Top critical review
Still not convinced, I'm afraid
on 18 August 2012
So the advertising does work. One finds it almost impossible to commute around London these days without seeing adverts for Jo Nesbo's various thrillers. They give the impression that every sentient being on the planet is currently gripped by this man's books and slavering for the next one. More than eating or breathing oxygen, reading Norwegian crime novels is the done thing for the human race right now. As such, because I appear to be more of a sucker for this kind of thing than I previously realised, I have picked up another one. Even though I found its predecessor, `The Snowman', somewhat derivative, I have now made my way through `The Leopard'.
And I have to say I`m still not convinced.
For a start the opening is preposterous. Harry Hole - our hero - has now become an opium addict in Hong Kong, and rather than leave him there to rot, the Norwegian police sends a young female officer to bring him back and get him to lead a high-profile investigation. Now, would any real police force seriously do this? If a once decorated officer has gone so far off the rails they are now living high as a kite in the hinterlands of a far away country, surely their former employers is not going to demand that they come back and take on an actual investigation. What would the press say after all? It's the kind of thing which happens in movies starring a Mel Gibson or a Sylvester Stallone, but in a supposedly `real world' crime thriller requires the sensitive reader to swallow a huge amount of disbelief.
The ending - again set away from Oslo - is also quite ludicrous (although I won't spoil that for anyone). While in-between is a quite interesting police investigation into the customarily over-the-top serial killer. There's a lot of gore, some fun red-herrings, but certainly more inter-departmental politics than this particular reader would have liked.
It's dumb, but not an actively bad book - I just don't see what other people are getting so excited about.