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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

“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)

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  • Overall
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  • Story

Excellent, Brutal Read

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • KP
  • Oakland, CA
  • 06-25-12

Compulsive Listening

If you liked The Snowman, you'll like The Leopard. I really couldn't stop listening to it! The violence was a bit over the top, if you ask me. I will admit to skipping a few little mini parts when the very worst of the violence was happening; it was that graphic. But the action and the plot were good. It was complex, but not to the point of being hard to follow.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Jo Nesbo still on his game. Robin Sachs is superb

If you could sum up The Leopard in three words, what would they be?

Epic crime novel.

What did you like best about this story?

Nesbo's insight into the workings of the criminal mind are accurate as any seasoned law enforcement officer can attest.

Which character – as performed by Robin Sachs – was your favorite?

Sachs had all the characters nailed. I thought it was a flawless performance.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Harry Hole's bleak landscape contains an intimate knowledge of death and dying.

Any additional comments?

I had some difficulty with the Norwegian character's names, but this is small price for the payoff by the end of journey.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Red herrings all the way to the very end

Jo Nesbo has written an excellent book that kept me guessing all the way. The translation is fluent and the narration is perfect. I was sorry when the book finished.

Highly, highly recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Theresa
  • Memphis, TN, United States
  • 01-04-12

I cant wait for the next book in the series.

Robin Sachs is the voice of Harry Hole. Harry is a brilliant detective who is a complete mess as a person. Who could ask for a better character. Keep up the good work Mr Nesbo!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Truly good but similar to the Snowman

I'm 5 hours away from finishing the book. Jo Nesbo is a brillant writer but I found this book had the same rhythm/feel of the Snowman. It gave you a handful of plausible suspects and then slowly dwindled away to the actual killer. The journey is great but it just didn't feel like anything new after reading the last book. There were also tons of references back to the Snowman case. I'm wondering if Nesbo's earlier work (Harry Hole pre serial killer cases) offers a break from this same plot set up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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To be fair, I haven't finished it yet...

I have listened and read several Nesbo books, and have enjoyed them even with the violence (although The Snowman got a bit too close to being too much). This book, however, started off in an over-the-top way. The gruesomeness and violence was just too much for me to handle. Seriously, it made me a bit worried that Nesbo could come up with such horrific torture devices.
I honestly do not think I will be able to listen to this book past what I have heard so far (two chapters) because I am too worried about "living" through another torture scene. I had to fast forward because I could not handle being inside the head of the woman going through this vicious, wretched nightmare.
If you cringe at grotesque scenes, I would not recommend this book for you.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • sherri
  • Kirkland, WA, United States
  • 07-07-12

On and on ad infinitum

I was a fan of previous Nesbo books but agree with WA Post reviewer Patrick Anderson's description of this book as "a bloated near-total disaster. Reading it, I came to imagine myself trapped in a vast, fetid swamp from which I might never emerge." If you love over-the-top, pointless, sadistic torture--both for you as a reader and described in the book-- go for it. If you want an intellectually complex, character-driven novel with action and suspense, read a different book.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Riveting and Fantastic!

Another fantastic Nesbo novel superbly narrated by Robin Sachs. Looking forward to the next Harry Hole story.

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Jo Nesbo Never Disappoint You

I enjoyed this book from start to finish. All the characters including the killer is interesting. I just wish Harry emotional turmoil within himself would be resolved. The narrator and reader is outstanding. The plot and the suspense kept me awake many nights but the lack of sleep was worth it.