Two young women are found murdered in Oslo, both drowned in their own blood. Media coverage quickly reaches fever pitch: Could this be the work of a serial killer?
The crime scenes offer no coherent clues, the police investigation is stalled, and the one man who might be able to help doesn't want to be found. Traumatized by his last case, Inspector Harry Hole has lost himself in the squalor of Hong Kong's opium dens. Yet when he is compelled, at last, to return to Norway - his father is dying - Harry's buried instincts begin to take over. After a female MP is discovered brutally murdered, nothing can keep him from the investigation.
There is little to go on: a piece of rope, a scrap of wool, a bit of gravel, an unexpected connection between the victims. And Harry will soon come to understand that he is dealing with a psychopath for whom insanity is a vital retreat, someone who will put him to the test in both his professional and personal lives as never before.
Ruthlessly intelligent and suspenseful, The Leopard is Jo Nesbo's most electrifying novel yet - absolutely gripping from first to last.
©2011 Jo Nesbo (P)2011 Random House Audio
“Intense . . . Nesbø moves the action easily from Hong Kong to Norway, with side trips to the Democratic Republic of Congo, without ever losing the plot’s sense of urgency.” (Publishers Weekly, starred)
“Nesbø knows exactly what he’s doing [in] this gripping, intricately plotted tale . . . Like all intelligent crime fiction, this book is not only about multiple murders by heinous means. It is also about legacies, most specifically about the good and evil, love and hate, passed from one generation to the next. This vivid, violent novel promises to speak on many levels to many readers.” (Library Journal)
“Outstanding . . . Probably the best big crime novel you could lay your hands on this year.” (BBC Radio 4)
I love books!
This was my 3rd Nesbo/Harry Hole book and I truly thought they were all great! I blew through this one quickly. This was a good follow on to "The Snowman" but I would recommend you start at the beginning if you thought you wanted to try them out. The crime story is a taut thriller that alone keeps your interest but, at the core, Nebo has created a great character in Harry Hole. Harry is an alcoholic who has his demons but, at heart, is a very good human being and you can't help but relate to him. The setting in Norway is interesting and when you consider the story in its totality, it's absolutely great. Nesbo is now one of my favorite authors and I recommend his books highly.
The Snowman for all the obvious reasons.
Harry Hole of course.
I could not put this down. It was so good, I listened to it a second time a few days later.
Robin Sachs' narration.
Haven't finished listening to it yet.
Yes, but too long for me to do so. Have to divide it.
I'm tempted to buy Redbreast since Robert Sachs is also the narrator for that Jo Nesbo book as well.
It's a bit off putting that Harry Hole has such addiction problems. Wish he'd get over that. I'd probably give every book 5 stars then.
Nesbo does it again. I've never been disappointed when listening to a Nesbo book. Sachs does an awesome job at bringing the story to life.
I hope I haven't listened to all of these, because I keep wanting more. It's good to space these Nesbo books out a bit, though: it's not a world to live in more than once a year, maybe. James Lee Burke is similar: good, but best not to stay immersed in too long.
I am an audio book addict. Love staging the drama in my head, especially psychological intrigue and mysteries.
This was the first book I have read of the Harry Hole series, but definitely will not be the last. Hole is a flawed hero, no superman but definitely engaging in his quests to solve the flaws of society and his own life. Robin Sachs does an outstanding portrayal of Hole.
Avid listener of mysteries, thrillers, a little sci fi. Also enjoy self improvement titles. Mom, wife, Social Media Coordinator for biz.
Nesbo keeps getting better and better. There are a slew of twists and turns in this book and they proved so enjoyable! Impossible to get bored. Robin Sachs is excellent as usual, especially since there are so many characters. Do yourself a favor - try hard to keep up with all the character names. There are a lot and almost all being Norwegian, they don't come easy to pronounce or visualize for a native English speaker. Otherwise, this book is so fantastic!
... is getting a little silly, and distracting. Let's put it to rest.
1. In Norwegian the name "Hole" is pronounced "O" like in "pool" and "e" like in "ethnic".
I'm not making it up, this was Jo Nesbø's response to a direct question. The question is asked near the bottom of that page under "Frequently Asked Questions".
You can Google "Silent Letters in Norwegian" and learn that there are only four or five, and none of them is "e".
In Norwegian the name "Hole" is pronounced "OO-leh".
2. In English the word "Hole" is pronounced, well, like "hole", or "whole" if that helps.
People with foreign-language names often acquiesce to English-speaking people mispronouncing their name, especially if their name is the same as or similar to an English word or name. In America my friend Pettersson is the English "Peterson", in Sweden he is "Pedder-Shown". Even with common languages it gets muddled. In America my last name is like the North Carolina city of Durham, but in England it was like ... well, hard to write, but it sounded to me like "Dyeurrum". (To phone solicitors, however, it is always "Der Ham".)
Early on the producers at Audible.com decided to let Robin Sachs pronounce Harry's last name like the English "hole". Several books were produced and narrated by Robin Sachs using that pronunciation.
Robin Sachs is great. He is the voice of Harry Hole. But he does not pronounce Hole the same way a Norwegian would.
No problem, we're not Norwegian. And it never would have been a problem if the "The Bat" had not been translated and published. This is the first book written in the Harry Hole series, but the most recent in order of Audible.com production. In "The Bat" Harry has this exchange in an airport in Australia:
"The arrivals hall was crowded with travel reps and limousine drivers, holding up signs with names on, but not a Hole in sight. He was on the point of grabbing a taxi when a black man wearing light blue jeans and a Hawaiian shirt, and with an unusually broad nose and dark, curly hair ploughed a furrow between the signs and came striding toward him.
"'Mr Holy, I presume!' he declared triumphantly.
"Harry Hole considered his options. He had decided to spend the first days in Australia correcting the pronunciation of his surname so that he wouldn't be confused with apertures or orifices. Mr Holy however, was infinitely preferable."
Fine, this makes perfect sense in Norwegian, most of whom speak excellent English. Good enough to know what a hole is and how to pronounce "holy". So Mr. "OO-leh" is content to be called Mr. "Holy" as that is preferable to being called Mr. "Hole".
So I ask you, if Robin Sachs had narrated "The Bat", how would he have pronounced "Hole" subsequently? Like the English "hole"? Or, as Thor Knai (in "Nemesis") or Sean Barrett (in "The Bat") did, more or less as "OO-leh"?
None of that matters. Robin Sachs did not narrate "The Bat".
Thanks to his international fame, Jo Nesbø is undoubtedly aware by now that the difference in pronunciation is likely to cause a distraction and so is unlikely to write another passage like the one in "The Bat" that makes an issue of the pronunciation of "Hole". Robin Sachs can narrate every future Harry Hole novel and pronounce Hole as hole, and enjoy great success and popularity.
Unless Nesbø kills off Harry Hole ...
P.S. Jo Nesbø in the cited FAQ has a nice way of explaining the pronunciation of the ø (O with a backslash) in his last name. "... like the o in Peter Seller's pronunciation of 'bomb' in the Pink Panther movie." I'm not likely to forget that.
The last place you'd expect to find a Norwegian detective is an opium den in Hong Kong where he continues to engage in his self destructive behaviors. Yet that's where Kaja Solness finds him when she's assigned to bring him back to Oslo to help with the latest series of murders. After all, he's the only one with experience in tracking serial killers.
The methods the killer comes up with are unusual and torturous. We experience the first one right out of the gate and when I say we experience it, that's exactly what I mean. Nesbo writes that scene, as well as most others, so well it's as if we are living it. I was so scared after those first few pages that I wanted to go on, but my heart was pounding so hard I wasn't sure I could hear the narrator. But I went on. I told my husband, "You think Devil's Star was good, try this one." It took him about thirty seconds to load the story to his listening device. I still beat him to the end.
Nesbo keeps us engaged throughout the story with so many surprises that it's tricky to keep up. But if you listen carefully, you can. It's a fast-paced ride.
There are five other Harry Hole mysteries, but they can be read as stand alone novels. Nesbo gives you just enough information to fill you in without boring those who have read the previous ones. His newest one, The Phantom, is due to be released in October 2, 2012.
I'm a fan of Nesbo and Harry Hole, although in the next book I hope Harry gets his act together a little bit more than he does in this one. There's only so much self destructive behavior any reader can tolerate.
Sachs is a great reader for Nesbo tales. I'd encourage you to buy the book. And just in case the October release ends the series, read it now.
Harry Hole is another detective full of flaws. He hides in drink and drugs, is asocial and ignores the rules, but he gets away with it because he gets the job done. Despite his flaws, or perhaps because of them, he is a good man and is likeable. He's the sort of man you would like to have as a friend, but would hope he doesn't show up to too many of your parties because you're never sure what he's going to do. So far, he's a fairly typical detective of the grittier sort of crime/mystery genre and doesn't particularly stand out from the crowd.
What makes The Leopard such a great book is the plot. This one is full of twists and turns, clues that help as well as hinder and characters who make you think they are something they are not. Although all the clues are there, it's difficult to see where the plot is headed. You just have to hang in and wait for the story to develop, which is fantastic in my book. Nesbo keeps you guessing. Sometimes you're right, sometimes you aren't, but that just adds to the interest.
The only warning I would issue is that the details are graphic and gory. If you've got a good imagination and have difficulty getting pictures out of your mind, you might want to give this one a miss, or at least avoid listening before bed. It's not a cosy sort of mystery; it's one that will make you wonder about the depth human beings can sink to in their desire to cause others pain. This, however, is what keeps the violence from being gratuitous. Nesbo isn't writing about violence just to draw in a crowd; he's just showcasing what many of us never think about living in a fairly safe and sane world as most Westerners do.
All in all an excellent read that I can recommend to anyone with a strong stomach.
The narration was also excellent. Robin Sachs does a great job and I would listen to more of him any time.
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