The murder victim, a self-declared Tinder addict. The one solid clue—fragments of rust and paint in her wounds—leaves the investigating team baffled.
Two days later, there’s a second murder: a woman of the same age, a Tinder user, an eerily similar scene.
The chief of police knows there’s only one man for this case. But Harry Hole is no longer with the force. He promised the woman he loves, and he promised himself, that he’d never go back: not after his last case, which put the people closest to him in grave danger.
But there’s something about these murders that catches his attention, something in the details that the investigators have missed. For Harry, it’s like hearing “the voice of a man he was trying not to remember.” Now, despite his promises, despite everything he risks, Harry throws himself back into the hunt for a figure who haunts him, the monster who got away.
After writing the other day about series I am never going to catch up on, today I’m reviewing one that I have managed to stay up-to-date on – the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo. This is number 11 in the series and I have read each one – in order no less! The first four or five I thought were brilliant. I came to the series late then read them all in a matter of weeks.
After that I eagerly awaited each new release and, whilst either through familiarity or writer fatigue, some that followed weren’t as good as those first books, I still kept reading because a) I loved Harry Hole as a character and b) Jo Nesbo has some brilliant twists and turns which do really keep you guessing till the last page.
Both of these still stand true for The Thirst, which – for me – has jumped back up to the ranks of brilliant. This is such a clever novel where everything you think you know is turned on it’s head more than once and you are left shaking your head in awe of how well you have been led down the garden path.
There is also that Hole as a character has been reinvented (this started in the last novel). No longer is he the alcoholic detective on a self-destructive path. Now he is a sober lecturer at the police academy with a wife and step-son who love him and ground him. All this is put at risk when he is forced back into the fray, leading a task force to catch a killer who likes to drink blood and shows no sign of stopping.
Why is up to Harry to catch him – or why do the powers that be think he can when the regular police have no clue? Because Harry is an expert in serial killers and a man who won’t stop till he catches his prey, even if it puts his own life at risk. As a reader, this is good news because it leads to an action packed book that doesn’t let up the pace until the bitter end.
It also means Nesbo can write a character in Harry who is torn between family and duty – seeing his inner demons fight each other is another reason I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Revisiting Harry is like meeting up with an old friend, albeit one you worry about constantly!
This doesn’t mean though that you have to know him well to read this book. I think it would be good as a standalone as there is enough in the plot to satisfy and not too many references to Harry’s past to make you feel like you are missing out.
There are some gruesome bits in The Thirst so it might not be for everyone but for people who like Scandinavian crime fiction and dark, gritty, stories I think this is probably a must read.