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The Leopard – Jo Nesbo a review

ImageMy latest book (read in two halfs around Gillian Flynn due to train equalling kindle and home equalling real books!) was The Leopard by Jo Nesbo. I’ve read the Redeemer by the same author previously so had an idea that I was going to like it.

Jo Nesbo is an author based in Norway, and really does go to show that (in my opinion) some of the best of both music and books comes from the Netherlands. This was the second of Nesbo’s books I’ve read, and with hindsight I really should have read the Snowman first as aspects of it were mentioned in this book. However in no way did that detract from my enjoyment of the story.

Once again Harry Hole is the main crime solving character in the book, and he covers all the clichés of a detective – alcoholic, lost the family he loved, dying relative, cynical and ‘world weary’. However rather than feeling clichéd I felt it gave him a certain substance. I wouldn’t say he was particularly likeable but at the numerous scenes where you suspect he may be killed, such as when he gets buried in an avalanche, you do care whether or not he lives or dies.

The story is how a good crime novel should be, its chilling, gruesome and violent and leaves you wandering how people think these things up. A metal object with retractable needles shoved in peoples mouths makes an unusual murder weapon, but unlike some writers it didn’t seem to me to be overdone for the sake of being shocking. The story is such that the red herrings, and politics and characters keep you guessing right throughout the story, and the descriptions make for an atmospheric read.

The story starts in Hong Kong and also takes in the Congo as well as it’s base in Norway which provided an interesting perspective on three countries I know little about, and managed to give a good description of each of the three without resorting too much too broad bland statements.

It’s a pretty hefty book of over 600 pages which does normally put me off a bit. I also did find that there were parts when I got a bit bored, so personally I would say that it could have been slightly shrunk down without taking away from the story. Overall though a great read, and I am definitely going to go out and read the Snowman soon.

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Filed under book review, crime fiction