2013 Translation Challenge, Norway, review, Translated

The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbø

devil's star

The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbø, translated by Don Bartlett
This edition: Harper Perennial, 2011
Source: library

Though I recently declared on this blog that I was through with serial killer novels, I quickly made an exception for The Devil’s Star, which is the third book in the Harry Hole series that I’ve read. Thankfully, the serial killer plot is not the only one in this book:  it also involves the end of Harry’s investigation into the murder of his colleague Ellen Gjelten.

Harry and his corrupt colleague Tom Waaler investigate a serial killer who strikes during the heat of summer when the police are very understaffed.  His victims are women who are found with a devil’s star (pentagram) drawn at the crime scene and with red devil’s star diamonds on their bodies.  I think my dislike for the plotline colored my view of the rest of the book, but I will say that Nesbø has an interesting twist on the serial killer story:  he’s a more developed character than in lots of other crime novels I’ve read.

I also appreciate that Nesbø makes Harry’s love interest, Rakel, a more interesting and conflicted character than lot of crime writers do.  Character wise, Nesbø offers lots of interesting tidbits about the police characters and the people Harry meets during the course of the investigation.  It makes the book longer than others, but the pacing felt pretty good to me.

The murder-of-Ellen-Gjelten plot was more interesting than the serial killer plot, but I don’t think it was the strongest out of the three books.  Nesbø does leave some unresolved threads to the story that I expect to see in other books in the series regarding corruption in the police department.  All in all, I’m glad I finished this set of books in the series, but this is not my favorite in the series.  That spot lies with Nemesis.

Other reviews of The Devil’s Star can be found by Jose Ignacio at The Game’s Afoot, Rob at The View from the Blue House and Norman at Eurocrime

I have also reviewed two previous books in the Harry Hole series

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6 thoughts on “The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbø”

  1. Rebecca – I completely agree with you that Nesbø does an effective job of developing strong characters. Like you, I’m really not one at all for the serial-killer motif. But at least Nesbø adds interest to his stories through richness of character.

  2. This is a book that seems to divide even Nesbo fans. I’ve read some reviews by people who clearly don’t like it at all. I think, as you say, the paciness of the plot keeps things moving along.

    1. I’m glad I’m not alone in having mixed feelings about this one. Honestly, I was worried that the serial killer plot was more annoying to me because I have a cold and I’m easily annoyed 🙂

  3. I have, sadly, gotten bored with the book. Can someone just tell me who the serial killer turns out to be? Thanks.

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