The Leopard

Jo Nesbø, trans. from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett. Knopf, $26.95 (544p) ISBN 978-0-307-59587-4
In Nesbø’s outstanding follow-up to The Snowman (May 2011), Insp. Harry Hole reluctantly agrees to return home from Hong Kong, where he’s been hiding out for months, after an Oslo Crime Squad colleague tells him his father is in the hospital. Considered an expert after catching the serial killer known as the Snowman, Harry is marginally intrigued by the possibility of another serial killer loose in Oslo. Back in Norway, little links two murdered women except the unusual stab wounds in their mouths. When a mid-level politician’s body is discovered in a possible suicide that’s soon dubbed murder, Hole realizes a single killer is at work and not yet done. Nesbø moves the action easily from Hong Kong to Norway, with side trips to the Democratic Republic of Congo, without ever losing the plot’s sense of urgency. Hole, put through the emotional wringer in The Snowman, doesn’t get much of a reprieve in this intense outing. By the end, he’s ready to concede that what he most wants is “an armored heart.” (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/07/2011
Release date: 12/13/2011
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