A young woman is murdered in her Oslo flat. One finger has been severed from her left hand, and behind her eyelid is secreted a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star – a pentagram, the devil’s star.
Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case with his long-time adversary Tom Waaler and initially wants no part in it. But Harry is already on notice to quit the force and is left with little alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor and get to work.
A wave of similar murders is on the horizon. An emerging pattern suggests that Oslo has a serial killer on its hands, and the five-pointed devil’s star is key to solving the riddle.
The Devil’s Star is the fifth novel in the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo. Harry is the same unruly, alcoholic but brilliant detective as always but he seems almost broken when he first see him at the start of the novel. He’s no longer with Rakael and misses her and her son Oley hugely, which only contributes to his depression. However, when given a case to focus on, his detective skills can’t be beaten!
Jo Nesbo creates suspense wonderfully in this novel as always, and the settings and characters are brilliant. The character of Harry Hole himself could be too much of a stereotypical literary Detective without Nesbo’s skilled writing, which elevates him to someone more real and, despite his many faults, a likeable character. In this novel he comes very close to losing his job altogether, and we see him at probably his lowest ever and this only adds to his desperation and determination at trying to catch the serial killer in question.
One thing I would say, however, is that this perhaps isn’t the best Harry Hole novel to start with if you’re new to the series; you do need to know some background which is featured in earlier novels to fully understand what is at stake for Harry and properly comprehend his character. I haven’t read every one of the series’ books but I have read quite a few and this was probably one of my favourite in terms of the perfect mix of suspense, action and detective procedure.
As usual I didn’t manage to solve the mystery before Harry Hole did, but I really enjoyed the ride!
The Devil’s Star is out now in paperback.
Have you read any of Jo Nesbo’s books? Have you got a favourite?!