Last night I finished the latest thriller by Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo (another melancholy Nordic?). I've read all of Nesbo since his first, The Redbreast, and have generally admired and enjoyed him. Although, to be honest, a hero with the name of "Harry Hole" is a little hard to deal with. I mean, if my name were Harry Hole, I'm pretty sure I'd change it--and then sue my parents. (Can you imagine poor Harry Hole in middle school? It was bad enough with my name, which my waggish "friends" easily transformed into Danny Dyer-EE-uh--a name that seems ever more appropriate as I find myself writing logorrheic blog posts every day.)
Harry Hole aside ... I thought The Leopard was too much, even for my capacious indulgence for mysteries/thrillers. The story leaps across continents (twice, Hole is in Africa, where things get a bit ... hairy), up into the mountains (no-no sex and an avalanche in a skiiers' cabin), and there's a homicidal device our villain employs several times--an insidious metal ball placed in the victim's mouth; do the wrong thing and needles emerge from the ball and you choke/drown in your own blood.
There's also a Bad Cop (an overly ambitious equivalent to one of our Overly Ambitious Feds), a fallen woman, a lost lover, an ailing father--about all that's lacking is a white whale bearing a scarlet letter and spouting "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
Nesbo's got an imagination--no question. He's got a writer's chops. And his books sell in Harry Potterian numbers. But here's hoping he does a little more pruning on his next narrative hedge the next time he looses Harry from his hole to look at life's dark shadows.
And don't forget--if you've got a Kindle, I've got some books there for you to read! Click on link: Dyer's books on Kindle