Killing Moon by Jo Nesbo

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on the brand new Harry Hole thriller from Jo Nesbo, Killing Moon. My thanks to publisher Harvill Secker and Graeme Williams for the early copy for review. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy
Release Date: 25th May 2023
Publisher: Harvill Secker

About the Book

This killer will get inside your head.

Two young women are missing. Strangers to each other, but last seen at the same party. When the body of one of them is found with fresh stitches along her hairline the hunt is on to find a murderer with very particular tastes.

Catching this criminal calls for a detective with a very particular mind

Only Harry Hole can stop this ingenious psychopath. But Harry is gone: struck off the force, down and out in LA. It seems like nothing can entice him back to Oslo. Until someone close to him comes under threat.

But there is more to this case than meets the eye and the clock is ticking down to find the other missing girl, before the body count rises.

This killer has got inside Harry’s head. And now he’s coming for YOU.

My Thoughts

It will come as a surprise to literally no-one who follows this blog when I say that this is the first Harry Hole book I have ever read … Yup. Book thirteen is my first venture into Jo Nesbo’s fictional Norway. Unlucky for some, but definitely not for me as I have to say I loved it. Yes, as with all books mid to late series, you have to accept that there will be some spoilers along the way. But did they ‘spoil’ my enjoyment of this book? Not a jot. Did I get the full flavour of Harry Hole as a character? No idea. Did I like what I did see and read. Absolutely. Not going to lie – also felt more than a little nauseous at times, but that had nothing to do with starting at book thirteen and everything to do with the plot of this twisted, dark and completely gripping read.

The book, or at the very least Harry’s involvement in it, sees readers in Los Angeles. For all manner of reasons, that become clear as you read (assuming you haven’t read the preceding books), Harry is wasting his days, and his savings, in a bar when he meets former actress, Lucille, perhaps the only person on the planet capable of making his life even more complicated than it already is. In a bid to get Lucille, and by extension himself out of a really deep and serious hole (no pun intended), Harry soon finds himself back in Oslo, investigating a case the police would rather he wasn’t involved in, in a bid to prove his client’s innocence. Or guilt. Harry doesn’t really care. The truth is his only goal and he gets paid either way.

I really enjoyed this book, stomach churning as it occasionally was, and enjoyed getting to know Harry and the people in his world. Yes, he is, at least in this book, lost in a world of regret and melancholy, his past very much haunting him, but I still liked hims as a character. his dogged pursuit of the truth, no matter what the consequence for his client. It’s a very strange and rag-tag team that he has around him to investigate the case, a dying psychologist, a taxi driver turned drug dealer, and a cop currently on suspension on suspicion of skimming drugs himself, but somehow, against all of the odds, they really do work well together. Add in the police who are at a loss as to who may be behind the disappearance and subsequent murder of two young women, and reporters who are locked in a seeming battle to get the scoop on this most twisted of cases, and the scene is set for a truly attention grabbing case.

The pacing is not the fastest – it feels more cerebral (again no pun intended – those who read the book will understand what I mean) than action based, but I still found myself propelled along, tearing through the pages wanting to get to the bottom of the overwhelming mystery that envelopes every page. Although some of the scenes are told from the point of view of our perpetrator, Prim, we never quite get a handle on who Prim (as we soon learn, only a nickname) really is. There are a number of suspects, people of dubious character and varying degree of enthusiasm and, dare I say, obsession, that we meet over the course of the book, the author doing a grand job of deflecting suspicion from the obvious and making out attention flit from one to the other at a great pace of knots. Perhaps some are too obvious, perhaps not, but there is a good deal of misdirection which keeps the perpetrators identity hidden until just the crucial moment.

This book is, at times, a touch grim, the truth behind what happens and why a little … how should I put this? Unpalatable. Whilst most violence is kept off the page, the intent behind what occurs is quite obvious and by the time we are brought right up to speed with what is happening, I was prepared, if still a little green around the gills. It’s actually a very clever plot, quite inventive and one which made me smile, sort of. Not one I’d perhaps recommend reading around meal times unless you have a strong stomach, but entertaining nonetheless. We see nature at its best, and worst, and see our characters pitted against a very clever and somewhat sociopathic foe. Bizarrely, in spite of all that comes to pass, I did actually feel some sympathy for the bad guy. Not too much, but just a jot of understanding.

It’s a difficult, and thought provoking case. Emotional at times, revelatory at others. But for my first outing with Harry Hole, I really enjoyed it and will definitely be looking to read the rest of the series. I’ll also be looking out for what comes next. That ending has left me very, very, intrigued. Big shout out to translator Sean Kinsella too. A fabulous job done in keeping me entertained, enthralled, sickened and absolutely addicted.

About the Author

Jo Nesbo is one of the world’s bestselling crime writers, with The LeopardPhantomPolice, The Son, The Thirst, Macbeth and Knife all topping the Sunday Times bestseller charts. He’s an international number one bestseller and his books are published in 50 languages, selling over 55 million copies around the world.

When commissioned by a publisher to write a memoir about life on the road with his band, he instead came up with the plot for his first Harry Hole crime novel, The Bat.

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