Police (Harry Hole #10) by Jo Nesbø
With the latest in his acclaimed crime drama series, Jo Nesbø resurrects everyone's favorite Norwegian detective, Harry Hole, after a bleak and unsettling final twist in the previous book, Phantom. Now, a serial killer is loose in Oslo and targeting police offers at the scenes of unsolved crimes. As the bodies begin to pile up, an elite and covert group of specialists are forming under the nose of Oslo's Crime Squad to put the pieces together and catch the killer. Among them are forensics specialists Beate Lønn and Bjørn Holm, brilliant researcher Katrine Bratt, psychologist Ståle Aune -- and not Harry Hole, the one detective in Oslo who has solved virtually every case that's crossed his path. With corruption running rampant at City Hall, a vindictive rapist escaped from prison, and the shady Chief of Police Mikael Bellman exercising dominion over the force, the team will do what it takes to draw Harry back and unravel the mystery before another officer becomes a target. But after all that Harry has endured, will he be willing to risk everything once again? Author Jo Nesbø excels with Police, the tenth installment in his Harry Hole series. Maddeningly suspenseful and smartly paced, the novel shows that both Nesbø and Hole are as strong and captivating as ever. The narrative’s speed isn't rushed – instead it’s almost contemplative, simmering hotly as it lulls the reader into a false sense of security before jolting into an accelerated thrill-ride. The story’s unpredictability as it delivers shocking plot-twist reinforces Nesbø's reputation as one of our greatest suspense writers, and the mind-bending revelations will leave readers in rapt appreciation of his skill. As a storyteller, Nesbø feels like a mad scientist here, brilliant in his ability to craft a mystery so deeply-rooted it becomes unrecognizable to readers, impossible to solve, all the while never losing his momentum. And despite the complexity of the story he’s created, he manages to unravel the secret with the sort of style and ease that makes for an electrifying reading experience. This is what good mysteries are all about.
I won't offer much about Harry, because to share my thoughts on him here would be to shine the light on what happened to him after Phantom, something that requires the reader to wait fifteen chapters to finally do in Police. While his fate might be obvious, there's a sense of getting to know a slightly different Harry here that's exciting. I continue to enjoy his intricacies as he evolves, and it’s no wonder why he’s so thoroughly revered by fans. Though he’s got his share of scars – physically and emotionally – Harry is rigorously determined to live with them, which is perhaps one of his most admirable traits. His depth of insight and real-world attitude make him continuously likable; and I found myself smiling at Harry’s moral altitude in one particular scene, all the while being riveted in the midst of the moment’s taut suspense. All of Nesbø's characters are brilliantly illustrated and stand out vigorously amid the moody settings, with the heroes appearing valiant while the villains are especially bleak – and yet they're all shrouded with a sort of edginess that leaves the reader wondering if one can really be told apart from the other.
Police is a very successful addition to a series that seems to never reach its ceiling. Its twists are fiercely executed, characters intense and memorable, and its final chapters a collection of surprises that will leave the reader clambering in anticipation of another novel. Writing with élan and whip-smart tension, Nesbø is sure of his footing as he again brings to life one of the genre’s most enjoyable and complex characters.