. Романът е изграден много по-добре от останалите в серията, липсват обърквации, повторения и досадни части, недопринасящи с нищо за развитието на сюжета. Надявам се авторът да продължи да твори в този дух!
I am a biased fan, so my passion for this series among the steam of Nordic Noir hits has to be considered in that context. The figure of tough and sensitive Harry Hole, usually detective with the Olso major crimes squad, is up there in my pantheon of fictional crime fighters, which includes near the heavens Harry Bosch, Dave Robicheaux, Elvis Cole, Virgil Flowers, Jack Reacher, Walt Longmire, and Spenser.
At curtain rise, Harry is basically living under a rock in Hong Kong. The threats and damages experienced by his wife Rakel while he worked the Snowman serial murder case led her to split town, taking their son Oleg with her. Harry’s guilt and isolation eventually moved him to split, too, with the planned pit-stop of Hong Kong becoming more of a permanent site of hiding. As a female detective Kaja from Oslo finds out when she is sent there to fetch him, he is living a marginal existence in a youth hostel with a growing addiction to opium and hiding out from a criminal gang who bought his debt gambling at the horse races. Unless you have come to respect Harry’s tenacity in police work and love him for his courage and loyalty to the deserving few, these sections will not warm your heart to him.
The urgency for the implausible step of the Oslo office to track him down in person comes from a new serial killer case in Norway. His old boss Gunnar Hagen needs him badly to solve the case fast before media criticism of his division and public outcry over the extreme brutality of the deaths helps the new man at the federal security agency, Bellman, wangle designated responsibility for all murders out of the Ministry of Justice. The potential demise of his old department is not what motivates Harry to return with Kaja; it’s the news she shares about the impending death of his own father. Eventually the puzzle of the case and the increasing body count from the killer that moves Harry back into action. And the competition between departments becomes less of a bore to Harry (and the reader) when Bellman begins carrying out dirty tricks and creative blackmail against Harry to get his way. Eventually, the grisly murder of a female MP ups the pressure so much that he chooses to force Harry to work for him directly. Not to worry, as Harry has his ways of slipping this bridle and wreaking some payback.
I refrain from any details of the case itself and the line of promising suspects investigated. I can share some hints about the scope of the efforts. It will take Harry on a dangerous trip to the Republic of the Congo to find the origins of a bizarre weapon used in some of the murders, a fiendish device called “King Leopold’s Apple”. Another trip there later in the book will put him Another lead is the discovery that at least some of the victims were together one evening at a remote rude mountain lodge for cross-country skiers. One of Harry’s hairiest brushes with death comes when an attempt to trap the killer there gets him, Kaya, and another officer buried in an avalanche. His extreme efforts to save their lives involves a terrible moral choice, and more scars to his sole. I can also reveal that Kaja makes a great partner for Harry and a burgeoning love interest, though not one to threaten his abiding goal to get Rakel back.
All in all, this 8th entry of ten in the series is among the best of them. One could complain that it is too long (670 pages), overly complex, and too dependent on implausible elements and surprising turns of events. But for the most part, these aspects are par for the course. These books are popular despite such limitations. Harry’s struggles against the evil ones among humanity and his compelling fight for self-respect and loyalty to friends and family are what we crave, and his story plays out on a complex social canvas. Norway, one of the most progressive showcases for an egalitarian society among nations, is shown to beset by the same major ills as the rest of the developed nations—people falling through the cracks or oppressed by human greed, racism, discriminatory attitudes against immigrants, police corruption, child abuse, and the bad karma of the past of European colonialism abroad. No wonder some twisted people emerge and our ongoing need for a courageous hero like Hole to bring them to justice by harnessing his special understanding of the dark side of human nature. As with classic noir, it depends on your taste whether you will find the read uplifting as I do or depressing from the subjects and crimes the story dwells on.
Nesbo as posted on his Goodreads page. He seems to have lost his hairless, punkish look. In the past he had less hair For want of much description, I imaging Harry looks like this.
I can't explain what a painful ordeal it was to finish this book. Please realize that the reader is an amateur detective who is trying to decipher the clues along with the fictional detective. And he/she is not going to be pleased when he figures out where it is heading at 40% while the detective doesn't have a clue. What is more frustrating is that his/her 'cracking' the case is primarily attributed to knowing the author. (Why doesn't Harry Hole learn?)
The worst thing that can happen in a series is it becomes a template. The first few books you enjoy and then it is a straight fit. Also did i mention the book size? The reader doesn't need 500 odd pages for a straightforward murder mystery. And you don't need so many murders and so many red herrings that make the entire police force seem like a bunch of morons who can't tell the time of the day!
I'm sure the series is still doing good because a part of the fan base likes to feel the rush of the thrills. I was never a fan of books that deliberately go out of way to break logical flow to include twists which are less logical and full of holes. When Perry Mason or Hercule Poirot do it, they do it in 140 pages and even then they don't try to throw you off intentionally. It's called deduction - not smokescreen.
After Snowman and this book - where the entire Norwegian crime branch is missing obvious clues, I am going to give it a pass for the rest of the series. I can't take this dumbing down of heroes. Also, you don't have to make Harry Hole into Vikram's Betal to climb into dens at the end of every book and disfigure him every time.
I am still going to give you the benefit of doubt for standalone books since you don't carry the baggage of a template. Hope you also get a better publishing house which doesn't give you page count.
5 αστεράκια γιατί ο κύριος nesbo διδάσκει ΚΑΙ ψυχολογία ΚΑΙ Εγκληματολογία!
Απ'τη μια έχουμε την καθαρά αστυνομική πλευρά του βιβλίου, έναν δολοφόνο τόσο πονηρά και εντέχνως κρυμμένο, τόσο πανέξυπνα γραμμένο...τι να πω! Μπράβο!(όσοι διαβάζατε τα updates μου μετά λύπης εχω να σας ενημερώσω ότι Οχι, τελικά έφτασα πολύ κοντά αλλά δεν βρήκα τον δολοφονο😟)
Απ'την άλλη φυσικά υπάρχει η προσωπική ζωή του Χάρι ο οποίος σ'αυτό το βιβλίο έχει να αντιμετωπίσει (Εκτός απ'τα γνωστά ερωτικά του δραματα) τον επικείμενο θανάτο του πατέρα του. Έχουμε την ευκαιρία λοιπόν να παρακολουθήσουμε κάποιες σκηνές αρκετά συγκινητικές του Χάρι με τον Ούλε(σκηνές που γενικά ο Νεσμπο δε μας έχει δώσει σε αλλα βιβλία) στις οποίες διαγράφεται η εξέλιξη αυτης της σχέσης πατέρα-γιου.
Επόμενως αν έχετε διαβάσει τα προηγούμενα της σειράς Χόλε, μην το αφήσετε! Αν απλώς ψάχνετε ένα αστυνομικό, αξίζει παρα πολύ, αλλά δε θα εκτιμήσετε την "προσωπική" πλευρά του βιβλίου και θα 'ναι κρίμα!
I'm not a fan of crime fiction, unless it was written by Raymond Chandler, but that's not crime fiction - that's noir literature. However, I was enticed by and enjoyed the Stieg Larsson books last summer, despite how poorly they were edited and awful the English translations were. The narratives were compelling, and I couldn't put them down.
I decided to pick up the latest book by Jo Nesbo - billed as the "Norwegian Stieg Larsson" - because I was curious about this new trend of explicitly gruesome murder mysteries in Scandinavia. They are the crime forensics TV shows and gore-schlock movies of the publishing world, and I've read theories that the bleak and desolate landscapes and climates of the region are a natural setting and reason for such books. A few days after I started reading "The Leopard," mostly unimpressed, the Oslo massacre took place, and the book became significant in a new way.
It still wasn't very good, and while it didn't explain or justify irrational violence, it was a strange parallel. The killer in the book is driven by a life-long hatred, derived power from torturing victims at his mercy, and invested effort in cooking up an elaborate plot to cover his tracks. Sadly, the real victims are those who spent time reading this book.
First, it's hard to enjoy a book when you absolutely cannot stand the protagonist. Crime novelists with a detective for a central character inadvertently pride themselves on molding tragic heroes who are smart about everything but running their own lives. Unfortunately, most try too hard and fail. Harry Hole, making his seventh appearance in a Nesbo novel, to be is just a sad sack of shit who can't get his life together. Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade - all the great crime detectives - constantly fall apart, too, but they remain knights in tainted armor. Hole is just annoying and a coward - he doesn't even get inebriated as suavely as Chandler and Hammett characters.
Then, the entire novel just feels like a TV show. One of the reasons I dislike watching TV dramas is that each one of them, especially on the mainstream channels, are calculated to keep you coming back each week. It's like you can see where the cliff drops off, yet you continue to lunge towards it and jump off, just to remain hanging on until the episode picks up again seven days later. It's manipulative. The twists seem forced, and the book is a hundred pages too long just to be able to toss one more huge wrench into your gullet and show off a huge rescue scene (which was actually very well done).
And that's the thing - there certainly are flashes of brilliance in the book, which I enjoyed, but they're burdened by Nesbo trying to be too cool, too badass, too smart for the readers. I love a great twist, but only when it's so masterfully executed it creeps up from behind, and has its tentacles around your neck before you even realize it's starting to squeeze you dry. Nesbo's are generally rats that you can smell barns away, and some you can actually pick up the scent on before the stench gets out.
Nesbo is obviously very influenced by American pop culture, and throughout the book, characters' moods and states of mind are established by music they're listening to and movies they have a particular affliction for. And that's why he attempts to write in a noir style, which sometimes works well, in lines like:
"... damp steamed off the walls like bad breath." "... blew smoke at the ceiling fan, which was turning so slowly that the flies were taking rides on it." "...the stained advanced like the Wehrmacht over a map of Europe."
Interspersed with lines such as: "'Don't overplay your hand, Hole. I'll crush you just like that.' Bellman flicked his fingers." "'I want you,' she whispered. 'I want to make love to you.'" "He checked the phone again. No coverage, shit!"
Cringe. At these points, I almost knew how it felt like to be one of these imagined people, captured by a serial killing maniac and tortured, except that I was in the hands of a gung-ho serial novelist. I finished the book as quickly as I could, just like any good homicide detective - so the perpetrator can't strike again - and felt the relief of finally resolving and closing the book of a wrongful crime.
This was my least favorite Jo Nesbo book. I would love to blame it on the fact that I started it while riding home from Pgh or that it took me over 10 days to finish (a VERY long time for me to finish a 500 page book) However, I think it's because there were way too many characters, too many plot twists, and Harry just lost a little something for me. He was borderline pathetic. Many times throughout the story I wanted to slap him, at best. I just don't know.
I do know that if this was my first Harry Hole novel, it would also be my last.
There were the typical character statements that I like to quote...The Snowman asks if Harry misses his middle finger and Harry responds, "I do, at this minute." And, other passages that I could quote while wishing I had 1/100 of the writing talent of Mr. Nesbo. Mr. Nesbo is An Excellent Writer. I really do love him.
But....either let Harry grow or leave him alone. I tire of this Harry of the superior detective/inferior human being world. Either allow him to be what he is or change him. Release him from limbo.
And stop dropping red herrings EVERYWHERE. A. they stink. B. they take away from your story. There were so many characters introduced that went nowhere that I couldn't keep up. Honestly, I didn't even try.
Best said- Jo Nesbo is an amazing writer. Harry Hole is a wonderfully developed character. Maybe I'm ready to see what Jo can do without the crutch of Harry.
After catching the serial killer known as the Snowman Harry Hole quit the Crime Squad and lit out for Hong Kong where he could indulge in drinking, gambling and heroin in an attempt to forget about Rakel. But now there has been a series of inexplicably linked deaths and Crime Squad want Harry back in Oslo and his ex-colleague Kaja Solness is sent to track him down.
I think this might be my favourite Jo Nesbo to date (just ahead of The Snowman). The plot is complex and made more so by the tug of war going on between Crime Squad and Kripos (Norwegian National Crime Investigation Service) over who should be investigating murders. As usual Harry doesn't care much about politics but just gets on with the job using whatever resources he can get his hands on in between bouts of heavy drinking and visiting his dying father in the hospital. The action ranges from the snowy slopes of Norway's mountains to African volcanoes with several nasty deaths and quite a few suspects as Harry tries to narrow down who is involved in the killings.
حسناً...فالمحقق "هاري هول" لا يملك ما يكفي من المعطيات أو من الخيوط التي قد يتتبعها لتمكنه من القبض على قاتل متسلسل يبدو محترفاً ، فهو لا يُخلف وراءه سوى ضحاياه غارقين في دمائهم.... "هول" يتمتع بذكاء حاد ، عبقري في التقاط التفاصيل مهما بدت صغيرة بل والربط فيما بينها ، لا يأبه لتحقيق المجد الشخصي فالمهم القبض على الأشرار لا يقبل التسويات ولا أنصاف الحلول ..يتمتع بذهن حاضر متقد لا يخذله إلا عندما يقدم على احتساء الشراب ولا يفعل ذلك إلا عندما يقع في هوة سحيقة من الفراغ واللامعنى.. يعجز عن انتزاع حبيبته "راكيل" من قلبه ، إنه بحاجة الى قلب مصفحاً لعله عندئذٍ يفلح في نسيانها... هذا يعني إنه ليس بطلاً خارقاً بل انسان يملك نقاط ضعف لا يستطيع التغلب عليها.. هنا القاتل كان جانياً وضحيةً في الوقت نفسه ، ضحية لطفولة معذبة ، استشعر مرارة الاذلال والهوان ، انكسر شيئاً بداخله لا يمكن ترميمه أبداً...، لقد بات أرض قاحلة لا تتعطش إلا إلى الانتقام ولا يرويها إلا الدماء.. أخيراً لقد أجهدتني كل العمليات الذهنية التي قمت بها أثناء تعقبي للتحقيقات والأحداث العديدة والمتناثرة هنا وهناك.. هنالك كلمات تنطلق عابرة على ألسنة الشخصيات كان يستوقفني تكرارها ..هه ثمة شيء هاهنا لا تتجاهليه... سأعاود بإذن الله قراءة سلسلة المحقق هول ثانية ، هل هذا يمنحني فرصة العمل مساعدة له ؟؟ طيب والله يبدو ان هنالك فرصة وكبيرة 🤗
There are some books that aren't dreadful but just aren't worth finishing. All the same, I cannot remember the last time I read 311 pages of a book only to decide I couldn't be bothered to read the rest. After several days of being really confused by my overwhelming apathy and agonizing over what to do, I finally gave myself permission to give up.
Why couldn't I summon up the will to read? For one thing, this is not even half as good a book as The Snowman nor was its killer remotely as frightening and cool to read about. For another? The more I read, the more I kept alternating between bored out of my mind and irritated beyond belief.
I thought that maybe I could put up with this for the sake of spending more time with Harry Hole. This worked for awhile because Harry in of himself is really fascinating in a large part due to his flaws, but also his point of view in regards to virtually anything at all. I loved the opening scenes of him in Hong Kong and I was really moved by the relationship he had with his father. However, I hated that --much like the last book-- there were several female characters who were into Harry because... Well, that was a problem too. There hardly ever a compelling, believable, or even interesting reason for anything that happened, and I got tired of waiting for some to show up.
In conclusion, nothing like not the gripping, suspenseful, and electrifying novel that I was promised.
“That was what life was: a process of destruction, a disintegration from what at the outset was perfect. The only suspense involved was whether we would be destroyed in one sudden act or slowly.”
This one felt like a 740-page-long action-thriller script, but not in a bad way.
The Leopard is not my introduction to Nordic noir, but it is the first one which made me understand what segregates this genre from classic British or American thrillers. It has a sense of coldness(no pun intended) that permeates through every single activity of every character and even a single character does not fall under the age-old likeable category, whether for their perspectives or their questionable choices. It has emotional bits and pieces, but at the same time, almost 95% of the tale is emotionally distant.
The story is also very well constructed. Of course, there are some predictable twists and turns, but I think it may be due to a general overexposure to this genre in recent years, with Netflix and whatnot. There are some genuine moments with well-built suspense that will later make you marvel at the storytelling choices of the author, which, thanks to its massive size, is incredibly detailed and very political (I certainly did not expect that).
Given that, I did not find this story gruesome, contrary to what many reviews make it to be. Frankly, I could have done with a bit more horrifying elements. Also, perhaps a bit less methodical approach which as I said earlier, makes it read like a script. Also, a tiny bit of compression? Maybe?
Still, a pleasant surprise that charged me enough to go back to the beginning and start with the first book of this series.
I dusted this book off my shelf after about six years of buying it. Back at that period, I was going through a phase where not a single novel of this genre worked for me, for instance, Larsson's Dragon Tattoo(in retrospect, I believe I was unnecessarily harsh with the novel: it deserves a reread). And believe it or not, I bought it knowing neither its genre nor that it was the 8th book in a series, but because it was mentioned in an article titled "Around the World in 80 Books" or something like that, under Norway.
BBC Radio 4 wrote in their review: "Probably the best big crime novel you could lay your hands on this summer." I think they used the word big literally.
Harry is back as his self-destructive, bastard self in this 8th instalment, and somehow my fondness for him grows. Once again Harry has hit rock bottom, broke and on the run in Hong Kong he has discovered a new vice, opium. Home in Norway a person is sadistically torturing and killing victims. It is Harry's specialist field, a serial killer, but what leverage can be used this time to get him to come home and do what he does best. Harry has more lives than a cat, and the only reason I know he is going to pull through is that there are more books in this series, for which I am grateful!
Παρα τον περιορισμενο χρονο μου και την μεγαλη εκταση του βιβλιου δεν γινοταν να εχω μισαωρο κενο και να μην το πιασω στο χερια μου.!! Ηταν υπεροχο !! Αν ειμαι αντικειμενικη αυτη τη στιγμη, αφου δεν εχει περασει πανω απο ωρα που το τελειωσα, θα το ονομαςω το αγαπημενο μου απο nesbo μεχρι στιγμης!!
They walked over to the low brick wall from where the forest sloped downwards into Oslo. The clouds in the west were tinged with orange and red, and the queues of traffic on the motorway glittered like phosphorescence against the blackness of the town. It seemed to be lying there in wait, keeping watch, Harry thought. A camouflaged beast of prey...
The Leopard follows closely after The Snowman in the Oslo sequence, with a new and particularly callous serial killer taking out three women victims, apparently at random. Hagen, head of Crime Investigations at the Oslo police, sends detective Kaja Solnes to Hong Kong to find Harry Hole, tracing him to the rabbit-warren Chungking Mansions off Nathan Street, Kowloon, hiding out from the Triads who have bought his debt from racehorses, avoiding everyone else and venturing out for glass noodles and opium. He is unmoved by the thought of yet another serial killer, but returns to Oslo when he learns that his father is in hospital with not long to live.
Arriving at Oslo’s international airport Harry is immediately the target of a customs search and is to learn that the new head of Kripos, Mikael Bellman, with heavies Truls “Beavis” Berntsen and Finn, Jussi Kolkka, is lobbying the Minister of Justice to wrest control murder investigations across Norway, shutting out Police HQ in Oslo. But after several weeks the investigation of the serial killer has effectively stalled, and Gunnar Hagen sets up a small team of Harry, Kaja Solness and forensics expert Bjørn Holm to run a shadow investigation, answering to him.
Harry has an ace up his sleeve in computer expert Katrine Bratt, now a voluntary patient at a psychological clinic in Bergen, and it is she who makes the breakthrough linking the victims as cross-country skiers who stayed overnight at a cabin in the Hallingskarvet Mountains, and that a fourth woman who stayed there was reported missing by her flatmate – the family receiving a postcard from Rwanda that she was there with the man of her dreams. As Harry and his team travels to Stavanger to interview another skier they stumble on another grisly find, and Bellman makes a public announcement for anyone who stayed there on that particular night to step forward. And someone does...
Author Jo Nesbø playfully includes references to earlier books (The Bat, The Devils Star, The Snowman), but of all the Harry Hole thrillers I have read, this was the most complex and chilling. An avalanche and an active volcano. A torture sequence so carefully crafted it was left to the reader to decide the identities of victim and killer. So many characters with a past to hide that I began to wonder if there was more than one killer. And while one suspect is released on lack of hard evidence, another seems to be guiding the hand of the police.
‘A court of law would undoubtedly have handed down a life sentence, but this case isn’t about courts of law, but about politics.’
Harry Hole is a flawed, yet noble character and I particularly enjoyed the Hong Kong sequence. As a bonus the reader gets a taste of other parts of Norway holding significance to the story (Lake Lyseren and the town of Ytre Enebakk, Ustaoset for the snow-clad Hallingskarvet Mountains), and the denouement in confronting the killer in Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
‘Everyone on this continent is both a hunter and a victim. Don’t forget that as you look into the imploring eyes of a starving African child. Give them a bit of food and those eyes will soon be looking at you again, from behind an automatic weapon. And then there is no mercy.’
There is a steady undercurrent of the taking of lives, saving lives, sparing lives, of betrayals and enduring friendships and even a moral thread on assisted suicide to alleviate the pain of loved ones - set in a country like Norway where life is seen as sacred, and against the Congo, where life has little value.
It is just a crying shame that this novel is not going to be available in the U.S. right away, because really, American readers of Jo Nesbø are missing out on one of the very best books in the entire series. I couldn't even purchase a copy from Book Depository directly, so I had to take the roundabout alternative and purchase from BD through Amazon. It's a bit more expensive, but well worth it. Trust me, after finishing The Snowman, you are going to want to read this book as quickly as possible.
In fact, in this episode of the Harry Hole series, the story picks up shortly after the events of The Snowman, which (without giving too much away) took their physical and emotional toll on Harry, sending him as far away from Norway and the police department as possible to Hong Kong. There he lives in squalor, bets money he doesn't have on the horses and runs up serious debts that prevent him from leaving the country. He also discovers that opium lessens his pain and allows him to stay away from the booze. But events back in Norway soon require his presence, and Detective Kaja Solness has come to Hong Kong to collect him and bring him back to Oslo. Harry adamantly refuses, but then relents when it turns out that his father is seriously ill and in the hospital. When he returns, he discovers that there's another serial killer on the loose, a person who has killed two people in a most gruesome fashion and leaves behind no evidence. More murders occur, but he's facing an even tougher problem. His colleagues in the Crime Squad, are in a fight with the Kripos (Krimpolitisentralen) over control of murder investigations, a battle that involves not just the two rival groups, but the future careers of many of Harry's colleagues and even Harry himself. The Kripos have taken jurisdiction over this series of murders, and the investigation is in the hands of Bellman -- a politico who is all about power and control, as opposed to Harry, who wants to solve the case and bring the perpetrator to justice. While this situation complicates matters for the Crime Squad, it doesn't stop Harry from doing his own investigation. Harry gets unofficial assistance from some of his colleagues, as well as some clandestine help from an old friend to figure out what it is that connects the victims together. Once he figures this out, he believes, it will help him with the who and the why. But this is not going to be easy. It will take all that Harry has to give, which right now isn't that much, and will take him back and forth across the globe before his job is done.
The character of Harry Hole is quite possibly at his best in this novel, even though emotionally he's at his lowest point. He has become a very real person here, battling through his personal demons which makes him a bit reckless and often prone to acting without thinking. He warns others who want to work with him that it is his pattern to drag them down alongside himself, and he is not wrong. But despite all of his personal issues, Harry is the consummate detective, and will not let go of the case until it is finished, no matter what means he has to use to get the job done.
Nesbø has done an incredible job with The Leopard, and readers of crime fiction, especially those who have followed Nesbø's series from the beginning, will in no way be disappointed. He is able to peak the reader's interest at the very start of the novel with a most nasty crime and a bad guy who has absolutely no conscience, then ratchet up the tension level little by little until it is impossible to put the book down. His plotting is meticulous, but it is his attention to detail, the addition of the tension between the two police groups, and above all his portrayal of Harry Hole on a most human level that makes this story work and work well. There are also several references to Hole's other cases here and there throughout the story, bringing to mind all that this man has been through.
The Leopard is incredibly long, and I found some of it a bit confusing at times, especially regarding one of the subplots of the novel. It moves slowly in several parts to the point where you think you might be trying to crawl through jello. And yes, there are some very over-the-top moments that Nesbø seems to enjoy throwing into each one of his novels that make the action a little hard to swallow sometimes. However, it is probably my favorite of the series, and although it took some time to read, it was well worth every second. I started this on an airplane, and as much as I hate flying, I forgot where I was for the entire 5 hours because I was so caught up in the story. Do not make The Leopard your introduction to the Harry Hole series -- if nothing else, at least read The Snowman, so you will have an understanding of Harry's mindset going into this one, which is in many ways the continuation of the latter. Better yet, start with The Redbreast and read your way through one of the best crime fiction series currently available.