Crime thriller ‘The Thirst’ keeps readers guessing


“The Thirst” (Alfred A. Knopf), Jo Nesbo

It all starts with a Tinder date in a bar appropriately called Jealousy and ends with death on an ice-covered fjord.  In between, “The Thirst,” the latest Harry Hole crime thriller by Jo Nesbo, is filled with horrific murder scenes intensely detailed enough to chill the blood in your veins.

The women of Oslo, Norway, are being killed by what appears to be a vampire — the perpetrator is drinking their blood — and Hole, now sober and lecturing at the Police College, is drawn into active duty to run a parallel investigation.

Nesbo’s cast of characters is filled with potential suspects, careerist cops and Hole’s family and friends.  They include his wife Rakel, who is suffering headaches, and her son Oleg, who is attending the Police College; a tabloid reporter, Mona Daa, and a policeman who is leaking details to her from the investigation; a criminal forensics expert, Bjorn, and the lead detective on the case; and Katrina, who recently split up with him, as well as a police chief with suspect motivations.

It’s frightening enough with a killer on the loose, but in “The Thirst,” even the good guys have secrets.  Hole struggles to keep control of his fragile mental state and his drinking as the killer exsanguinates his victims — and Harry even comes face-to-face with the murderer but is forced to let him go.

The story is filled with enough side plots — a victimized child, a sick wife and a convicted murderer — to keep readers guessing about the serial killer’s identity and to keep Hole obsessed and afraid for his own family.

“The Thirst” begins with the brutal killer sinking rusty metal teeth into a victim’s neck, and with that gruesome murder, you’ll want to sink your teeth into “The Thirst” and not let go. (AP)