Like many, I was thoroughly convinced that the events at the end of “the Phantom” would see the end of Harry Hole’s police career.
When this book came along, I was therefore somewhat intrigued as to how the character could be revived. The first few chapters lead a merry dance round the possibility that this book is subsequent to “the Phantom” and that Harry is in a hospital bed under guard. This proves not to be the case and it is the identity of this person which finally roots the chronology.
I had kind of hoped that it would be a novel from an earlier period in his career and I guess I would have been a lot more comfortable with that. Instead of which, I’m treated to a very short description of how he survived the events of the “phantom”. This felt a little clumsy and quite annoying.
The novel itself though… This was excellent. There is a tremendous interplay between Truls (the burner) and Bellman the chief of Police. There are some shocking deaths especially the loss of Beate Lonn (one of my favourite characters), and a whole heap of false turns in the plot. Nothing is wasted and as it goes it is one of the best Hole novels.
These books always read well so I’ll keep reading them but I’m still not sure that surviving his wounds was the best way forward.