#1 International Best Seller
In this electrifying new thriller from the author of Police and The Snowman, Inspector Harry Hole hunts down a serial murderer who targets his victims . . . on Tinder.
The murder victim, a self-declared Tinder addict. The one solid clue—fragments of rust and paint in her wounds—leaves the investigating team baffled.
Two days later, there’s a second murder: a woman of the same age, a Tinder user, an eerily similar scene.
The chief of police knows there’s only one man for this case. But Harry Hole is no longer with the force. He promised the woman he loves, and he promised himself, that he’d never go back: not after his last case, which put the people closest to him in grave danger.
But there’s something about these murders that catches his attention, something in the details that the investigators have missed. For Harry, it’s like hearing “the voice of a man he was trying not to remember.” Now, despite his promises, despite everything he risks, Harry throws himself back into the hunt for a figure who haunts him, the monster who got away.
"Exceptional . . . Nesbo depicts a heartbreakingly conflicted Harry, who both wants to forget the horrors he’s trying to prevent and knows he has to remember them in all their grim detail."
He stared into the white nothingness.
The way he had done for almost three years.
No one saw him, and he saw no one. Apart from each time the door opened and enough steam was sucked out for him to be able to glimpse a naked man for a brief moment before the door closed and everything was shrouded in fog.
The baths would be closing soon. He was alone.
He wrapped the white towelling bathrobe more tightly around him, got up from the wooden bench and walked out, past the empty swimming pool and into the changing room.
No trickling showers, no conversations in Turkish, no bare feet padding across the tiled floor. He looked at himself in the mirror. Ran a finger along the scar that was still visible after the last operation. It had taken him time to get used to his new face. His finger carried on down his throat, across his chest, and came to a halt at the start of the tattoo.
He removed the padlock from his locker, pulled on his trousers and put his coat on over the still damp bathrobe. Tied his shoelaces. He made sure he was definitely alone before going over to a locker with a coded padlock, one with a splash of blue paint on it. He turned the lock until it read 0999. Removed the lock and opened the door. Took a moment to admire the big, beautiful revolver that lay inside before taking hold of the red hilt and putting it in his coat pocket. Then he removed the envelope and opened it. A key. An address, and some more detailed information.
There was one more thing in the locker.
Painted black, made of iron.
He held it up against the light with one hand, looking at the wrought ironwork with fascination.
He would have to clean it, scrub it, but he already felt aroused at the thought of using it.
Three years. Three years in a white nothingness, in a desert of empty days.
Now it was time. Time he drank from the well of life again.
Time he returned.
Harry woke with a start. Stared out at the semi-darkness of the bedroom. It was him again, he was back, he was here.
“Nightmare, darling?” The whispered voice by his side was warm and soothing.
He turned towards her. Her brown eyes studied his. And the apparition faded and disappeared.
“I’m here,” Rakel said.
“And here I am,” he said.
“Who was it this time?”
“No one,” he lied, and touched her cheek. “Go back to sleep.”
Harry closed his eyes. Waited until he was sure she had closed hers before opening his again. He studied her face. He had seen him in a forest this time. Moorland, wreathed in white fog that swirled around them. He had raised his hand and pointed something towards Harry. He could just make out the demonic, tattooed face on his naked chest. Then the fog had grown thicker, and he was gone. Gone again.
“And here I am,” Harry Hole whispered.
Elise walked down Thorvald Meyers gate, past plain four-storey buildings that had once housed the working classes in a poor part of a poor city, but where one square metre now cost as much as in London or Stockholm. September in Oslo. The darkness was back at last, and the drawn-out, annoyingly light summer nights were long gone, with all the hysterical, cheerful, stupid self-expression of summer. In September Oslo reverted to its true self: melancholic, reserved, efficient. A solid facade, but not without its dark corners and secrets. Much like her, apparently. She quickened her pace; there was rain in the air, mist, the spray when God sneezed, as one of her dates had put it in an attempt to be poetic. She was going to give up Tinder. Tomorrow. Enough was enough. Enough randy men whose way of looking at her made her feel like a whore when she met them in bars. Enough crazy psychopaths and stalkers who stuck like mud, sucking time, energy and security from her. Enough pathetic losers who made her feel like she was one of them.
They said Internet dating was the cool way to meet new people, that it was nothing to be ashamed of anymore, that everyone was doing it. But that wasn’t true. People met each other at work, in classrooms, through friends, at the gym, in cafes, on planes, buses, trains. They met each other the way they were supposed to meet each other, when they were relaxed, no pressure, and afterwards they could cling to the romantic illusion of innocence, purity and quirks of fate. She wanted that illusion. She was going to delete her profile. She’d told herself that before, but this time it was definitely going to happen, that very night.
She crossed Sofienberggata and fished out the key to unlock the gate next to the greengrocer’s. She pushed the gate open and stepped into the darkness of the archway. And stopped dead.
There were two of them.
It took a moment or two for her eyes to get used to the darkness, and for her to see what they were holding in their hands. Both men had undone their trousers and had their cocks out.
She jerked back. Didn’t look round, just prayed that there was no one standing behind her.
“Fucksorry.” The combination of oath and apology was uttered by a young voice. Nineteen, twenty, Elise guessed. Not sober.
“Duh,” the other one said, “you’re pissing all over my shoes!”
“I was startled!”
Elise pulled her coat more tightly around her and walked past the young men, who had turned back to face the wall again. “This isn’t a public toilet,” she said.
“Sorry, we were desperate. It won’t happen again.”
A match on Tinder.
The triumphant sound your phone makes when someone you’ve already swiped right on swipes your picture right as well.
Elise’s head was spinning, her heart was racing.
She knew it was the familiar response to the sound of Tinder’s matchmaking: increased heart rate as a consequence of excitement. That it released a whole load of happy chemicals that you could become addicted to. But that wasn’t why her heart was galloping. It was because the ping hadn’t come from her phone.
But the ping had rung out at the very moment she’d swiped right on a picture. The picture of a person who, according to Tinder, was less than a kilometre away from her.
She stared at the closed bedroom door. Swallowed.
The sound must have come from one of the neighbouring apartments. There were lots of single people living in the block, lots of potential Tinder users. And everything was quiet now, even on the floor below where the girls had been having a party when she went out earlier that evening. But there was only one way to get rid of imaginary monsters. By checking.
Elise got up from the sofa and walked the four steps over to the bedroom door. Hesitated. A couple of assault cases from work swirled through her head.
Then she pulled herself together and opened the door.
She found herself standing in the doorway gasping for air. Because there wasn’t any. None that she could breathe.
The light above the bed was switched on, and the first thing she saw was the soles of a pair of cowboy boots sticking off the end of the bed. Jeans and a pair of long legs, crossed. The man lying there was like the photograph, half in darkness, half out of focus. But he had unbuttoned his shirt to reveal his bare chest. And on his chest was a drawing or a tattoo of a face. That was what caught her eye now. The silently screaming face. As if it were held tight and was trying to pull free. Elise couldn’t bring herself to scream either.
In The Thirst…teams of investigators are dispatched and the good citizens of Oslo are paralyzed with fear. But much of this melodrama is only a distraction from the intricate plotting that keeps the story shifting under our feet. Nesbo is a master at this narrative sleight of hand, and if you can stand the gory details and hang on during the switchback turns, the payoff is its own reward.The New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
★ 04/10/2017Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Nesbø’s exceptional 11th Harry Hole novel (after 2013’s Police) finds the alcoholic, demon-ridden, occasionally suicidal Oslo police detective in better shape than usual. Harry is “currently a sober lecturer at Police College.” In the past, he often woke up full of angst; now he’s consistently waking up feeling happy. As for his marriage to his great love, Rakel, “If he could have, he would have been more than happy to copy and paste the three years that had passed since the wedding and relive those days over and over again.” Of course, this relatively blissful state can’t last. Harry soon joins the hunt for a serial killer, whose MO—cutting the throats of his victims in vampire fashion—is similar to that of the one killer who escaped him and still invades his dreams. Meanwhile, Rakel slips into a mysterious coma. Nesbø depicts a heartbreakingly conflicted Harry, who both wants to forget the horrors he’s trying to prevent and knows he has to remember them in all their grim detail. Author tour. 100,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Niclas Salomonsson, Salomonsson Agency (Sweden). (May)
★ 05/01/2017Library Journal
Oslo detective Harry Hole has two loves: alcohol and murder. Both have been somewhat controlled since he was transferred to the faculty of the police college. When a young lawyer is killed in her locked apartment by someone wearing iron teeth that tore her throat open, the press and populace are horrified. The ambitious police chief, with political prospects, blackmails Harry into returning to the murder squad. Several more bloody homicides make it clear there is a vampirist at work, but Harry manages to identify and kill him two-thirds of the way through this tale. Unfortunately, it is clear someone had been aiding and controlling the killer and might just replace him with another to taunt Harry "to come out and play." Harry's demons drive his private and professional life, but his unorthodox methods do get results. This 11th entry (after Police) in NesbØ's Scandinoir series features thoroughly developed characters, an intricate plot, and suspenseful twists, all hallmarks of a master storyteller. VERDICT With the film adaptation of NesbØ's The Snowman, starring Michael Fassbender as the iconic Norwegian detective, scheduled for release this October, reader interest is bound to grow. [See Prepub —Roland Person, formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Retired Inspector Harry Hole, who thinks he's safe from his demons as an underpaid lecturer in Oslo's Police College, gets blackmailed into returning to the Crime Squad Unit, with predictably explosive results.Do vampires exist? Maybe not, but vampirists, in academic expert Hallstein Smith's suitably pedantic distinction, certainly do, and one of them is at work in Oslo. After meeting Elise Hermansen, an attorney specializing in rape cases, on Tinder, he's evidently bitten her to death with a formidable set of iron teeth and drunk her blood. Given the remarkable absence of useful forensic evidence and the tenuous connection between the killer and his victim, one-eyed Police Chief Mikael Bellman, eager to burnish his crime-fighting credentials in support of his nomination as Minister of Justice, wants Harry Hole (Police, 2013, etc.) on the case, and he's willing to threaten legal proceedings against Police College student Oleg Fauke, who just happens to be Harry's stepson, to make it happen. Meanwhile, the killer has not been idle. Instead of letting a discreet interval elapse between his outrages, he attacks a second victim, concocts a smoothie from her blood and some lemon, and leaves a signature V on her door. More victims will follow in short order, and the case will continue to grow darker and more complex, even after Harry focuses the Crime Squad's manhunt on Valentin Gjertsen, who escaped from Ila Prison four years ago. In fact, Nesbø, borrowing a page from Jeffery Deaver, piles on so many twists within twists within twists that even the most conscientious readers may end up puzzled about every circumstance of the killings except the pervasive and powerfully evoked evil behind them. Middling for this distinguished series: yet more evidence of why Scandinavian crime writers continue to dominate international bestseller lists.
Praise for The Thirst:
“Jo Nesbø certainly has the magic touch when it comes to psycho serial killers. . . . Intricate plotting keeps the story shifting under our feet. Nesbø is a master at this narrative sleight of hand, and if you can stand the gory details and hang on during the switchback turns, the payoff is its own reward.”
—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"[Nesbø is] the reigning king of Scandinavian crime fiction . . . [The Thirst is] a big-boned, Technicolor epic . . . starting adagio and ending accelerando, but with the kind of close psychological character readings that distinguished his early work."
—Barry Forshaw, The Guardian (London)
“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 is filled with horrific murder scenes intensely detailed enough to chill the blood in your veins. . . . You’ll want to sink your teeth into The Thirst and not let go.”
—Jonathan Elderfield, The Washington Post
"Fast moving . . . stunning."
—Joan Smith, The Times (London)
“Wading into dark and deranged territory . . . an edgy and visceral read. [Nesbø] is a master of structure, style and no-pages wasted plotting. . . . In Nesbø’s consistently excellent Hole series, The Thirst may well be the pinnacle.”
—Eric Swedlund, Paste Quarterly
“Jo Nesbø has ripped the throat out of the serial-killer genre. He’s exsanguinated it, soaking up every dark pleasure and wringing them out onto the page. There’s no need to ever read another one, Nesbø has so completely deconstructed the trope with a multi-dimensional novel that blurs lines among crime, psychological procedural and, yes, horror thrillers. . . . [Hole] survives in a literary landscape dreamt up by Stephen King or Edgar Allen Poe. . . . Brilliant . . . Nesbø shows his true mastery . . . Nesbø’s plots are evocative of James Ellroy and Lee Child with crime layered upon crime.”
—Robert Anglen, Arizona Republic
“Exceptional . . . Nesbø depicts a heartbreakingly conflicted Harry, who both wants to forget the horrors he’s trying to prevent and knows he has to remember them in all their grim detail.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A gripping, way-scary crime novel. . . . This one will keep readers awake deep into the night."
—Bill Ott, Booklist (starred review)
“Explosive . . . twists within twists within twists . . . yet more evidence of why Scandinavian crime writers continue to dominate international bestseller lists.”
“[The Thirst] features thoroughly developed characters, an intricate plot, and suspenseful twists, all hallmarks of a master storyteller.”
—Roland Person, Library Journal (starred review)
Praise for the work of Jo Nesbø:
“Nesbø writes like an angel. As in Lucifer.”From the Publisher
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Nesbø explores the darkest criminal minds with grim delight and puts his killers where you least expect to find them. . . . His novels are maddeningly addictive.”
“Jo Nesbø is my new favorite thriller writer and Harry Hole is my new hero.”
“Nesbø . . . is a giant of the Scandinavian mystery.”
—The Boston Globe
“Crime fiction’s most tortured and compelling hero. Alas, no armor exists strong enough to keep Harry from his demons, or the rest of us from Harry.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“Nesbø’s books have a serious, socially significant heft, as well as a confident (even cocky) narrative stride that is unmatched. These aren’t mere investigatory trifles to be enjoyed and forgotten; their unnerving horrors linger.”
“In the crowded field of Scandinavian crime fiction, Nesbø’s books stand out. . . . Nesbø likes to rip plots up . . . to play with the conventions of his genre.”
—The New Yorker
“Harry Hole is fast becoming one of the planet’s favorite detectives. And his demons are almost as legendary as his observational and analytical skills.”
—The Mirror (UK)
“[Nesbø is] the writer most likely to take the ice-cold crown in the critically acclaimed—and now bestselling—category of Nordic noir.”
—Los Angeles Times