The Leopard by Jo Nesbo
Originally Published: 2009
Previous Book in the Series: #7 – The Snowman
The Leopard by Jo Nesbo is the 8th in the Norwegian Inspector Harry Hole Series.
Harry Hole is a superb detective, who seldom follows the rules. He is also a recovering alcoholic who doesn’t always follow those rules either. He is responsible for shutting down a big gun smuggling ring with police involvement, and solving the first serial murderer case in his country. Both have had repercussions in his work, and in his love life. Rakel and her son have moved away, and Harry is pining. He is also mourning the loss of a couple of beloved co-workers.
After the last case, Harry handed in his resignation, grabbed a bottle, and flew to Hong Kong, where opium has become his new drug of choice. He has no intention of returning to Oslo. When Kaja Solness from the Crime Squad finds him and tries to convince him that there is another serial killer on the loose at home, and he’s probably the only one that can solve this, Harry says no. It is not until she tells him that his father is seriously ill, and in the hospital, that he relents.
Upon his return he discovers that politics is messing with the police force, and his Crime Squad is in danger of being disbanded, and Kripos, a central crime unit in Oslo, may soon run everything. The head of Kripos, Mikael Bellman, is power hungry.
In the meantime, Gunnar Hagen, his old boss, assigns Kaja and Harry’s old partner Holms to help Harry solve the crime spree involving the murder of two women. The three of them will be somewhat handicapped in their endeavours, as they must work without the knowledge Kripos has, and without Kripos finding out they are investigating. However, there is a leak somewhere, and Kripos seems to be one step ahead. But Harry doesn’t really care who he is working for, he just wants to solve the case.
With some unexpected help, Harry finds the link between the tortured women. They had all spent the night at a ski lodge in the mountains, and now everyone who had been there is a target of the killer.
This one was deep. Intense. Sometimes hard to follow. There are a lot of characters (and yes, I’m still having problems with the Scandinavian place/people names). However, if you pay attention, you will be pleasantly rewarded. There are a lot of twists, and a lot of things going on in the background that may sway you from the path, but your eye on the prize (Harry), and he will lead you to your destination.
One of the themes of this book seemed to be the need for power. The killer needed to be in control of everything. Bellman as well, wanted power, and both would do anything to make sure he got it. Not everyone was so happy to give it up though.
It was interesting to learn a little more about the relationship with father in this one, as it just adds a little more to Harry’s own character depth.
The plot in this was great, with some rather gruesome scenes (fine by me), but be warned, the book is long. Even with all the action, it felt long. Possibly because there was a lot going on.
Think I’ll take a break before the next Harry Hole….but I’ll be back!
Read: October, 2018
Favorite Quotes from The Leopard:
“Someone had told her leopards made so little noise they could sneak right up to their prey in the dark. They could regulate their breathing so that it was in tune with yours. Could hold their breath when you held yours.”
“Friendship means nothing to a man if he has a tempting enough offer. Nothing.”
“I think it’s possible to learn. The problem is that we learn so damned slowly, so that by the time you’ve realised, it’s too late.”
About the Author: Jo Nesbo (1960 – ) (pronounced “you nesbaugh”) is a Norwegian author. When is dreams of being a soccer star were dashed by an injury, he entered the military, then he entered the world of finance, then formed several bands. Then he started writing. He has never stopped. Apparently he still rock climbs.