Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Phantom by Jo Nesbø
Harry Hole has interrupted his his three-year sojourn in Hong Kong (where he says he resided at Chungking Mansions) to return to Oslo's Hotel Leon. Sporting a facial scar and a titanium finger, Harry is sober and has renewed contacts with Oslo's police force. Oslo has changed and not: there is a beautiful new Opera House but street drugs are still ubiquitous. This has to be one of the best of the series so far—Harry manages to save himself from drug lords using his titanium finger in one instance, and an empty bottle of Kentucky Bourbon in another.
Harry fills out his photo album with pictures of his estranged family that we became familiar with in The Snowman: step-son Oleg now has grown up, but has fallen into drug addiction. Rakel is the same but may be moving on in his absence. His old nemesis at Crepos is making hay without Harry to keep him honest. Everyone is older, wiser, scarred.
It is to get Oleg out of the clink that Harry begins to investigate the death of a young street pusher, and what he finds nearly kills him. Nesbø does a great job with characterization and motivation with this #9 in the series, and leaves this reader wondering if the next fight Harry picks will be his last.
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