There are no real surprises in this book – it is a fairly typical Jo Nesbo thriller – but I sometimes feel there are types of books which we read because they basically do what we expect them to. I don’t mean that the plot was obvious or that I knew who the killer was from page 6 or anything like that: just that it can be quite comforting to read a thriller knowing that it would contain murder, sordid scandal and a few one-liners. As I said, no surprises there.
That said I did enjoy the story – our hero, Harry Hole, has to sober up long enough to solve the mystery surrounding the death, in suspicious circumstances, of the Norwegian Ambassador in Bangkok. This is an early Harry Hole novel, so we do have some background information about why he needs to drink, his family and his relationships with his colleagues. I did also feel, by the end, that events had led Harry himself to a better understanding of how things were going to be – but, obviously, we need him to be a bit tortured. All the best detectives are a bit tortured….The story rattles on, with a bit of love interest (which is never going to end well – all the best detectives have rubbish love lives…), a hint of scandal in high places and a good side-kick. I particularly like the way that we are given a hint of the politics of Norway and it is assumed that we sort of understand them – not too much explanation of things which seem different at first but, at heart, are fairly universal. The ending is suitably blood-soaked and convuluted and, of course, takes our hero back to Norway for his next adventure.
In conclusion – when I am in the mood for good old-fashioned thriller I shall be reaching for more Jo Nesbo. His plots are good and I am learning to care about Harry Hole.