The opening of the eleventh entry in the Harry Hole series finds the famed Norwegian detective happily retired from the homicide division and teaching at the police academy. He's clean, sober and recently married, building his relationship with his wife and his stepson. Hard as is may be to believe, Harry Hole is actually happy.
Any fan of the series knows that this can't possibly last long, and Harry fears it as well--he knows that his life is too good to be true. Sure enough, when two women are murdered in a particularly fiendish way after accepting Tinder dates, it's clear that a new serial killer is haunting Oslo. And, of course, Harry Hole has built his reputation on hunting serial killers. No one does it better. But when the Police Chief asks Harry to return to homicide and help track down the killer, Harry refuses, insisting that he will not sink back into that swamp again. The chief, though, brings pressure to bear, effectively making Harry an offer that he cannot refuse, and soon Hole is back on the job, running his own small team in an effort parallel to the main investigation.
The plot thickens when Harry realizes that the person most likely guilty of the crimes is an old nemesis who eluded capture a few years earlier, and soon the chase is one with Harry and his old antagonist battling it out.
The killer is a monster of the first magnitude and this novel flirts with crossing into the realm of the horror genre. Like all of the books in this series, psychological themes are front and center, and the most interesting case study is Harry Hole himself, who remains one of the most complicated and compelling figures in crime fiction. A lot of the earlier cast members are present for this outing, and as always, the tension is thick.
It's very hard to say more about the plot without giving too much away; suffice it to say that the plot is complex and turns in a number of unexpected ways. It's another page-turner from Jo Nesbo that will keep readers up well into the night and scare the living daylights out of a lot of them in the process.