This is yet another Scandinavian installment. We are back to Norway for this one. Our copper is Harry Hole who is a brilliant detective but he is also a raging alcoholic who gives over to his demons regularly. In fact, this story starts and Harry has been on a bender, missing great chunks of work with his colleagues having to cover up for him. It seems he has burned all his proverbial bridges and the end of the road for him, as a policeman if not his health and life, is in sight. As this is a mystery we need a body and one young woman is found minus a finger and plus a tiny red diamond under her eyelid. Hole is assigned the case along with Tom Waaler, who Hole doesn’t like. In fact he believes Waaler is a crook. Five days later another woman is reported missing and only her finger and another red diamond are found and Hole knows it is a serial killer they are dealing with. The problem is there seems to be absolutely no connection between the two whatsoever.
Compounded by a heatwave that is very rare in Oslo, tempers run high and not only is Harry trying to find this murderer he is trying to prove Waaler killed his co-worker. Most of his colleagues think he is delusional but those who know him best are willing to risk for him. He definitely goes too far but he seems so likeable, well when he’s sober anyway. Nesbo’s stories are always a little creepy but also quite brilliant. He has Harry dig and dig until he finds some kind of anomaly all the while introducing some very interesting characters most of whom you wouldn’t want to spend five minutes with.
There are a couple of chapters of him interviewing family and friends that have an eeww factor that is pretty high but I guess it takes all sorts. During the investigation of the murders Harry’s personal life is taking some pretty harsh hits as well. His romantic relationship seems to be bound for total destruction and he never seems to be available for her or her son who Harry loves just as much as the boy’s mother. You literally ache for him as the days pass by and he knows he needs to either end their romance or at least give her the courtesy of a phone call. Won’t tell you how that ends but the climax of the book compounds a lot of the storylines in one big bang.