The plot summary at Jo Nesbø official website reads:
“It’s a sweltering summer in Oslo when a young woman is found murdered in her flat. One finger has been cut off, and beneath her eyelid is a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five pointed star. Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case with Tom Waaler – a colleague Harry suspects of running an arms smuggling gang and of having murdered his partner – and initially he refuses to become involved. But he is already on notice to quit the force and is left with no choice but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor and get to work. Five days later, a man reports his wife missing. When her severed finger is found wearing a ring mounted with the same star-shaped red diamond, it seems Oslo has a serial killer on its hands. A riddle of fives: five points to the star, five fingers on the hand, and every fifth day a new victim to be counted. Harry is determined to prove that his hunch about Waaler is right, and he begins to wonder whether his enemy is somehow bound up with the killings. In his pursuit of the truth behind both mysteries, Harry unwittingly finds himself on the run from the police and forced to make difficult decisions about his future as a detective.
The Devil’s Star was awarded with The Finnish Academy of Crime Writers 2007 Special Commendation for Excellence in Foreign Crime Writing.”
Jo Nesbø delivers once again a superb and fascinating book and a rather intricate story. The Devil’s Star, the fifth instalment in his series featuring Harry Hole, is an intelligent and complex reading with a labyrinthine plot made up of different pieces, like in a puzzle, that finally fit together. Very well told, full of action and suspense, and very exciting. It is nicely constructed, provides a totally new vision of a serial killer and explores the darkest aspects of the human condition. The characters are credible and well drawn. And Harry Hole is a troubled but appealing detective. The following lines, on page 517 of my edition, offers a fine summary:
‘Did you know that Duke Ellington used to ask the piano tuners not to tune the piano to perfect pitch?’
‘When a piano is tuned to perfection, its doesn’t sound good. There’s nothing wrong, it just loses some of the warmth, the feeling of genuineness.’
The Devil’s Star is genuine and, fortunately, I still have more books by Jo Nesbø to read in the new year. Frelseren (The Redeemer, 2009); Snømannen (The Snowman, 2010) and Panserhjerte (The Leopard, 2010). All translated by Don Bartlett, who deserves a special mention for his excellent job.
The Devil’s Star has been reviewed by Norman Price at Euro Crime, Karen Chisholm at Euro Crime, Spinetingler, the complete review, Nordic Bookblog, reviewing the evidence, january magazine, Words without Borders, Mysterious Reviews, bookgeeks, Irresistible Targets, The Year in Books: 2010, Golem – Memorias de lecturas (in Spanish)
Additional information at Jo Nesbø official website, Jo Nesbø official UK site, Vintage Books publicity page, Harper Collins publicity page, RBA publicity page (in Spanish).
The Devil’s Star
Original title: Marekors (2003)
Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (2005)
Published by Vintage 2009