cover image Killing Moon

Killing Moon

Jo Nesbø, trans. from the Norwegian by Seán Kinsella. Knopf, $29 (496p) ISBN 978-0-593-53696-4

Nesbø’s 13th Harry Hole novel (after 2019’s Knife) covers familiar terrain in a too familiar way. Norwegian sleuth Hole has left the Oslo police after a tragedy and relocated, broke and despondent, to sunny California. At the start, Hole saves Lucille, an aging actor, from a powerful family’s attempts to collect the almost $1 million she owes them. It’s a temporary fix, but fortunately, a contrivance gives him a chance to help her pay her debts: Hole’s former colleagues are probing the murder of Susanne Anderson, a 26-year-old found dead in an Oslo forest. Suspicion focuses on Markus Røed, a real estate mogul, who’d slept with Anderson. Røed decides to hire his own investigator for PR purposes and contacts Hole, who agrees to investigate if he pays Lucille’s $1 million debt. The killer’s unusually gruesome method is the book’s only novelty—otherwise, Nesbø hits all the typical beats of a serial killer thriller, including a lead who seeks redemption through his work, sections presented from the perspective of the murderer, and the imperiling of a significant character. This is a shadow of the author’s best work. Agent: Niclas Salomonsson, Salomonsson. (May)