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The Thirst: A Harry Hole Novel    by Jo Nesbo order for
by Jo Nesbo
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Thirst follows Police as the eleventh in the superlative Harry Hole mystery series set mainly in Oslo, Norway. And, while Jo Nesbo has always been very hard on his lead (even more so than Michael Connelly, to whose Harry Bosch series this has been compared), he takes it to new levels this time around.

We don't see much of Harry early in the novel. Rather, Detective Inspector Katrine Bratt is front and center (she has just broken her relationship with forensics expert Bjorn Holm). Harry has (amazingly for this individual) achieved a degree of contentment, and even happiness with the love of his life, Rakel. He teaches at the Police Academy, where Rakel's son Oleg is a student. But Harry's old enemy, Mikael Bellman, now Police Chief and ambitious for higher office, forces him back into the work that has so damaged him by threatening Oleg. Bellman wants a new, high profile case closed quickly and Harry has always had a high success rate.

Various plot threads seem distinct - at first. Needy nerd Geir is a regular failure at online dating. Lawyer Elise rejects him in the bar where they meet, and dies soon afterwards - her vampirist killer (who wears cowboy boots and bites with iron teeth) is just getting started. Bar owner Mehmet pays protection money to keep his Jealousy Bar operating. Two subordinates of Katrine's - Truls, a childhood friend of Bellman's who coasts through the job at first; and handsome rookie Anders - hold deep secrets, but who is leaking case details to journalist Mona Daa? Harry's old friend Aune doesn't believe in vampirism, but a fellow psychologist, Hallstein Smith, has made it his life work. And Aune's daughter Aurora hides terror from her father.

Harry sets up his own small investigative team, in parallel with Katrine's, and involves Smith, as these horrific killings continue. But he's distracted when a mysterious illness puts Rakel in a coma, and unable to resist the lure of alcohol once more. Still, he manages to solve the case, even as author Jo Nesbo twists his plot again and again, and escalates the action and suspense to a stunning conclusion. The Thirst is absolutely not to be missed by thriller fans.

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