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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling & gruesome........
'The Leopard' is the sixth in the series of Jo Nesbø's books which have been translated from Norwegian into English by Don Bartlett with the central character of Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Police.

I read 'The Leopard' immediately after finishing 'The Snowman' and although I felt 'The Snowman' could be read without necessarily reading the previous books, I...
Published on 30 Jan 2011 by Midnight

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44 of 53 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Huge disappointment
I have followed Jo Nesbo ever since I read the first book in the Harry Hole series, The Redbreast. I have recommended the books enthusiastically to all who have shown an interest. But I have to say that The Leopard was a huge disappointment to me.

It started out well and I settled down for this long-awaited next-in-series. Then I realised that I was being...
Published on 23 April 2011 by Bizgen


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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling & gruesome........, 30 Jan 2011
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Midnight - See all my reviews
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'The Leopard' is the sixth in the series of Jo Nesbø's books which have been translated from Norwegian into English by Don Bartlett with the central character of Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Police.

I read 'The Leopard' immediately after finishing 'The Snowman' and although I felt 'The Snowman' could be read without necessarily reading the previous books, I do feel it will enhance a readers enjoyment to have read 'The Snowman' before 'The Leopard'.

We find that after being traumatised by events encountered in solving the serial killings in 'The Snowman', the story starts in Hong Kong where Harry fled after the Snowman case. Now he is not only battling against alcoholism but tackling drug abuse and gambling debts. He is persuaded to return to Oslo as his father is in hospital dying of cancer and his colleagues in Norway want his help investigating what appear to be unconnected murder cases.

This lengthy novel does bring in characters met in previous tales - former girlfriend Rakel is still very much in Harry's thoughts but there is an intriguing new female colleague, Kaja Solness; Katrine Bratt is still involved as is Bjørn Holm with his forensic expertise.

The plot is very complex taking many twists and turns. When this is coupled with Norwegian names and Nesbo's penchant for detailed description, it does mean you have to concentrate hard to ensure you follow all the deviations, so it's not the lightest of reading! Some of the descriptions of the murders committed left me reeling - how can someone have such a dark imagination?

I can endorse the opinion of another reviewer who mentions that you keep thinking you are reaching the climax to the story - only to find yourself back on the rollercoaster with a fair bit more of the story to complete.

This is a very good read and I will look forward to reading more by Nesbø in the future - certainly if you like your reading chilling and gruesome, this is a must have book for you.
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192 of 204 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Leopard - Knocks the spots off the competition..., 28 Jan 2011
By 
G. J. Oxley "Gaz" (Tyne & Wear, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Leopard (Hardcover)
`The Leopard' is the new Jo Nesbo novel, and it's one I've been looking forward to immensely. However, I didn't expect it to be quite this length. Clocking in at over 600 hardback pages this is indeed a mighty beast. But: a) was it worth the wait?; b) is it too long?; and c) is it far-fetched? The answer to all three questions is an emphatic `Yes!' So why if it's too long and implausible at times have I given it five stars? Let me explain...

First of all, the book picks-up not too long after Jo's last translated novel `The Snowman' ended. His detective, Harry Hole has gone AWOL from the Oslo Crime Squad. He's still bearing the scars (both literally and figuratively) from that case and is `taking a break' in Hong Kong, where he's addicted to both opium and horse racing. A beautiful police detective, Kaja Solness, has been sent to locate him because his expertise is required in what appears to be another serial killer case back home. Harry initially refuses, but Kaja drops her bombshell: his father is seriously ill and in hospital. And... that's all I'm going to tell you about the plot. The naughty publishers give too much away in their book summary on the inner cover and reveal a big development that is a definite spoiler*.

Once again police corruption plays a major part: the Crime Squad is squaring-up to Kripos in a power struggle over who should handle major homicide cases. The head of Kripos - Bellman - is a fascinating and brilliantly detailed character; a real old-fashioned snake-in-the-grass. You will love to hate him.

The book is packed with plot twists, and in terms of quality/quantity of misdirection, the only guy who can compete with Nesbo is Jeffery Deaver. However, while Jeff's twists are more precision engineered - which is to say contrived - it shows: I love most of Mr Deaver's work, but Jo's plot reversals flow more naturally and `The Leopard' serves up plenty of them. Just when you think it's reached a climax, you notice there's still a third of the book to go and there are more explosive surprises to come - ratcheting-up the tension even further. As I mentioned earlier, it's not grounded in reality at times - but I would contend that at least 90% of all crime fiction is implausible to some extent, so it's not a problem for me.

Harry Hole shouldn't work on paper: he's tough, principled, unlucky in love... and an alcoholic: in other words a veritable walking cliché. Or at least he should be. But in the skilful hands of the author he's an absolutely riveting character - one of the most compelling in modern crime fiction - and so much more than the sum of his parts. He's 100% convincing and Nesbo makes the reader really care about him, and in this book he's put through the wringer more than ever before.

The novel could have used a stronger editor to remove 100 pages without diluting the impact - perhaps even strengthening it - but really, the book is so magnificent and Nesbo is so good that we'll forgive him; the plot scarcely drags more than a little - if at all, simply because there's so much going on in here. If you like a complex plot, `The Leopard' may be right up your street. In short, this is a tour de force of crime fiction: it is brutal and uncompromising and confirms once again that Jo Nesbo is right up there with the modern crime-writing greats, but I agree that it won't be to everyone's taste.

If this is your first novel by the author, I suggest you may be better off reading the earlier translations first (hell, buy and read ALL of them, they're great) as earlier cases - the `Snowman', the `Redbreast' - are referenced in here.

*Also ignore their claim that Nesbo is `the Next Stieg Larsson' (this quote, plastered on the front of the book, is taken from the 'Independent'). The publishers are cynically trying to maximise book sales: he's nothing like Larsson in either content or style - indeed the only common denominator is they're both Scandinavian. I happen to love the Millennium trilogy, but I believe Nesbo is the superior novelist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So many individually excellent parts, yet not quite a brilliant (er) 'whole', 18 Feb 2011
By 
OEJ - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Leopard (Hardcover)
This is the latest in the series surrounding the enigmatic Norwegian detective Harry Hole who investigates yet another serial killer, and his journeys take him to three different continents. In hardback form it's a meaty slab at well over 600 pages, not exactly something you could slip discreetly into your back pocket, but there are many diverse pleasures to enjoy.

What niggled me from early on is that Hole, suffering from what might be classified as PTSD and in an opium-fuelled self-imposed exile in Hong Kong, is rather too easily found, rather too easily agrees to return to Oslo, and rather too easily changes his mind about resigning from the police force. Of course, it was always an inevitability that he would do all of these things, it was just rather unconvincing that he did it all so quickly. Anyway, once that's all out of the way, the writer gets into the heart of the story, that being the investigation into a series of murders of apparently unrelated people mainly in the Oslo area, some by rather nasty and unusually torturous means. Hole's pursuits take him not only to some remote regions of his homeland country, but also to the somewhat unlikely destination of central Africa. The atmospheric descriptions are narrated well, particularly those of the desolate snow-covered mountain ranges in Norway, the central character of Hole is as mesmerising as ever and the story itself will probably satisfy any crime fiction aficionados who love a convoluted and complex plot and one which invites them to identify the perpetrator and avoid the red herrings. There's no twist as such yet it's definitely very twisted, indeed that's one of the first descriptions that comes to mind when thinking of the killer's motives, methods and moods.

Another niggle that wouldn't go away was the author's (or publisher's?) habit of name-dropping 'The Snowman' at more than a necessary number of opportunities, a trend I've noticed among several other crime series writers trying to promote another of their books within the context of their latest one. It's a form of 'product placement' that I personally prefer not to see. The Snowman, apart from being the main reason for Hole's decision to hide away in Hong Kong, is also of course the title of Nesbo's preceding novel, which I think in the passing of time I may develop a preference for compared to The Leopard. That's because the latest novel, while possessing many admirable individual strengths, some of the highest order in fact, somehow left me slightly numb at the conclusion. It was also a touch disappointing to see that Hole would fall victim to the killer's favoured modus operandi, in my opinion it would have been smarter on the author's part to have concocted a unique 'showdown' between the two opposing lead characters rather than use a very predictable denouement. Having said that, Hole's efforts to escape are narrated in graphic detail and might just make your toes curl, for all the right reasons.

I was also disappointed to see such an understated and underplayed Gunnar Hagen (Hole's boss) in this novel. In The Snowman he came on the scene as a worthy opponent of sorts, a man of real character and colour, but here he's little more than a name. Shame, that.

Despite these niggles and disappointments, The Leopard still manages to be a very entertaining novel and I'm very glad I bought it. There's so much to enjoy here, in terms of noir-ish atmosphere, powerful imagery, a decent story with broad geographical scope and at the centre of it all one of the very best crime fiction leading characters in the business.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As high a quality crime thriller as you will read; Superb., 22 May 2011
This review is from: The Leopard (Hardcover)
Well, Nesbo is without doubt a rarefied talent. I am constantly amazed at the story lines this guy comes up with. Perhaps it is just me, but never have I felt so much part of the plot as I do with the books from this author. Somehow he manages to create the atmosphere and presence in a matter of lines, often even just a few words which it takes many others pages to achieve - I have never been to Oslo and yet I feel I know it like my own home town!

Seriously, if you have yet to discover Nesbo, read this book (or actually any of the Harry Hole series) I really do not think you will be disappointed.

An unheard of 5* from me; Absolutely Superb.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, his best so far, 5*, 8 Jan 2012
By 
This review is from: The Leopard: A Harry Hole thriller (Oslo Sequence 6) (Paperback)
My wife's review:

I have read all of Nesbo's novels and have to say that this was definitely my favourite, closely followed by 'The Snowman'. Whilst it is a long book, there is so much going on that you won't realise that you've read 752 pages, and before you know it you'll be at the end and trying to find something else to read. This novel starts in Hong Kong (and having been there I could imagine Hole in Chungking Mansions which are a real dump), before travelling to Oslo and then to Congo. It see's Hole being double-crossed by other police officers who are out for their own ends, and it is so well written that I was actually rooting for Hole, however he does have this habit of ruining things himself without anyone else's interference.

Overall an excellent read for any crime thriller reader, and definitely worth 5*
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another outstanding Harry Hole novel..., 22 Feb 2012
By 
G. MCGINTY "gwennypenny" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Jo Nesbø has done it again. Written another wonderfully crafted and complex crime novel, featuring the flawed but brilliant, Harry Hole.

The Leopard is the sixth in the series to be translated into English (the first two Harry Hole novels are as yet untranslated), and even after all this time, Nesbø still manages to keep the reader guessing, while dropping subtle clues to the identity of the killer.

Set in Hong Kong, Norway, and the Congo, The Leopard is a thrill-a-minute chase to catch an elusive killer, the victims at first seemingly random, but as the plot develops, Hole discovers the links between them, links that lead to the killer.

With plot twists and turns, red herrings, and blind alleys, just sit back, enjoy the ride, and let Harry Hole lead you to the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jo Nesbo, 29 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Leopard: A Harry Hole thriller (Oslo Sequence 6) (Paperback)
Just started reading again after many years and I have really enjoyed a couple of Jo Nesbos books so have decided to start the collection.New books and excellent price compared to the high street shops.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bought as a gift, 8 Jan 2012
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This review is from: The Leopard (Hardcover)
Bought as a gift and very well recieved, told if you like thrillers you will like this and a great read cheers x
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nesbo just gets better and better..., 8 Feb 2011
By 
bloodsimple (nottingham, uk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Leopard (Hardcover)
What a relief. Nesbo's previous Harry Hole novel - The Snowman - was so good that I worried this would fall short. But no, this is top-notch again.

The Leopard is an extremely long book for a fast-paced thriller. But the thrills keep coming. Occasionally there are leaps of logic and unlikely coincidences, but really I'm just quibbling. Hole is a superb character, the plots are well constructed, and like many top crime writers, it's all about the details. Want to know how to get out of an avalanche? This will tell you.

Oh, and what a shame he's getting called `the new Stieg Larsson'. What an insult. The Leopard does not feature several pages of technical data about a laptop, or a shopping list from IKEA, or a one hundred page diversion to the Caribbean that never features again in the book, or an `indestructible' giant felled by a porky journalist, or a hitman who can't shoot straight. Still, if more people get to enjoy Nesbo and leave Larsson behind, it's all for the best.
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44 of 53 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Huge disappointment, 23 April 2011
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I have followed Jo Nesbo ever since I read the first book in the Harry Hole series, The Redbreast. I have recommended the books enthusiastically to all who have shown an interest. But I have to say that The Leopard was a huge disappointment to me.

It started out well and I settled down for this long-awaited next-in-series. Then I realised that I was being manipulated with one implausible cliff-hanger after another. Twists and turns were revealed in more and more ridiculous and unbelievable circumstances - as though the author had been told by the publishing house to make it as violent, bloody and perverted as possible. It is no longer possible to identify with Harry Hole, I barely made it to the end of the book, reading it only because I had waited so long for it, but skipping pages to get through it, in the end.

As I said, a huge disappointment and the author has lost me forever, one of his most loyal supporters until this moment.
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