The Thirst
A Harry Hole Mystery
Jo Nesbo
Knopf 2017
480 pages

How do you bring a famous detective out of retirement? Jo Nesbo faces that conundrum in the eleventh Harry Hole (pronounced Hoo-leh) mystery The Thirst. Jo Nesbo solves the problem the same way many other writers have solved it: by having the famous detective blackmailed into getting back on the job to solve an especially heinous series of murders and having those murder echo something in his past that adds motivation. Overall, it makes for a satisfying read but not one that will convince those unfamiliar with Harry Hole to pick up earlier books in Nesbo’s series. Kindle version: The Thirst: A Harry Hole Novel (Harry Hole Series)

You do not have to be familiar with the Harry Hole novels to enjoy The Thirst as early backstory is not central to the plot. The killer, as modern mystery fashion dictates, is rather creative in his murders. This time, the bad guy uses a set of black metal dentures similar to a bear trap to bite the tender neck of victims he meets on Tinder.

Secondary plot elements have to do with Katrine Bratt, Harry Hole’s replacement on the force, who is also investigating the crime; Truls Berntsen, a lazy cop who has something on the Chief of Police blackmailing Hole back on the job; and Mona Daa, a hard-nosed reporter who may be the killer’s next target.

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo is a little formulaic. This is something that will annoy an English reader looking for something very different in a Norwegian thriller. It does not get in the way of enjoying the book but it is there in the background.