A serial killer. An alcoholic cop in trouble with his superiors. Yes, the ingredients seem familiar, but Jo Nesbo's The Devil's Star rings a few changes and is an extremely promising introduction to Oslo detective Harry Hole. The solution to the story is all but unguessable and along the way Nesbo gives a refreshing insight into Norwegian society and creates a series of vivid character portraits that add considerable depth to what might have been formulaic material. I particularly liked the relationship between Hole and his nemesis Waaler, the latter a truly repellent character. The plotting is tight, with red herrings judiciously deployed, whilst throughout the writing is measured, sardonic, compelling. Often lurid, with the cast's sexual pecadilloes explored to telling effect, the next in the series cannot come too soon.