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The Leopard by Jo Nesbo

The Leopard”  is the sequel to Norwegian author, Jo Nesbo’s psychological thriller, “The Snowman.”  “The Leopard” is equally gruesome in the way murders are committed and equally suspenseful as former detective Harry Hole tries to find a serial killer before he murders everyone who spent an evening in a mountain cabin with him and everyone who gets close enough to the truth to become a threat.

Just when the reader thinks they know who the killer is, the author throws another twist into the plot.  There are also many subplots that create their own sets of intrigue.  Most importantly, Harry and his former colleagues at the Oslo police crime squad are pitted against the national crime fighters of Kripos to see which team can get to the serial killer first.  The internal politics keeps turning from one team to the other all to the detriment of catching the killer.  Only Harry seems completely focused on solving the crime while all his colleagues and political enemies spend their time posturing and trying to outdo each other.

There is also a personal subtext to this complex thriller.  Harry has his own demons to fight.  The book starts out with one of his crime squad coworkers finding him in a drunken and doped up state in Hong Kong.  He has never forgotten what the Snowman did to break up his family and to unsettle his own psyche.  He suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome among other problems.  He never is able to go cold turkey on his addictions and they serve to hinder his investigations as well as his personal life and threaten his career.  In the end, Harry must go back to Asia to try to find himself.

This book took some patience to get through.  There is such a complicated plot that it was easy to get confused, but in the end it turned out just as it should considering the personalities and weaknesses of the characters.

This book is not for mystery fans with weak stomachs.  The death scenes are horrific.  Those who enjoy sophisticated and complex psychological thrillers and Police procedurals and can stand gruesome murder scenes will love “The Leopard“.

Liz Nichols



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