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by Jo Nesbo

Oslo is sweltering in the summer heat when a young woman is murdered in her flat. One finger has been cut off and a tiny red diamond in the shape of a pentagram is found under her eyelid. Detective Harry Hole is assigned the case with Tom Waaler, a colleague he neither likes nor trusts. He believes Tom is behind a gang of arms smugglers -- and the murder of his partner. But Harry, an off-the-rails alcoholic, is barely holding on to his job and has to play nice.

Download The Devil's Star (Thorndike Reviewers' Choice) epub
ISBN: 1410426688
ISBN13: 978-1410426680
Category: Mystery
Subcategory: Thrillers & Suspense
Author: Jo Nesbo
Language: English
Publisher: Thorndike Press; Large Print edition (June 2, 2010)
Pages: 624 pages
ePUB size: 1523 kb
FB2 size: 1148 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 571
Other Formats: azw lrf mbr txt

The Devil’s Star is the fifth book in the Harry Hole series. Hole has sunken further into his obsession with figuring out who killed his ex-partner and is still struggling to overcome his alcoholism. His boss and biggest supporter has lost all faith in him and has given him his last warning as well as his last case. Can Hole figure out who the methodical satanic killer who has been terrorizing Oslo is?

This is the weakest book in the Hole series so far and it’s hard for me to explain why without spoilers so I’ll keep this review as ambiguous as possible and compare Devil’s Star to the books that came before it.

Firstly, the plot is not as complicated or as intriguing as the plots in The Redbreast or Nemesis. It’s just another serial killer hunt and for the first time in the series Hole’s alcoholism felt like a contrived plot device. Secondly, I didn’t understand why the chosen killer was selected as the killer by Nesbo. The motive was feeble and preposterous and the entrapment strange.

Finally, there were a lot of characters and a lot of sub-stories that were completely unnecessary. The book felt really busy and all of these characters and sub-stories were distracting. The only reason I enjoyed the book was because we finally got the showdown between Hole and his arch-enemy Tom Waaler.
If you have read the previous Harry Hole 'Nemesis' first, it would surely be hard to deny that this was an excellent conclusion to what began as Hole's greatest hostile threat in his life coming from within his own rank and file police force. The finale was nail bitingly exciting when Harry had to rescue himself and his two dependents from his cold blooded nemeisis. A deadly clash, complete with blood, gore and bone crunching amputation. Harry needed ingenious psychological games to counter and outsmart his rabidly incensed enemy to save his own skin. The Devil's Star: A Harry Hole Novel (Harry Hole Series), the fifth in the series and absolutely the best for me so far. I actually read this 5th Harry adventure few years back as my first in the series and promptly got hopelessly hooked on Harry like a junkie for Norwegian crime fiction. Determined to enjoy the series the right manner I went to the beginning with Harry's international ventures, first in Australia withThe Bat: A Harry Hole Novel (1) (Harry Hole Series), then his adventure in the land of 'me so horny love u long time' in Cockroaches: The Second Inspector Harry Hole Novel (Harry Hole series Book 2). Intimacy with Harry naturally grew with familiarity as we read the series chronologically to understand the various important events in our long suffering and self conflicted detective. We see Harrys pains were mostly self inflicted because he shoulders the blame when bad things happen, like with his partner's murder by Prince. Rather if he could just accept that everything happens according to destiny's arrangement he would not fester and wallow so much in self pity, wasting precious energy and time and missing out on living life. As we immerse ourselves in the life and work of Harry, we inevitably also become deliciously acquainted with his sidekicks such as his supportive boss 'Møller, who saw Harry's brilliant detective skills was willing to accommodate Hole's frequent inebriation and unorthodox means to solve a case. Key to Harry's success was also having a competent and righteous forensic partner 'Lønn' and his loyal drug dispensing taxi driver, computer hacking expert friend, Øystein. Without these three, Harry's path would definitely have been more treacherous and fruitless. The writings of author Nesbø have markedly improved with each new offerings. He injected more humor, twists, mysteries, history, human psychic analysis and ticklish pop culture references. In Devils Star, Nesbø spun a complex web of human lives with ambitions and lusts from all walks of lives including professionals, artistes, the religious and thugs. Like a juicy 'who dun it' crime mystery, the story has a few murder suspects that kept us speculating as we read along. Nesbø threw us several curved balls to elicit wild speculations and wrong guesses from his readers. The devil was really in the details. With the help of his trustworthy boss, intelligent shrink, loyal childhood friend aka somnolence drug dispenser, beloved girlfriend and her child giving meaning to Harry's at times self destructive life, a sober Hole was on the other hand, a workaholic, brilliantly efficient, clever, brutishly funny, confident and a lean mean killing machine. Highly resourceful and second guessing his enemy, he finally exposed the serial murderer and his motives, and also confronting his great nemesis in the end. Yet touchingly the author showed sympathy to the baddies as reflected in our hero Hole uncovering their motives by answering the question 'why?'. Nesbo gave us enough extenuating background details to the inevitable crooked paths our villains had taken. What began in the prologue as a seemingly unrelated introduction of bricklaying profession in the olden days and the secret ingredient they use to fortify the walls came full circle with a brilliant sentence in the concluding line. A recurring statement in the story was that lust will always find the lowest level. So did the demise of the dirty cop. In the basement. Such was the wit and intelligence and excellent writing skills of Jo Nesbø that filled this novel. To fully appreciate the beauty, It is best read of course in the Norwegian language if you can. I did that.
Like many, I enjoy Jo Nesbo's books for the narrative and characters, as well as for the expert and artful writing. In The Devil's Star, particularly on Kindle, the writer's habit of using pronouns rather than names consistently creates significant, pointless, and highly annoying confusion for the reader. With the Kindle format at least, it is impossible to tell that the narrative has shifted focus -- there's a little more blank space to suggest this, maybe -- and when you continue reading, you're greeted with "him" and "her" but no proper names, creating the frequent problem of having to figure out who the heck is present and where the heck you are. This is obviously not suspenseful or mysterious -- it's just crappy presentation, really. I think this series has loads going for it, but after the 37th "guess who you're reading about" situation, the book starts to feel wordy, dull, and annoying. Totally avoidable. Who formats, edits, and checks these publications? You're messing up a good thing. Try using names!
What kind of detective is Harry Hole? Harry is taunted by Tom Waller, a corrupt cop whom Harry knows (but cannot yet prove) engineered the death of Harry's partner, Ellen, in the previous novel, Redbreast. Waller tells Harry he has a reputation for drunkenness, unauthorized absences, abuse of authority, insubordination to superiors, and disloyalty to the force. But then Waller says he respects Harry as a professional because he is goal-oriented, smart, creative, has unimpeachable integrity, and, above all, is mentally tough (p. 103-4). Waller makes Harry a dangerous proposition: to join his secret group of cops who dispense vigilante justice to criminals who cannot be proven guilty. Both Hole and Waller are investigating a series of murders in which a five-point Devil's star is left at each scene. There seems to be no connection between the victims, but all the murders eventually point to someone who is innocent but has no alibi. The author has a gift for suspenseful story-telling. A superb and very satisfying sequel to The Redbreast and Nemesis. Harry's last name is pronounced as two syllables (HO-leh) and is the name of an historic Norwegian town with Viking origins.