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5.0 out of 5 stars The Devil's Star - Jo Nesbø, January 16, 2010
This review is from: The Devil's Star (Mass Market Paperback)
Extra Information: The first two books for this Harry Hole series The Bat Man and The Cockroaches have not been produced for translation at this time. The Redbreast: A Novel would be the third book in this series; if you were to start this series my recommendation would be from The Redbreast. The series then follows through in order with Nemesis: A Novel (Harry Hole) The Devil's Star and finally The Redeemer (A Harry Hole Mystery) which then brings us readers to all things wintry, dark days, sub zero temperatures, icy chills, the release of The Snowman March 2010.

Review - The Devil's Star (Harry Hole Fifth book)

The Devil's Star is a contemporary modern day crime plot with all its darker elements, filled with emotion, fast paced, suspenseful, the puzzle grips, builds, festers and twists keeping the mind ticking over until the very end. The author Jo Nesbø brings us into his opening scene, Oslo, current day a young women has been found murdered in her Oslo flat, shot, Index finger removed and a curious tiny diamond shaped like a five pointed star placed behind her eyelid. An unsteady Detective Harry Hole is sent over to investigate the situation. Days later another young women goes missing in broad daylight no body found, but Bjarne Møller Harry's boss receives her severed finger in the post. Only when a third womens body is found with the same signature as victim one, severed finger, small five pointed star behind the eye, the investigation turns quickly into a serial killer hunt.

Harry's pervious assignment working for sometime on the Ellen Gjelten case his ex murdered partner, but to no advance, finally case closed but not to Harry he had departmental suspicions but lacked any proof forcing him once again to fall deeply off the wagon. Bjarne Møller who had saved Harry's job so many times had no choice but to tell him final notice was to be served but first with holiday staffing issues, he'd be placed on the serial killer case as priority before he left. The situation was about to get worst as his partnered with Tom Waaler the police forces golden-boy, there are no alternatives. With a serial killer at large personal issues needed to be put to one side, even with Harry's darker state of mind he functions better under pressure and was onto a new lead, he has nothing to lose and his presence makes others feel unnerved, more than one person is about to lose control.

As the saying goes "Things happen in threes" great things in the form of The Redbreast, Nemesis and here we have my personal favorite The Devil's Star, fifth book in this series this is certainly a book that really makes you think and question which is what I love. My thoughts even wondered If the author wrote subconsciously, Intentional or it could just be a fantastic coincidence or fate, book numbering and story-line? The Devil's star was officially the only book published out of sequence and the first one I read around 2006, this roller coaster sits behind The Redbreast and Nemesis, I have recently re-read all in order and its been marvellous. Reading in order always has the edge but this is not to say you couldn't just pick this book or any of the others and just read, although it's a guarantee reading one your be reaching for others, best take it from the top.

Jo Nesbø gives us another teasing puzzle with lots of clever plot twists. The stories are fascinating to read, constantly moving forward and the plots interwoven with smaller stories throughout bringing in the old and new characters along the way keeping everything fresh with the right pace, suspense, tension and interest.

This author is very descriptive and he pays attention to detail this time his given us a bit more of Oslo more so in this book than any other, building pictures great visuals which are very clear. The author reflects on a changing city, the amount of reconstruction that has taken place in Oslo and does it work! He talks of the history of older buildings from the opening pages all the way through. The subject reoccurs as trendy motifs contemporary modern designs new apartments or grand designs like student buildings go up around the city and the question is do they fit in? This may seem a familiar question to most of us as we look at our own cities and wonder does it actually add or take something away?

The author also has incredible observation of people, character building, all are well drawn and interesting Harry Hole and Tom Waaler set out to antagonize each other, these two grippingly twist and turn the story inside out. Beate Lonn with her photographic memory and passed abusive history with Tom Waaler. Harry himself is the most compelling character to read, you can tell in the dream/nightmare sequences written that all parts of his life are crossing over. His state of mind in this book is rock bottom his work is corrupt but evidence is nowhere to be found; Bjarne Møller his boss is at his wits-end with him. In the five stages of life Harry has taken stage three with force, anger, sadness, low self esteem, low expectations, self hate, guilt, alcohol fuels his depression leaving him suffering fear and anxiety. His love of his life Rakel doesn't know how to deal with him and is trying to hang on but the only way forward for Harry is too face his fears in all areas and become a stronger person for it, the only one who can help Harry would be himself.

Jo Nesbø adds humour into his novels that never escapes my notice, it translates into an English dry sense of humour and it works well with everything else going on. All loose ends and plots tie up and come to a fast paced conclusion even cleaning up an outstanding situation from the first two books.

Love this author work, all books are favourites but this one grabbed me way back in 2006 and stayed with me and I always mention it to people looking for something new. This Author certainly has a passion for a thriller. The Redemmer is next in line one which I have already reviewed, so next in line for me would be The Snowman March 2010 and judging by the product description it sounds even darker than The Devil's star, can't wait!

The Devil Star comes Highly Recommended. Also adding here a thank you to Don Bartlett for the clear translation in the series.

Andrea Bowhill
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 6, 2010 8:11:28 AM PST
Sounds like trhe author created some interesting characters: "The author also has incredible observation of people, character building, all are well drawn and interesting Harry Hole and Tom Waaler set out to antagonize each other, these two grippingly twist and turn the story inside out." Very nicely done detailed review!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2010 10:28:22 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 7, 2010 10:17:56 AM PST
Thanks Steven, great characterization in all books, The Devil's Star always gets a mention for anyone looking for something new. A book that makes you stop and think, an all round five!

(fighting Jet lag this evening). Eleven hour flight, but for at least six of those were not wasted as the lady next to myself who was also unable to sleep struck up a conversation about dark and devious minds in English history, what a conversation that was! Anyway it soon came around too dark and twisted plots... she also loves Crime Thrillers and Mysteries, out comes my pen, paper and wrote down a list of this Author books in order (who she had not heard of before) gave her a brief overview of each, she was very interested in The Redbreast as it has the WWII History element entwined, but of course once she reads one she'll be reaching for the rest. The Devil's star excellent book and of course my favorite or should I say so far, as The Snowman is due for release next month!

*amended typo's (jet lag) makes note, must learn not to type with my eyes shut*

Posted on Jun 9, 2010 8:42:25 AM PDT
Pietr Hitzig says:
Thank you for a thorough and heartfelt review.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2010 1:55:50 PM PDT
Hi Pietr, The Devil's Star, a favorite, thoroughly loved it, a book that made me think and question. Just going to gush about it a little bit more and say, the opening chapter alone really reaches out and grabs the reader, fantastic piece of writing from the author. Thanks you for the comment. Andrea :)

Posted on Feb 28, 2011 7:24:45 PM PST
Lavrans says:
I can't believe that anyone could be so hopelessly lame as to commit a major spoiler and give away the plot of a mystery!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2011 1:38:02 PM PST
Nothing wrong with this review, sticks and stones try harder!

Posted on Aug 16, 2011 8:01:59 PM PDT
Thank you for listing the correct order of the books. It wasn't easily apparent when looking to order.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2011 11:04:31 AM PDT
Hi Cecil

Thank you. Since I wrote the above review, there are more books in this series. I've already added a longer list to other comment sections to help, will also add one here too, to help yourself and others. There is also a Stand Alone book out very soon you may wish to take a look at too.

Harry Hole - In English translations we start from book three, each book/story has its own individual theme. I would definitely take the first three in order: Book 3) The Redbreast, with its WWII element, Book 4) Nemesis, has it Gypsies, Book 5) The Devil's Star, grey shadowy with a fast pace beat and wraps up outstanding stories from the first two books. Book 6) The Redeemer with a Croatian hitman whose hell bent to get the job done and then Book 7) The Snowman, much much darker, darker days or Christmas is a great time to read The Snowman. Book 8) The Leopard, darkest to date, the deadly obsession. Book 9) The next title called The Phantom will be out sometime in Spring 2012 (UK) Andrea.

Also for those who are up to date on the Harry Hole series and want more to read by Jo Nesbo, I've already have my copy on pre-order, released in the UK September 1st 2011. In the US this title will be released on September 6, 2011. The long awaited Headhunters by Jo Nesbo. This is a standalone book with all new fresh characters to read about. Its already been made into a film in Norway.

Headhunters book product description from amazon UK: Roger Brown has it all. He's the country's most successful headhunter. He has a beautiful wife and a magnificent house. And to maintain this lifestyle, he's also a highly accomplished art thief. At a gallery opening, his wife introduces him to Clas Greve. Not only is Greve the perfect candidate for a position with one of Roger's high-profile clients, he is also in possession of `The Calydonian Boar Hunt' by Rubens, one of the most sought-after paintings in the world. Roger sees his chance to be rich beyond his wildest dreams and starts planning his biggest heist ever. But soon, he runs into trouble - and this time money is the least of his worries.

Andrea :)

Posted on Sep 11, 2011 11:05:44 AM PDT
Hadrian Muir says:
I found this most useful because Andrea Bowhill gave a chronology of the Harry Hole books. Most useful since the publications in English have not followed the Norwegian chronology, thus adding confusion.

I like Bowhill's enthusiasm, I have been enthralled by the series so far. Irritated by Harry's Hole's self destructive tendencies and delighted with his strength, perception, and self-knowledge. I wish the alchoholics in my history had such qualities of redemption.

Ian Yeomans, <ianynot@earthlink.net>
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