Several, several posts ago I was lamenting the end of the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" with the conclusion of reading (and LOVING) "Limitless," previously released under the title "The Dark Fields." So now, six months later, I've finally found a truly great Ikea-esque, literary, mystery set in the ultra modern yet exotic scandinavian scene.
"The Devil's Star", by Jo Nesbø, is one of the more recent installments in a crime series about tortured alcoholic yet charming Detective Harry Hole. The book opens with a poetic narrative about a stream of water that slowly drips into the Oslo flat beneath, alerting the residences to the murder of young woman. One finger has been severed from her left hand, and behind her eyelid is secreted a tiny diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star - (otherwise known as a pentagram or "the devil's star").
Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case in partnership with his long-time adversary, Tom Waaler, whom Harry believes is responsible for the murder of his partner. Although initially resistent to the case, Harry eventually drags himself out of his alcoholic stupor at the prospect of his all too imminent dismissal from the Police force. The book gains momentum as the serial killer rapidly strikes in other neighborhoods of Oslo, leaving a severed finger and a five-pointed devil's star as his calling card.
Admittedly the book sounds a bit gruesome, but believe me, it's not at all bad and well worth the read. I can't wait to start Jo Nesbo's next and latest book in the series, "The Snowman." Even though Jo's characters aren't quite as complex as those of Steig Larsson, his plot and literary style are, in my opinion, far superior. Plus, it's nice to have no explicit and oh-so-physchologically disturbing rapes / sexual abuse narratives. I was getting really, really nauseated by it in the Elisabeth Salinger series.
So if you're looking for a good mystery / thriller / crime read for the summer, start here! Plus with 4 of Nesbo's Harry Hole books currently translated in English—The Redbreast, Nemesis, The Devil's Star, and The Snowman—there's plenty of good books to keep you occupied for all these hot, 100+ degree days.