A densely plotted thriller that doesn’t disappoint, Police is the tenth book by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo to feature Inspector Harry Hole. I’m an admitted fan of the series, and I just loved this book. There are plots and sub-plots that twist and turn throughout the book, frights, heartbreaking deaths amid some unexpected happiness, new and memorable characters and the return of familiar faces who have become like family.
Expertly weaving all the disparate threads of story together, Nesbo is the master of deception, keeping the reader guessing until the end as to who has done what, and to who. Although I’ve read all the Harry books except one, and have seen this all before thank you very much, I was just floored once the moment arrived for the pieces to start fitting together. As a veteran of the series and confident I understood the author’s tricks, at the one-third mark of the book I wrote a note to myself, “The killer is ____.”
How wrong I was.
But … but! I didn’t know I was wrong until the very end. At every turn my theory held up … until it didn’t. That’s how good Mr. Nesbo is.
Nesbo is also the first author I can recall since Stephen King’s The Shining to truly frighten me with his prose. He creates wonderfully descriptive scenes, but it isn’t just his inventive and often gory death scenes — Nesbo creates menace and tension in often the most mundane and innocuous settings.
As noted, I’ve read nearly all of the Harry books, but Police must rank atop the list as Nesbo’s finest. Having said that I can honestly say I don’t see how anyone can pick it up as their first read in the series and get quite the same reaction as a long-time fan. There are call-backs to the earliest books, the flowering of plot seeds planted in the previous three or four novels, and — happiest of all for series fans — some important things left dangling so we know Harry must return again.
Although I’d encourage readers to enjoy all of the Harry Hole books, which are now finally all available in the United States, to have an appreciation for how good Police is I recommend at least starting with The Snowman and working forward from there.
Note: I don’t normally spend a lot of time on reviews of traditionally published works, preferring to concentrate my efforts on the Independent Author ranks I am proud to be a part of.