I have read all the Harry Hole novels in order several times, and I eagerly awaited this instalment. Unlike many, I enjoyed the Leopard, even if at times it did feel over long.
Phantom is just the right length, and continues three years after the end of the Leopard, as Harry steps off the plane from Hong Kong, this time in an expensive suit, no sign of the trademark Doc Martens and Diesel jeans.
He is back to investigate the death of a junkie, the man accused of his death being Harry's surrogate son Oleg.
No longer a policeman, Harry does not know who he can trust, and many of the characters we have come to know from previous novels turn up along the way, CSI chief Beate, Gunnar Hagen, Bellman, Beavis and of course Rakel, Oleg's mother and the love of Harry's life.
The plot unfolds through the seamier side of Oslo, and we meet the drug dealers, pushers and prostitutes, this is not a tour of Oslo for the tourist.
Poor Harry, having been scarred for life in the Leopard, he has to undergo all manner of physical and mental battering in this one.
Some of his escapes from death do stretch credibility a bit, he is after all meant to be a chain smoker, alcoholic and opium user in his mid forties, but this did not detract anything from this stunning book for me.
The final third is a complete roller coaster, with so many twists and turns, that I read it in one chunk, and I was completely stunned by the ending.
I cannot recommend Phantom too highly, but I do recommend you read all the Harry Hole novels in order, plot and characters will be easier to understand.