Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Review by JD: The Devil’s Star ~ by Jo Nesbø



A dark and brooding detective novel set in modern-day Oslo. This is one of those gritty crime stories where the “hero” is a smart and driven character but has flaws; lots of them.

John’s Blurb:  Harry Hole is an insightful and brilliant detective, but he is an alcoholic and his personal life is a total disaster. So far his boss has put up with Hole’s waywardness and unreliability, even though it infuriates him and has caused him to have to go out on a limb defending Hole. The fact is that he gets results. But now Hole has gone too far and is in the process of being fired.

Meanwhile, a woman has been found murdered in her flat and this does not seem like a “regular” murder case; one of the victim’s fingers has been cut off, and a small star-shaped diamond is found under her eyelid. With the investigation going nowhere fast, five days later another woman disappears, only for her severed finger to turn up wearing a similar star-shaped diamond. Desperately short of staff, Hole’s boss reluctantly lets him spend his last few days as a detective working on the case; even though that means that Hole has to work under a colleague he both loathes and distrusts. Hole is convinced that his colleague is crooked.

With a serial killer on the loose and the case getting more complex and puzzling by the day, Hole has to go into hiding, fearful for his own life. Or, more to the point, fearful that he will be unable to solve the case in whatever time that he has left.

John’s Thoughts:  I liked this book. The characters (and Hole in particular) are richly developed and have a lot of depth; life is complicated and things are very human and messy; the plot twists and turns and I certainly never guessed how things would unfold; it’s kind of quirky with some unusual connections; it’s nice and dark and macabre without being too over the top; and it’s got a nice pace to it that keeps you hooked. It’s also the first book I’ve ever read where Iggy Pop gets a few name checks – and that can’t be a bad thing!

This is the second book I’ve read recently which was a translation from a Scandinavian language. While very different, both could be described as being very gritty and both were fine reads. I’d rate this book as 4 stars and highly recommend it to anyone who loves thrillers and crime mysteries.


  • The Devil’s Star
  • by Jo Nesbø
  • Published in Norway, 2003; first U.S. edition 2010

This particular novel is the 5th in a series by this author (though it stands on its own). Apparently a movie or TV drama is in the works for one of his book, but sadly I lost the darn link.

For publishers information on The Devil’s Star please see Layers of Thought’s preview.  Below is a link for the author’s site which is particularly mind bending.

Check out Jo Nesbo’s incredible website. This is really cool!

Here are the purchasing links for the first 3 books published in English. I do believe the whole series is now available:

  • Amazon purchasing links are for US/UK/Canada for The Devil’s Star
  • Amazon purchasing links are for US/UK/Canada for The Nemesis (Nemesis in Canada and UK)
  • Amazon purchasing links are for US/UK/Canada for The Redbreast

This book will be included in several challenges – The Scandinavian Challenge, The New Author Challenge and the RIP V.

John (aka JD) will be answering all comments around this book so please don’t forget the check the follow up box to get his response.

Have a great day!


DCMetroreader said...

It sounds a little too dark for me, but glad you enjoyed it!

John D said...

Hi Kim,
For sure this genre isnt for everyone, but I enjoy a bit of a dark read every now and then. I think that this book was one of the best of its kind that I've read.

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