This is a creepy, gripping, upsetting and fabulous crime novel by Nesbo who clearly knows what he is doing in this genre. Book eleven in a series, it is possible to read this book as a stand-alone and thoroughly enjoy it, but the feeling after the final words of the book was a desire to go right to the start and read all ten books that came before The Thirst.
We are introduced to a vast cast of characters who have their own quirks and foibles but seem human and real all at the same time. Harry Hole (pronounced Hoo-leh) is a retired detective working now in the Police Academy with a great reputation within the Oslo Police for finding the killer, sometimes using some rather unorthodox methods. Katrine Bratt is another character who takes a lead role in this book, as the newly minted Detective Inspector who is the lead detective in the investigation into the brutal murder of Elise Hermansen and was part of the team that worked with Hole when he was an active police officer. There are many other characters in this novel; both reoccurring and new that are introduced to the story line with little preamble. All of them weave a story that keeps the reader spellbound.
There is the twist for the reader of knowing exactly who the killer is early in the piece. The real suspense comes from waiting for the police to put the pieces together which takes relatively little time and then the race to capture the culprit before he strikes again. This is a fast paced book, taking little more than a week to go from the first murder to the final scenes, which are hypnotic. They are page turning and impossible to put down.
This is a fantastic book, even for those who do not often read the crime genre. It will keep you rapt from the first page to the end, and each twist comes as a surprise. And the ending clearly hints at another book to come in the series, that this story isn’t quite finished and filed away as tidily as the police department might wish to think. It’s all very exciting and the wait for the next book seems interminable.