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Harry Hole is back and this time he's back from very, very far away. Another gripping instalment in this prize-winning and acclaimed series by the internationally #1 bestselling crime writer in Norway.

Two women are found murdered in Oslo — both of them have drowned in their own blood. What mystifies the police is that the puncture wounds in the victims' faces have been caused from the inside of their mouths. Kaja Solness from Homicide is sent to Hong Kong to track down a man who is the Oslo Police Department's only specialist on serial killings. The severely addicted detective has tried to disappear in the vast, anonymous city. He is on the run and haunted by his last case, the woman he loves, and creditors alike. His name is Harry Hole.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published: Random House Publishing Group on Mar 22, 2011
ISBN: 9780307359742
List price: $19.95
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Look up at the star rating I gave this book. It's pretty high. But despite the high rating, I just didn't like this particular iteration of Harry. The characters continued to evolve, their depiction brilliant. The writing was fantastic. The twists and turns enough to make anyone lose their direction. But I still didn't like it. The fault is within my own psyche, I think. The damaged souls that kill others prey on my mind. I'm a healer, and I ache for all the illness, physical and mental, that esbø weaves into his stories. I care about his characters, perhaps too much. And he is perhaps too good a writer for me at times. This was a marvelous book. It just hurt me to read it. I think I need a break from wounded male detectives of the Scandinavian sort.read more
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I like the Harry Hole series and this doesn't disappoint. The violence is brutal but it makes a great page turner all the way through quite a long book.read more
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I've spent a bit of time worrying about how I can review THE LEOPARD without spoilers, because, although you could read it as your first taste of Nesbo, it is really not a stand-alone. However, if you've got it's fat pages in your hands then don't let me prevent you from reading it. But it will make you want to read earlier novels particularly THE SNOWMAN and REDBREAST.At the end of THE SNOWMAN, as the blurb says, Harry Hole, deeply traumatised, resigned from the Crime Squad, and took off for Hong Kong where he attempted to lose himself. The only detective in Norway who has any experience in dealing with serial killers is Harry Hole, and that is why Politioverbetjent Gunnar Hagen wants him back. He sends an officer to Hong Kong to find Harry and bring him back. But it is the news that his father is dying that puts Harry on that plane.But solving this case is more urgent than just stopping a serial killer. A long standing battle has re-surfaced, not just good versus evil. The Minister of Justice is wondering yet again why he is paying for two criminal investigation units. It’s all about cuts and rationalisation in the force. About jurisdiction. The old fight, Crime Squad versus Kripos. Whether there are enough resources for two specialist branches with parallel expertise in a small country. The discussion flared up when Kripos got a new second in command, one Mikael Bellman.It's a battle that Gunnar Hagen wants to win, and finding and stopping a serial killer will do it.THE LEOPARD is seriously noir, not for the faint-hearted. There are descriptions of torture that will take your breath away. Things that Harry does to himself that will nearly make your heart stop. But you'll keep reading because you'll want to know how it all turns out.I thought I got a better vision of Harry Hole, saw him in a clearer light in THE LEOPARD. He felt a bit more human too. ..... the man who was a living legend not just at Oslo Police HQ but in every police station across Norway, for good or ill. .......He liked Harry Hole, had liked him from the first moment he had clapped eyes on the tall, athletic, but obviously alcoholic Norwegian stepping into Happy Valley to put his last money on the wrong horse. There was something about the aggressive expression, the arrogant bearing, the alert body language that reminded him of himself .. A driven man. A junkie. A man who does what he must to have what he wants, who walks over dead bodies if need be. He couldn’t care less about personal prestige, he only wants to catch the bad boys. All the bad boys.The other thing that seems to emerge more for me in THE LEOPARD was Jo Nesbo, through his characters, considering criminological and philiosophical issues. What is it, where is it, whatever it is that makes a murderer? Is it innate, is it in a gene, inherited potential that some have and others do not? Or is it shaped by need, developed in a confrontation with the world, a survival strategy, a life-saving sickness, rational insanity? For just as sickness is a fevered bombardment of the body, insanity is a vital retreat to a place where one can entrench oneself anew. For my part, I believe that the ability to kill is fundamental to any healthy person.and again That was what life was: a process of destruction, a disintegration from what at the outset was perfect. The only suspense involved was whether we would be destroyed in one sudden act or slowly.Perhaps it has always been there in previous novels, but I've just missed seeing it.A great read, if just a bit long. By the end, I really did want it to finish.read more
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Brutal, but very well writtenread more
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Brilliant! But the brutality is spiritually exhausting to read. What could the effect be on the writer himself?read more
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As Jo Nesbo’s The Leopard opens, Harry Hole is living deep inside the bowels of Hong Kong and trying to avoid the gangland creditors who badly want to catch up with him. In the meantime, Harry is well on his way to committing suicide by alcohol and opium abuse. But, just in the nick of time for Harry, Norway has a new serial killer on her hands, one that will rival even Harry’s previous adversary, The Snowman, for creative killing. His old department needs Harry’s talents - and he has to be found and convinced to do battle with Norway’s latest incarnation of pure evilness.The Leopard is a grim, disturbing book that sometimes goes over the top before Nesbo decides to dial it back to a more believable level, but the picture he paints of a worldwide underground of pure evilness is unforgettable. The uncorrected proof I read was 513 pages long, plenty of time for Nesbo to expose the underbellies of Hong Kong, Norway, and Africa, and he does so with great gusto. As the body count rises, the book’s plot becomes more and more complicated, and the investigation becomes more and more personal for Harry. Readers unsure as to whether they are ready for the level of violence and brutality of The Leopard should read its first chapter before investing in a copy of their own. This little four-page chapter forewarns the potential reader by perfectly setting the tone for the rest of the book. In addition, the beginning of the second chapter offers insight into the mind of this particular killer when Nesbo allows him to speak in the first person:“For my part, I believe that the ability to kill is fundamental to any healthy person. Our existence is a fight for gain, and whoever cannot kill his neighbor has no right to an existence. Killing is, after all, only hastening the inevitable. Death allows no exceptions, which is good, because life is pain and suffering. In that sense, every murder is an act of charity.”I do have one suggestion for readers unfamiliar with Nordic proper names. The Leopard is a long, complicated novel that makes reference to dozens of character and place names. Many, if not most, North American readers will quickly become confused by the names thrown at them (they simply do not stick) – and, when those names show up later in the book, these readers will find it near impossible to place them in their proper context to what has previously occurred. I have to admit to even being confused as to the gender of some of the names I faced. My suggestion: start a simple little list or chart of character names that can be referred back to as you read the book. I do wish I had followed my own advice. Next time.Rated at: 3.5read more
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These are my notes for my own future reference - hence there likely will be spoilers ahead. The Leopard was completed 2/17/11 and is my 12th book of the year. It is the eighth book in the series and the sixth to be translated. I have read all of his books available in English. I rated this book 5 stars, my first 5 star of the year. This is a terrific book, Nesbo's best by far. It begins with Harry in Hong kong licking his wounds from his encounter with the Snowman as well as some bad HK characters. Kaja, a very attractive cop, but with small teeth, is dispatched from Norway to bring him back - the Murder Squad is in trouble. At the halfway point, I decided to log for the next 100 pages 'wow moments', e.g a scene from within an avalanche, Harry is betrayed by _____ ; there were twelve such wm! Ditto for the next 100 pages! Needless to say this is breath-taking, twisting and always surprising plotting. As always, engaging characters including not one, not two, but three women, all to die for (pun?). And as usual lots of dead bodies, a wrong suspect or two or three, and just when you think the story is finally over you note that there are still more than a hundred pages to go, but that's a Nesbo trademark if there is only one. And Nesbo has definitely taken it up a notch, more confident writing, he really knows his guy. Harry has cleaned up his act too, relatively speaking. So, at the end of the story is he really back where he started....?read more
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Let me start by saying that Jo Nesbo is every bit as good as Stieg Larrsson. I would actually argue that he's better because every book in this series is an improvement over the last. Nesbo has created a truly memorable character in Harry Hole. In the beginning of this one, Hole has escaped to Hong Kong to lick his wounds and create new ones. Brought back to Oslo to deal with an ailing father he also get wrapped up in a series murders that appear to be the work of a serial killer. This one will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat while exposing you to the culture of Norway.read more
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This follow-up to The Snowman is another compelling, although truely brutal, crime thriller. It's full of twists and turns, betrayals and red herrings. A little over long and far-fetched for my liking, but definitely worth a read.read more
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This is my first book by Nesbo and I have to say he does write an excellent murder-thriller. Several times I was convinced I knew the killer's identity only for Nesbo to reveal his misdirection and point me somewhere else. This is an above average book of its type and a clear leader in the Scandinavian sub-genre of serial killer stories.The portrayal of Norway as a hotbed of political calculations is new to me and adds some spice to the mix. The Norwegian settings are natural but entirely novel to someone not familiar with that society. As with other Scandinavian authors Nesbo reveals a very dark underbelly to the liberal paradise.This is a very dark story with every character depressed, distraught, depraved, a failure, an alcoholic or in some other way on the bottom rungs of social achievement. It is an interesting PhD project for someone to analyse why the only people I an aware of as smokers these days are characters in books and films...I absolutely recommend this as a top notch thriller, just don't expect to fal for, or even like, any of the characters.read more
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If your only toe into the waters of Scandanavian mystery writing is Stieg Larsson, take a look at the Jo Nesbo collection. Harry Hole, Nesbo's detective, was once a well-respected cop but his erratic love life, his alcoholism, the corruption around him (a superior was the undiscovered villain in two successive novels) and the frequency with which he or one of his colleagues is in a near death/death situation make these novels at least as interesting as what Larsson's 'girl' is up to.read more
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Some have enthroned him as the best in Scandinavia in terms of thrillers or mysteries. I found his plotting to be confusing, and the language in the book opaque: characters converse as if readers don't exist--and they know what they are talking about. He seems to excel in describing torture, and human cruelty. Maybe Harry Hole has OCD and that's what keeps his eyes on the prize. To get there, he and the many people who die pay a fearsome price. Some passages crackle with suspense and dread. Too many others are quasi-philosophical passages that are perplexing and impenetrable. There's no denying Newbo's power to convey the vilest human qualities. And Harry seems to be a good detective. But the book is exhausting and exasperating. Even the Epilogue is not told in a straightforward manner, but almost as in an Altman film with overlapping voices coming from the multiple characters speaking. And the cynicism is corrosive.read more
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This is a page turner--little doubt about that. But felt a bit like a Chinese food page turner--did not stick with me very long. This is the second in the series that I have read. Good, entertaining beach read with plenty of twists and turns but will not change your life.read more
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There's a serial killer on the loose and the disgraced detective is Harry Hole, an addict, who has successfully found at least one serial killer in the past, The Snowman. (I didn't read that one first, I'll have to go back and read it now as it was referred to a lot through this book). Harry is a total screw up but he's very good at what he does. He doesn't always go down the right roads and pick up the right clues. I'm usually not that good at figuring out the killer. In this case, there are definitely a few twists and red herrings. Nesbo is a good writer, and i did enjoy this book. Good characters, good descriptions and action.read more
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Jo Nesbø is excellent in this genre. The novel was great escapist reading and was not predictable until very late in the story. Nesbø knows how to keep readers guessing with intricate storytelling and interesting characters.read more
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mh, i read an earlier one from the same author and i liked that one better. this one was too confusing and the end was so contructed that you think it is the end but then it keeps going and going just to fill pages. also the first book i read was in german and it was a smooth read. the leopard lost a lot in a clumsy translation. it is a ok book but could have been much better executed.read more
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I really did not like this book. It has too much drugs, alcohol and violence for me. Others might really enjoy this bad bay hero but it wasn't my cup of tea. It seemed everyone was bad from the police to the supporting characters, all of their flaws were a bit too cruel or twisted so I can't give a fair impression of the story.read more
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Harry Hole has retreated to Hong Kong after his last case put his love, Rakal, and her son in danger. He’s drowning himself in liquor and drugs when a fellow detective hunts him down to enlist his help in finding the killer of two women who had died in bizarre ways. His return pits him against Mikael Bellman of Kripos who plans to move major crimes from the Crime Squad. Since Bellman confiscates the murder cases from Crime Squad, Harry and his team start to investigate the disappearance of another woman, which Harry already suspects is part of the murder cases. One of the bizarre murder weapons is called Leopold’s apple which has twenty-four needles which extract when the victim attempts to pull the apple from her mouth. Harry does a lot of traveling in this book from Hong Kong to Africa where they mine a special alloy called coltan used in the springs and needles of the apple, to the snowy mountains housing cabins which nestle in avalanche territory. Harry’s crew includes Kaja, a new detective who is easing Harry’s loss of Rakal, as well as Bjorn Holm. He is suspicious of Tony Leike, who had stayed at the cabin where Harry surmises each of the victims at one time had also stayed. Tony has latched onto a rich woman whose family has invested heavily in Tony’s business. The writer puts Harry in more danger than a lion tamer without a whip. He is beaten, caught in an avalanche, and tortured. At almost 700 pages, the plot and names get confusing and one can only think a few hundred pages could have been pared. The writing is still top-notch but one wonders if Harry is beyond repair. He is so good at his job that the bosses can’t fire him yet in the end Harry is his own worst enemy.read more
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Another great Jo Nesbo thriller - fast paced, full of interesting characters (next time I'll keep a list because there are many), constant twists and turns making it difficult to figure out what is next, and of course maverick Inspector Harry Hole at the helm. Seemingly random murders turn into a string of deliberate killings for those present at a mountain cabin in Havass on a certain date. The murders are grisly and Nesbo even invents a torture mechanism called Leopold's apple (a round object placed in the mouth which shoots out spikes when triggered) to kill off some of his characters. Harry Hole is heavy drinking and self destructive, hated but admired by even his enemies. He becomes obsessed with every crime scene he becomes involved with making personal relationships very difficult. His drinking and drugging don't help either. Despite all of his shortcomings, Hole is smart as a whip and likeable. I look forward to reading the next Harry Hole thriller.read more
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Although I liked the book, I had a difficult time with the accent. I think I was better prepared to listen because I had listened to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series. The names confused me.Harry Hole is a disgraced Norwegian detective who is now living in Hong Kong and addicted to opium and alcohol. His former boss sends another detective to find him and bring him back to Norway to help them catch a serial killer. Harry doesn't want to, but goes home when he finds out that his father is dying.This is part of a series and it follows Harry as he hunts for the killer, navigates painful memories of his dissolved marriage, including his estrangement from his young son, works through his relationship with his father, deals with his bad reputation as he tries to work with other detectives and the Krippo.There are some twists and turns in the book. I saw some of them coming and was caught off guard by a few. I got a little tired, by the end, of Harry being the only one who could solve the case. I would have liked it better if other people were smart, too. And his love interest got on my nerves a little. Their relationship reminded me of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. The guy is always figuring everything out, even though the woman has been working cases with him for years. She can find the clues but then stares at him, waiting for him to tell her what it means.I liked it enough that I will probably check out another one. Maybe by then my ears will be more attuned to the language and I won't have to concentrate so hard to understand.read more
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My new favorite mystery writter. Not sure I love Hole like some of the other repeat people but the stories are fantastic. Maybe it is the cold weather that makes the writers so good.read more
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Harry Hole with his magnetism as a loner is back. The Leopard with its darkest elements to date, sixth book in translation and I can honestly say its fantastic reading. Filled with emotion, love, hate, ambition and greed, its fast paced, suspenseful and this author never lets up by twisting plots keeping the puzzle tight and the mind ticking over until the very end. The author Jo Nesbø brings us into his opening scene Hong Kong, Kaja Solness has been sent from Oslo to locate Harry Hole in Kowloon. Hole had been on the missing list since the end of his last case The Snowman, his long term plans were too remain lost. Within forty-eight hours Kaja finds Hole and all his troubles which don't come cheap, given permission to bail him out of his gambling debt on the grounds he comes home his needed on a case but still he refuses. Kaja given no choice plays the final card, his father is in hospital his not expected to live. Hole decision is clear, his father is the one and only reason for his return. Oslo; the file was handed over on route from the airport but not read, the first women Borgny Stem-Myhre, thirty three, single, no children, keen outdoors women loves walking, skiing her cause of death drowning, triggered by blood wounds from the mouth. The second women Charlotte Lolles, twenty-nine, lawyer, lived alone had boyfriends, loves the outdoors, cause of death; drowning, twenty-four wounds in the mouth. This was Gunnar Hagen welcome back present, on Holes first opportunity the file hit the bin and Hole to his words went to visit his father. By the third Murder, Hole was arrested around the scene by him an unknown someone named Mikael Bellman. Gunnar Hagen gets Hole released, he also explained some things had change since he'd been away. An old argument had flared, cuts and rationalization in the force, crime squad versus kripos was there enough resources for two specialist branches with parallel expertise needed in a small country. Mikael Bellman seemed to be the new wonder-boy who moves upwards and onwards but had been nothing but trouble to others from day one, he employed an ex colleague from interpol, a finnish side kick Jussi Kolkka. Officially this was Mikael Bellman serial murder case but as Hole already disliked the man on looks alone his interest had suddenly turned. Hagen explained the case would have to be undercover with trusted chosen few, and that he could lose his job. Hole's intuition was always up for a challenge. Longer book than the others but fantastic were constantly moving forward and the plots interwoven with emotional smaller stories throughout bringing back in the older and then new characters along the way keeping everything fresh with the right pace, suspense, tension and interest. Very descriptive he pays attention to detail great visuals which are crystal clear the dialogue is as always marvellous. The author reflects on financial matters; using the older buildings of Oslo that are just as rich as the new modern buildings except they don't have or need swimming pools, jacuzzi and saunas which seems a requirement for the social climbers new homes. The book is more about Hole as a person, and his personal relationship he shares with his father, I found this really touching at times, you get to understand another side to Hole if anything else. As in every book the author keeps our minds busy. New Mikael Bellman reminds me of a character long gone Tom Waaler but its Harry himself whose still the most compelling character to read. The story well I have to say I was in the thick of it with follow my lead throughout, even with Hole's intuition that borders on the super-natural, I'm not one to give up, stayed right with him and its a wonderful twist to the finish line. Best to just kick back, get in there and enjoy every minute. Translation would also like to touch on this point much like the UK we have our North, South, East, West and somewhere in the middle five common dialects and I'm sure Norway have the same set up generally. Although it would have taken me forever I would love to have been able to read parts of this book in its original context or maybe had that ear for sounding of original language as I had the feeling the author plays a lot with the Norwegian dialects comically in the originals, some Bergensian intonation for instance. I seemed to have picked up on this very clearly in the last book from translated passages and certainly in this book, originals of course always have the edge but the translator has done a fantastic job to get around wording so we are able to understand, his kept it with its directness and humour, the character Harry Hole although Norwegian could even be from the UK, a northerner, its bizarre I know, but the translation and comical side seems to take me that way. So a big thank you to Don Bartlett for another clear translation in the series. This Author writing goes from strength to strength each and every novel, highly recommended, great reading. Andrea Bowhillread more
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Nesbo just gets better ad better. Yes the Snowman was great but I think this is one step further on to perfection. What Nesbo manages to do is to make an immensely readable crime story that isn't preditable but in actual fact very complicated, multi-layered and with characters full of depth. Compare this to your average I don't know PD James and you will see the difference. On all of these books it says 'the next Stieg Larsson'. This is unfair as Nesbo is leagues ahead of Larsson. Just why oh why aren't the first two Harry Hole books available in English translation? Whose idea was that?read more
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Excellent murder mystery thriller, long and gripping with lots of plot surprises. Well done. Trans. from Norwieganread more
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This, the sixth Harry Hole mystery to be translated from Norwegian to English, is long and complex with a labyrinthine plot about the maverick cop's hunt for a serial killer.Harry, dragged away from the opium dens of Hong Kong, returns to Oslo to investigate the deaths of two women who were tortured and killed with a device called Leopold's apple. Other victims follow, each murdered in gruesome ways; the only connection among all the victims is a one-night stay at an isolated mountain cabin. Besides trying to solve the case, Harry has other problems as well. He has to struggle with his dependencies, especially with alcohol; he cannot forget Rakel who moved away because of the traumas she experienced during Harry's last case; his father is dying from cancer; he finds himself a pawn in a police turf-war over power and jurisdiction. Other characters, both heroes and villians, also come with their personal baggage and agendas, Kaja Solness, Harry's new "partner," and Mikael Bellman, the Kripos second-in-command, being two obvious examples.Harry's magnetic personality dominates. His almost supernatural intuition, his deep sensitivity despite his crusty exterior, and his ability to alienate and outsmart those who consider themselves superior to him make him almost impossible not to like. There is unflagging suspense. Just as he case seems to be solved, there's another breath-taking twist that makes this 600+-page book feel all too short.read more
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Why are so many Scandinavian writers compelled to base their heroes on Hamlet, that flawed and depressingly complex prince? Mankell’s Wallander is hardly a barrel of laughs, and don’t get me started on Larsson’s Blomqvist and Salander. Despite a promising start in earlier books, Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole [pronounced WHO-leh] has proved true to type and spreads doom and gloom through this book. In a story reaching from the Congo to Norway, and from East Germany to Hong Kong, Harry reluctantly becomes embroiled in investigating a serial killer who murders at least seven seemingly unrelated victims in a variety of sadistic ways.What connects the victims? Who is the missing link and why is he being protected? What happened in the isolated mountains fastness and how can Harry’s past nemesis assist him? Long and overly complicated, turgid prose and emotional indulgence obscure what is an excellent plot.read more
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Certainly a bit different and well worth readying, although I did get lost sometimes. This was the first of Jo Nesbo's books I've read and I'm certainly consider reading some of the earlier ones.read more
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Reason for Reading: next in the series.Harry Hole is in a personal mess after his last case and has hidden himself away in Hong Kong, but Norway seems to have a new serial killer in their midst and they are stumped. FBI trained serial killer expert Harry Hole must be tracked down and persuaded to come home and a detective is sent to find and bring him back. Hole does come back but only because his father is ill. Not really wanting to get back into the police business he can't help himself when he finally reads the cases of the two women who have been killed by an ancient torture device called a Leopold's Apple. And when he arrives on the scene of the third victim's horrendous torturous death he is hooked on finding the killer.This is a riveting and unique crime thriller. The crime itself was unusual and a tough one to guess before the final reveal. Several twists and turns keep you on the edge of your seat and the murders are quite gruesome while Jo Nesbo keeps his writing to a level where he describes just enough that your imagination takes over the rest. I really enjoyed crime, as usual, I know I can count on Jo Nesbo for a great thriller. I'm a bit annoyed with the Stieg Larsson comparison brazenly stamped on the cover though. Nesbo doesn't need that kind of lip service. He is an established author in his own right, something that unfortunately Larsson will never be able to become having only written 3 books. The comparison should be the other way around.I did have problems with the book though. First, it is too long. At just over 600 pgs, in this format, probably coming in at close to 500 in a smaller print, it just takes too much time to tell the story. There were parts where it lagged, that felt like filler, that were devoted to character development and main character story issues that just weren't all that interesting. I'm not very pleased with the direction Harry's personal story has gone and I just wanted the book to get back to the crime. Also, I never did figure out why the book is called "The Leopard". I know the old saying about a leopard never changing it's spots; perhaps that refers to Harry? I don't know. But looking at the Norwegian title "panserhjerte" which translates to "Armoured Heart" in English makes perfect sense as that phrase is found in the story. Also this book mentions the first book in the series quite a bit, and that one has not been translated into English yet which I find just plain weird. Now that they are caught up with Nesbo's writing, I wish they'd go back and translate those first two books. A good story, as can always be counted on with Nesbo, but not my favourite.read more
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I have a thing about Scandinavia and Scandinavian crime thrillers. Having enjoyed Wallander on TV, particularly Krister Henriksson's portrayal, I want to read all of Henning Mankel's series. The Danish TV series The Killing is also very good. Hence when my book group chose Jo Nesbo's The Leopard I was just a bit excited! Little did I know that The Leopard is the sixth book in the series and having not read any of the others, I feel I'm doing this back to front. On opening the book I was bitten! A big book which I couldn't put down. Like Stieg Larssen's trilogy (I read and watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) it gripped me from beginning to end. Nesbo's Detective Harry Hole is not that unlike Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, a troubled man with a bad track record in his relationships with women. Both very focussed on solving their crimes but who run into trouble with their superiors. They break rules to get results.I will be reading all of Nesbo's Harry Hole books and I am anticipating that they are all as exciting and good as The Leopard. A must read for all those who like a good crime novel.read more
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Another excellent Harry Hole thriller. I love the most how past decisions affect everybody, especially Harry. I want to read the ending in a hopeful way and believe that Harry will learn from his experience and get even better. Already looking forward to the next book.read more
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Look up at the star rating I gave this book. It's pretty high. But despite the high rating, I just didn't like this particular iteration of Harry. The characters continued to evolve, their depiction brilliant. The writing was fantastic. The twists and turns enough to make anyone lose their direction. But I still didn't like it. The fault is within my own psyche, I think. The damaged souls that kill others prey on my mind. I'm a healer, and I ache for all the illness, physical and mental, that esbø weaves into his stories. I care about his characters, perhaps too much. And he is perhaps too good a writer for me at times. This was a marvelous book. It just hurt me to read it. I think I need a break from wounded male detectives of the Scandinavian sort.
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I like the Harry Hole series and this doesn't disappoint. The violence is brutal but it makes a great page turner all the way through quite a long book.
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I've spent a bit of time worrying about how I can review THE LEOPARD without spoilers, because, although you could read it as your first taste of Nesbo, it is really not a stand-alone. However, if you've got it's fat pages in your hands then don't let me prevent you from reading it. But it will make you want to read earlier novels particularly THE SNOWMAN and REDBREAST.At the end of THE SNOWMAN, as the blurb says, Harry Hole, deeply traumatised, resigned from the Crime Squad, and took off for Hong Kong where he attempted to lose himself. The only detective in Norway who has any experience in dealing with serial killers is Harry Hole, and that is why Politioverbetjent Gunnar Hagen wants him back. He sends an officer to Hong Kong to find Harry and bring him back. But it is the news that his father is dying that puts Harry on that plane.But solving this case is more urgent than just stopping a serial killer. A long standing battle has re-surfaced, not just good versus evil. The Minister of Justice is wondering yet again why he is paying for two criminal investigation units. It’s all about cuts and rationalisation in the force. About jurisdiction. The old fight, Crime Squad versus Kripos. Whether there are enough resources for two specialist branches with parallel expertise in a small country. The discussion flared up when Kripos got a new second in command, one Mikael Bellman.It's a battle that Gunnar Hagen wants to win, and finding and stopping a serial killer will do it.THE LEOPARD is seriously noir, not for the faint-hearted. There are descriptions of torture that will take your breath away. Things that Harry does to himself that will nearly make your heart stop. But you'll keep reading because you'll want to know how it all turns out.I thought I got a better vision of Harry Hole, saw him in a clearer light in THE LEOPARD. He felt a bit more human too. ..... the man who was a living legend not just at Oslo Police HQ but in every police station across Norway, for good or ill. .......He liked Harry Hole, had liked him from the first moment he had clapped eyes on the tall, athletic, but obviously alcoholic Norwegian stepping into Happy Valley to put his last money on the wrong horse. There was something about the aggressive expression, the arrogant bearing, the alert body language that reminded him of himself .. A driven man. A junkie. A man who does what he must to have what he wants, who walks over dead bodies if need be. He couldn’t care less about personal prestige, he only wants to catch the bad boys. All the bad boys.The other thing that seems to emerge more for me in THE LEOPARD was Jo Nesbo, through his characters, considering criminological and philiosophical issues. What is it, where is it, whatever it is that makes a murderer? Is it innate, is it in a gene, inherited potential that some have and others do not? Or is it shaped by need, developed in a confrontation with the world, a survival strategy, a life-saving sickness, rational insanity? For just as sickness is a fevered bombardment of the body, insanity is a vital retreat to a place where one can entrench oneself anew. For my part, I believe that the ability to kill is fundamental to any healthy person.and again That was what life was: a process of destruction, a disintegration from what at the outset was perfect. The only suspense involved was whether we would be destroyed in one sudden act or slowly.Perhaps it has always been there in previous novels, but I've just missed seeing it.A great read, if just a bit long. By the end, I really did want it to finish.
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Brutal, but very well written
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Brilliant! But the brutality is spiritually exhausting to read. What could the effect be on the writer himself?
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As Jo Nesbo’s The Leopard opens, Harry Hole is living deep inside the bowels of Hong Kong and trying to avoid the gangland creditors who badly want to catch up with him. In the meantime, Harry is well on his way to committing suicide by alcohol and opium abuse. But, just in the nick of time for Harry, Norway has a new serial killer on her hands, one that will rival even Harry’s previous adversary, The Snowman, for creative killing. His old department needs Harry’s talents - and he has to be found and convinced to do battle with Norway’s latest incarnation of pure evilness.The Leopard is a grim, disturbing book that sometimes goes over the top before Nesbo decides to dial it back to a more believable level, but the picture he paints of a worldwide underground of pure evilness is unforgettable. The uncorrected proof I read was 513 pages long, plenty of time for Nesbo to expose the underbellies of Hong Kong, Norway, and Africa, and he does so with great gusto. As the body count rises, the book’s plot becomes more and more complicated, and the investigation becomes more and more personal for Harry. Readers unsure as to whether they are ready for the level of violence and brutality of The Leopard should read its first chapter before investing in a copy of their own. This little four-page chapter forewarns the potential reader by perfectly setting the tone for the rest of the book. In addition, the beginning of the second chapter offers insight into the mind of this particular killer when Nesbo allows him to speak in the first person:“For my part, I believe that the ability to kill is fundamental to any healthy person. Our existence is a fight for gain, and whoever cannot kill his neighbor has no right to an existence. Killing is, after all, only hastening the inevitable. Death allows no exceptions, which is good, because life is pain and suffering. In that sense, every murder is an act of charity.”I do have one suggestion for readers unfamiliar with Nordic proper names. The Leopard is a long, complicated novel that makes reference to dozens of character and place names. Many, if not most, North American readers will quickly become confused by the names thrown at them (they simply do not stick) – and, when those names show up later in the book, these readers will find it near impossible to place them in their proper context to what has previously occurred. I have to admit to even being confused as to the gender of some of the names I faced. My suggestion: start a simple little list or chart of character names that can be referred back to as you read the book. I do wish I had followed my own advice. Next time.Rated at: 3.5
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These are my notes for my own future reference - hence there likely will be spoilers ahead. The Leopard was completed 2/17/11 and is my 12th book of the year. It is the eighth book in the series and the sixth to be translated. I have read all of his books available in English. I rated this book 5 stars, my first 5 star of the year. This is a terrific book, Nesbo's best by far. It begins with Harry in Hong kong licking his wounds from his encounter with the Snowman as well as some bad HK characters. Kaja, a very attractive cop, but with small teeth, is dispatched from Norway to bring him back - the Murder Squad is in trouble. At the halfway point, I decided to log for the next 100 pages 'wow moments', e.g a scene from within an avalanche, Harry is betrayed by _____ ; there were twelve such wm! Ditto for the next 100 pages! Needless to say this is breath-taking, twisting and always surprising plotting. As always, engaging characters including not one, not two, but three women, all to die for (pun?). And as usual lots of dead bodies, a wrong suspect or two or three, and just when you think the story is finally over you note that there are still more than a hundred pages to go, but that's a Nesbo trademark if there is only one. And Nesbo has definitely taken it up a notch, more confident writing, he really knows his guy. Harry has cleaned up his act too, relatively speaking. So, at the end of the story is he really back where he started....?
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Let me start by saying that Jo Nesbo is every bit as good as Stieg Larrsson. I would actually argue that he's better because every book in this series is an improvement over the last. Nesbo has created a truly memorable character in Harry Hole. In the beginning of this one, Hole has escaped to Hong Kong to lick his wounds and create new ones. Brought back to Oslo to deal with an ailing father he also get wrapped up in a series murders that appear to be the work of a serial killer. This one will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat while exposing you to the culture of Norway.
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This follow-up to The Snowman is another compelling, although truely brutal, crime thriller. It's full of twists and turns, betrayals and red herrings. A little over long and far-fetched for my liking, but definitely worth a read.
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This is my first book by Nesbo and I have to say he does write an excellent murder-thriller. Several times I was convinced I knew the killer's identity only for Nesbo to reveal his misdirection and point me somewhere else. This is an above average book of its type and a clear leader in the Scandinavian sub-genre of serial killer stories.The portrayal of Norway as a hotbed of political calculations is new to me and adds some spice to the mix. The Norwegian settings are natural but entirely novel to someone not familiar with that society. As with other Scandinavian authors Nesbo reveals a very dark underbelly to the liberal paradise.This is a very dark story with every character depressed, distraught, depraved, a failure, an alcoholic or in some other way on the bottom rungs of social achievement. It is an interesting PhD project for someone to analyse why the only people I an aware of as smokers these days are characters in books and films...I absolutely recommend this as a top notch thriller, just don't expect to fal for, or even like, any of the characters.
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If your only toe into the waters of Scandanavian mystery writing is Stieg Larsson, take a look at the Jo Nesbo collection. Harry Hole, Nesbo's detective, was once a well-respected cop but his erratic love life, his alcoholism, the corruption around him (a superior was the undiscovered villain in two successive novels) and the frequency with which he or one of his colleagues is in a near death/death situation make these novels at least as interesting as what Larsson's 'girl' is up to.
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Some have enthroned him as the best in Scandinavia in terms of thrillers or mysteries. I found his plotting to be confusing, and the language in the book opaque: characters converse as if readers don't exist--and they know what they are talking about. He seems to excel in describing torture, and human cruelty. Maybe Harry Hole has OCD and that's what keeps his eyes on the prize. To get there, he and the many people who die pay a fearsome price. Some passages crackle with suspense and dread. Too many others are quasi-philosophical passages that are perplexing and impenetrable. There's no denying Newbo's power to convey the vilest human qualities. And Harry seems to be a good detective. But the book is exhausting and exasperating. Even the Epilogue is not told in a straightforward manner, but almost as in an Altman film with overlapping voices coming from the multiple characters speaking. And the cynicism is corrosive.
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This is a page turner--little doubt about that. But felt a bit like a Chinese food page turner--did not stick with me very long. This is the second in the series that I have read. Good, entertaining beach read with plenty of twists and turns but will not change your life.
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There's a serial killer on the loose and the disgraced detective is Harry Hole, an addict, who has successfully found at least one serial killer in the past, The Snowman. (I didn't read that one first, I'll have to go back and read it now as it was referred to a lot through this book). Harry is a total screw up but he's very good at what he does. He doesn't always go down the right roads and pick up the right clues. I'm usually not that good at figuring out the killer. In this case, there are definitely a few twists and red herrings. Nesbo is a good writer, and i did enjoy this book. Good characters, good descriptions and action.
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Jo Nesbø is excellent in this genre. The novel was great escapist reading and was not predictable until very late in the story. Nesbø knows how to keep readers guessing with intricate storytelling and interesting characters.
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mh, i read an earlier one from the same author and i liked that one better. this one was too confusing and the end was so contructed that you think it is the end but then it keeps going and going just to fill pages. also the first book i read was in german and it was a smooth read. the leopard lost a lot in a clumsy translation. it is a ok book but could have been much better executed.
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I really did not like this book. It has too much drugs, alcohol and violence for me. Others might really enjoy this bad bay hero but it wasn't my cup of tea. It seemed everyone was bad from the police to the supporting characters, all of their flaws were a bit too cruel or twisted so I can't give a fair impression of the story.
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Harry Hole has retreated to Hong Kong after his last case put his love, Rakal, and her son in danger. He’s drowning himself in liquor and drugs when a fellow detective hunts him down to enlist his help in finding the killer of two women who had died in bizarre ways. His return pits him against Mikael Bellman of Kripos who plans to move major crimes from the Crime Squad. Since Bellman confiscates the murder cases from Crime Squad, Harry and his team start to investigate the disappearance of another woman, which Harry already suspects is part of the murder cases. One of the bizarre murder weapons is called Leopold’s apple which has twenty-four needles which extract when the victim attempts to pull the apple from her mouth. Harry does a lot of traveling in this book from Hong Kong to Africa where they mine a special alloy called coltan used in the springs and needles of the apple, to the snowy mountains housing cabins which nestle in avalanche territory. Harry’s crew includes Kaja, a new detective who is easing Harry’s loss of Rakal, as well as Bjorn Holm. He is suspicious of Tony Leike, who had stayed at the cabin where Harry surmises each of the victims at one time had also stayed. Tony has latched onto a rich woman whose family has invested heavily in Tony’s business. The writer puts Harry in more danger than a lion tamer without a whip. He is beaten, caught in an avalanche, and tortured. At almost 700 pages, the plot and names get confusing and one can only think a few hundred pages could have been pared. The writing is still top-notch but one wonders if Harry is beyond repair. He is so good at his job that the bosses can’t fire him yet in the end Harry is his own worst enemy.
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Another great Jo Nesbo thriller - fast paced, full of interesting characters (next time I'll keep a list because there are many), constant twists and turns making it difficult to figure out what is next, and of course maverick Inspector Harry Hole at the helm. Seemingly random murders turn into a string of deliberate killings for those present at a mountain cabin in Havass on a certain date. The murders are grisly and Nesbo even invents a torture mechanism called Leopold's apple (a round object placed in the mouth which shoots out spikes when triggered) to kill off some of his characters. Harry Hole is heavy drinking and self destructive, hated but admired by even his enemies. He becomes obsessed with every crime scene he becomes involved with making personal relationships very difficult. His drinking and drugging don't help either. Despite all of his shortcomings, Hole is smart as a whip and likeable. I look forward to reading the next Harry Hole thriller.
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Although I liked the book, I had a difficult time with the accent. I think I was better prepared to listen because I had listened to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series. The names confused me.Harry Hole is a disgraced Norwegian detective who is now living in Hong Kong and addicted to opium and alcohol. His former boss sends another detective to find him and bring him back to Norway to help them catch a serial killer. Harry doesn't want to, but goes home when he finds out that his father is dying.This is part of a series and it follows Harry as he hunts for the killer, navigates painful memories of his dissolved marriage, including his estrangement from his young son, works through his relationship with his father, deals with his bad reputation as he tries to work with other detectives and the Krippo.There are some twists and turns in the book. I saw some of them coming and was caught off guard by a few. I got a little tired, by the end, of Harry being the only one who could solve the case. I would have liked it better if other people were smart, too. And his love interest got on my nerves a little. Their relationship reminded me of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. The guy is always figuring everything out, even though the woman has been working cases with him for years. She can find the clues but then stares at him, waiting for him to tell her what it means.I liked it enough that I will probably check out another one. Maybe by then my ears will be more attuned to the language and I won't have to concentrate so hard to understand.
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My new favorite mystery writter. Not sure I love Hole like some of the other repeat people but the stories are fantastic. Maybe it is the cold weather that makes the writers so good.
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Harry Hole with his magnetism as a loner is back. The Leopard with its darkest elements to date, sixth book in translation and I can honestly say its fantastic reading. Filled with emotion, love, hate, ambition and greed, its fast paced, suspenseful and this author never lets up by twisting plots keeping the puzzle tight and the mind ticking over until the very end. The author Jo Nesbø brings us into his opening scene Hong Kong, Kaja Solness has been sent from Oslo to locate Harry Hole in Kowloon. Hole had been on the missing list since the end of his last case The Snowman, his long term plans were too remain lost. Within forty-eight hours Kaja finds Hole and all his troubles which don't come cheap, given permission to bail him out of his gambling debt on the grounds he comes home his needed on a case but still he refuses. Kaja given no choice plays the final card, his father is in hospital his not expected to live. Hole decision is clear, his father is the one and only reason for his return. Oslo; the file was handed over on route from the airport but not read, the first women Borgny Stem-Myhre, thirty three, single, no children, keen outdoors women loves walking, skiing her cause of death drowning, triggered by blood wounds from the mouth. The second women Charlotte Lolles, twenty-nine, lawyer, lived alone had boyfriends, loves the outdoors, cause of death; drowning, twenty-four wounds in the mouth. This was Gunnar Hagen welcome back present, on Holes first opportunity the file hit the bin and Hole to his words went to visit his father. By the third Murder, Hole was arrested around the scene by him an unknown someone named Mikael Bellman. Gunnar Hagen gets Hole released, he also explained some things had change since he'd been away. An old argument had flared, cuts and rationalization in the force, crime squad versus kripos was there enough resources for two specialist branches with parallel expertise needed in a small country. Mikael Bellman seemed to be the new wonder-boy who moves upwards and onwards but had been nothing but trouble to others from day one, he employed an ex colleague from interpol, a finnish side kick Jussi Kolkka. Officially this was Mikael Bellman serial murder case but as Hole already disliked the man on looks alone his interest had suddenly turned. Hagen explained the case would have to be undercover with trusted chosen few, and that he could lose his job. Hole's intuition was always up for a challenge. Longer book than the others but fantastic were constantly moving forward and the plots interwoven with emotional smaller stories throughout bringing back in the older and then new characters along the way keeping everything fresh with the right pace, suspense, tension and interest. Very descriptive he pays attention to detail great visuals which are crystal clear the dialogue is as always marvellous. The author reflects on financial matters; using the older buildings of Oslo that are just as rich as the new modern buildings except they don't have or need swimming pools, jacuzzi and saunas which seems a requirement for the social climbers new homes. The book is more about Hole as a person, and his personal relationship he shares with his father, I found this really touching at times, you get to understand another side to Hole if anything else. As in every book the author keeps our minds busy. New Mikael Bellman reminds me of a character long gone Tom Waaler but its Harry himself whose still the most compelling character to read. The story well I have to say I was in the thick of it with follow my lead throughout, even with Hole's intuition that borders on the super-natural, I'm not one to give up, stayed right with him and its a wonderful twist to the finish line. Best to just kick back, get in there and enjoy every minute. Translation would also like to touch on this point much like the UK we have our North, South, East, West and somewhere in the middle five common dialects and I'm sure Norway have the same set up generally. Although it would have taken me forever I would love to have been able to read parts of this book in its original context or maybe had that ear for sounding of original language as I had the feeling the author plays a lot with the Norwegian dialects comically in the originals, some Bergensian intonation for instance. I seemed to have picked up on this very clearly in the last book from translated passages and certainly in this book, originals of course always have the edge but the translator has done a fantastic job to get around wording so we are able to understand, his kept it with its directness and humour, the character Harry Hole although Norwegian could even be from the UK, a northerner, its bizarre I know, but the translation and comical side seems to take me that way. So a big thank you to Don Bartlett for another clear translation in the series. This Author writing goes from strength to strength each and every novel, highly recommended, great reading. Andrea Bowhill
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Nesbo just gets better ad better. Yes the Snowman was great but I think this is one step further on to perfection. What Nesbo manages to do is to make an immensely readable crime story that isn't preditable but in actual fact very complicated, multi-layered and with characters full of depth. Compare this to your average I don't know PD James and you will see the difference. On all of these books it says 'the next Stieg Larsson'. This is unfair as Nesbo is leagues ahead of Larsson. Just why oh why aren't the first two Harry Hole books available in English translation? Whose idea was that?
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Excellent murder mystery thriller, long and gripping with lots of plot surprises. Well done. Trans. from Norwiegan
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This, the sixth Harry Hole mystery to be translated from Norwegian to English, is long and complex with a labyrinthine plot about the maverick cop's hunt for a serial killer.Harry, dragged away from the opium dens of Hong Kong, returns to Oslo to investigate the deaths of two women who were tortured and killed with a device called Leopold's apple. Other victims follow, each murdered in gruesome ways; the only connection among all the victims is a one-night stay at an isolated mountain cabin. Besides trying to solve the case, Harry has other problems as well. He has to struggle with his dependencies, especially with alcohol; he cannot forget Rakel who moved away because of the traumas she experienced during Harry's last case; his father is dying from cancer; he finds himself a pawn in a police turf-war over power and jurisdiction. Other characters, both heroes and villians, also come with their personal baggage and agendas, Kaja Solness, Harry's new "partner," and Mikael Bellman, the Kripos second-in-command, being two obvious examples.Harry's magnetic personality dominates. His almost supernatural intuition, his deep sensitivity despite his crusty exterior, and his ability to alienate and outsmart those who consider themselves superior to him make him almost impossible not to like. There is unflagging suspense. Just as he case seems to be solved, there's another breath-taking twist that makes this 600+-page book feel all too short.
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Why are so many Scandinavian writers compelled to base their heroes on Hamlet, that flawed and depressingly complex prince? Mankell’s Wallander is hardly a barrel of laughs, and don’t get me started on Larsson’s Blomqvist and Salander. Despite a promising start in earlier books, Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole [pronounced WHO-leh] has proved true to type and spreads doom and gloom through this book. In a story reaching from the Congo to Norway, and from East Germany to Hong Kong, Harry reluctantly becomes embroiled in investigating a serial killer who murders at least seven seemingly unrelated victims in a variety of sadistic ways.What connects the victims? Who is the missing link and why is he being protected? What happened in the isolated mountains fastness and how can Harry’s past nemesis assist him? Long and overly complicated, turgid prose and emotional indulgence obscure what is an excellent plot.
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Certainly a bit different and well worth readying, although I did get lost sometimes. This was the first of Jo Nesbo's books I've read and I'm certainly consider reading some of the earlier ones.
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Reason for Reading: next in the series.Harry Hole is in a personal mess after his last case and has hidden himself away in Hong Kong, but Norway seems to have a new serial killer in their midst and they are stumped. FBI trained serial killer expert Harry Hole must be tracked down and persuaded to come home and a detective is sent to find and bring him back. Hole does come back but only because his father is ill. Not really wanting to get back into the police business he can't help himself when he finally reads the cases of the two women who have been killed by an ancient torture device called a Leopold's Apple. And when he arrives on the scene of the third victim's horrendous torturous death he is hooked on finding the killer.This is a riveting and unique crime thriller. The crime itself was unusual and a tough one to guess before the final reveal. Several twists and turns keep you on the edge of your seat and the murders are quite gruesome while Jo Nesbo keeps his writing to a level where he describes just enough that your imagination takes over the rest. I really enjoyed crime, as usual, I know I can count on Jo Nesbo for a great thriller. I'm a bit annoyed with the Stieg Larsson comparison brazenly stamped on the cover though. Nesbo doesn't need that kind of lip service. He is an established author in his own right, something that unfortunately Larsson will never be able to become having only written 3 books. The comparison should be the other way around.I did have problems with the book though. First, it is too long. At just over 600 pgs, in this format, probably coming in at close to 500 in a smaller print, it just takes too much time to tell the story. There were parts where it lagged, that felt like filler, that were devoted to character development and main character story issues that just weren't all that interesting. I'm not very pleased with the direction Harry's personal story has gone and I just wanted the book to get back to the crime. Also, I never did figure out why the book is called "The Leopard". I know the old saying about a leopard never changing it's spots; perhaps that refers to Harry? I don't know. But looking at the Norwegian title "panserhjerte" which translates to "Armoured Heart" in English makes perfect sense as that phrase is found in the story. Also this book mentions the first book in the series quite a bit, and that one has not been translated into English yet which I find just plain weird. Now that they are caught up with Nesbo's writing, I wish they'd go back and translate those first two books. A good story, as can always be counted on with Nesbo, but not my favourite.
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I have a thing about Scandinavia and Scandinavian crime thrillers. Having enjoyed Wallander on TV, particularly Krister Henriksson's portrayal, I want to read all of Henning Mankel's series. The Danish TV series The Killing is also very good. Hence when my book group chose Jo Nesbo's The Leopard I was just a bit excited! Little did I know that The Leopard is the sixth book in the series and having not read any of the others, I feel I'm doing this back to front. On opening the book I was bitten! A big book which I couldn't put down. Like Stieg Larssen's trilogy (I read and watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) it gripped me from beginning to end. Nesbo's Detective Harry Hole is not that unlike Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, a troubled man with a bad track record in his relationships with women. Both very focussed on solving their crimes but who run into trouble with their superiors. They break rules to get results.I will be reading all of Nesbo's Harry Hole books and I am anticipating that they are all as exciting and good as The Leopard. A must read for all those who like a good crime novel.
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Another excellent Harry Hole thriller. I love the most how past decisions affect everybody, especially Harry. I want to read the ending in a hopeful way and believe that Harry will learn from his experience and get even better. Already looking forward to the next book.
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