Popular Norwegian crime-fiction writer Jo Nesbø has again shown what a perverse and creative imagination can conceive. Thirst, his 11th book featuring detective Harry Hole (pronounced hoo’-leh), finds the gumshoe living a life that appears normal: finally married to Rakel, teaching at the police academy, abstaining from drink. But his two demons — alcohol and an intense need to get into the mind of a killer in order to catch him — are always on the periphery, in his nightmares and his desires.

Hole has left the police force, but his reputation lingers. When an inexplicable and bizarre murder turns into two and then three, Hole can’t resist Detective Katrine Bratt’s urging to join the investigation, or his own dark, insistent need to be part of it.

In the genre of crime fiction, which constantly demands that the author come up with new ways to commit murder, Nesbø is unfailingly imaginative. Thirst’s complex plot includes corruption, warring desires, ambition, duplicity, unrequited love, and redemption. And then there’s the vampirism. Could the dating site Tinder be a date with Death? Could murderer-turned-vampire be a topic for a dissertation? Can Hole succumb to his worst traits without losing all that he’s gained, all that makes him content? As always, Nesbø keeps a grip on the reader’s attention, through a sea of red herrings, detailed character renditions, and many plot threads. In the end, the knot is undone and justice is served.


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