Review: The Devil’s Star

The Devil's Star Book Cover

The Devil’s Star
By Jo Nesbo
HarperCollins
March 2010
452pp

The Short of It:

A gripping police procedural with one of the best detective personalities I’ve encountered in years.

The Rest of It:

The Devil’s Star is a perfect example of why I adore Scandinavian crime fiction.

Detective Harry Hole is what’d you call, a functioning alcoholic. He’s lost his girlfriend and spends his waking hours stumbling through his cases, drinking in bars and smoking cigarettes like they’re going out of style. He’s incredibly flawed, but good at what he does so his superiors often look to him for input, even though physically he is falling apart. Time is running out for old Harry though because his boss just can’t cover for him anymore and he’s just stepped into a very high-profile case involving a serial killer with a penchant for pentagrams and red diamonds in the shape of a star.

This is my first experience with Jo Nesbo and I must say, I have fallen in love. From the moment I opened this book, I was completely pulled into the story and could not put it down. The writing is crisp and the tension between the characters is so flawlessly executed, that you find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat, just waiting for one of them to pick-up on it themselves. The dialogue is smartly written and has that sophisticated, snappy quality that I find in Scandinavian novels. I won’t compare Nesbo’s writing to Larsson, as they each have their own, distinct style, but their books both possess that shrewdness that I’ve come to love.

You don’t have to be a lover of crime fiction to enjoy The Devil’s Star so if you aren’t, I encourage you to try it anyway. It has a great story, well-developed characters and writing that will force you to read it in one sitting. Apparently, Nesbo has written other books featuring Detective Harry Hole. One of which (The Snowman) makes its US debut in May 2011. I can’t wait!

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.

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18 Responses

  1. Wow! This book sounds awesome! I’d heard some fab things about The Snowman, which made me want to pick that one up, After reading your post, I definitely want to give Nesbo a chance. Plus, for some reason I love that name, Nesbo.

  2. Jeez, so many detectives are “functioning alcoholics” – makes you wonder! But okay fine, I have to read this!

  3. Is this one of the authors that Mikel Bolmkvist mentions in Tattoo (since he reads a lot of crime fiction, I noticed he mentioned a lot of authors too, I want to go back and write them all down).

    I adore those no-nonsesne, non-fluffy Swedish characters too. I’m definitely picking this up.

  4. Aren’t like a large majority of detectives functioning alcoholics? Isn’t it some kind of statistic? Well, I love crime fiction, and I love flawed anti-heroes, and I’ve heard just about enough of this book to chase it down. I’m off to search!

  5. I’ve heard a couple people say they think Nesbo is the best Scandinavian crime fiction author out there. Glad to see you love this book!

  6. Oh….sounds good. I’ll have to keep an eye out for this one.

  7. I did put Snowman on my wishlist when I first read about it, but now I must add this one. Sounds like one I would enjoy. Thanks for the great review.

  8. I love these kind of books!! It makes it even better that you think the characters are great! This is definitely going on my wishlist =)

  9. I scrolled through your review and just read the Short of It!! I’m just starting this one and so far I like Harry!! Can’t wait to see how I feel at the end. This is my first (virgin :D ) Scandinavian book ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. I loved this book and you are right, Nesbo has a really cool website. The fact that I know that says a lot, I never go to an author’s website unless I really dig them!

  11. [...] 8. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery 9. The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher 10. The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbo 11. Pit Stops by Michelle Sathe 12. The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sarah [...]

  12. [...] many of you know, I am a Nesbo fan and have been since The Devil’s Star. His Harry Hole books have been a very entertaining diversion for many a dull work day, but I could [...]

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