The Leopard

Jo Nesbo, Don Bartlett (trs.)

The Leopard

In the depths of winter, a killer stalks the city streets. His victims are two young women, both found with twenty-four inexplicable puncture wounds, both drowned in their own blood. The crime scenes offer no clues, the media is reaching fever pitch, and the police are running out of options. There is only one man who can help them, and he doesn’t want to be found. Deeply traumatised by The Snowman investigation, which threatened the lives of those he holds most dear, Inspector Harry Hole has lost himself in the squalor of Hong Kong’s opium dens. But with his father seriously ill in hospital, Harry reluctantly agrees to return to Oslo. He has no intention of working on the case, but his instinct takes over when a third victim is found brutally murdered in a city park. The victims appear completely unconnected to one another, but it’s not long before Harry makes a discovery: the women all spent the night in an isolated mountain hostel. And someone is picking off the guests one by one. 3.1 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
The Leopard

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre Crime, Thrillers & Mystery
Format Hardback
Pages 624
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication January 2011
ISBN 978-1846554001
Publisher Harvill Secker
 

In the depths of winter, a killer stalks the city streets. His victims are two young women, both found with twenty-four inexplicable puncture wounds, both drowned in their own blood. The crime scenes offer no clues, the media is reaching fever pitch, and the police are running out of options. There is only one man who can help them, and he doesn’t want to be found. Deeply traumatised by The Snowman investigation, which threatened the lives of those he holds most dear, Inspector Harry Hole has lost himself in the squalor of Hong Kong’s opium dens. But with his father seriously ill in hospital, Harry reluctantly agrees to return to Oslo. He has no intention of working on the case, but his instinct takes over when a third victim is found brutally murdered in a city park. The victims appear completely unconnected to one another, but it’s not long before Harry makes a discovery: the women all spent the night in an isolated mountain hostel. And someone is picking off the guests one by one.

Read The Omnivore's roundup for The Snowman

Reviews

The Guardian

Laura Wilson

...Nesbø deploys all the key ingredients of a cracking good thriller with expertise and verve. The ticking clock, the tension expertly racheted ever upwards, the changing scenery, the constantly shifting goalposts and his effortless, triumphant outpacing of the reader's ability to guess what's going to happen will keep you gripped to the last page. Suspend disbelief, immerse yourself and enjoy the ride.

22/01/2011

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The Independent

Paul Binding

The Leopard's unflagging narrative tension, breathtaking surprises and many confrontations with half-suspected treachery (well served by translator Don Bartlett's ear for dialogue) are superb. But Hole's too-numerous physical endurance tests, his breakneck excursions abroad (to the war-beset Rwanda-Congo frontier), fail to satisfy because they so obviously belong to bestsellerdom, despite (maybe because of) the extraordinarily intricate plotting that has arranged them.

14/01/2011

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The Literary Review

Jessica Mann

Though Nesbo writes beautifully, a repeatedly deferred conclusion, stretching the story out to 624 pages, was too much for me.

01/12/2010

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The Times

Marcel Berlins

I have lauded Nesbø often; I’ve described him as the best of the many Scandinavian writers of crime fiction; The Snowman was my favourite read of 2010. So I’m particularly disappointed at The Leopard. That’s not to say that it’s bad. Two thirds of the 611 pages would have made it a terrific novel, with powerful writing, a plot of chilling, gripping grimness, and the hero Oslo cop Harry Hole descending even farther into his emotional maelstrom. Unfortunately, that novel can’t be separated from the rest of the book.

08/01/2011

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The Sunday Times

Joan Smith

The plot of The Leopard is intriguing, and Nesbo’s writing is as taut as ever. But the combination of slow torture and Hole’s nihilism makes the book a distasteful read, crossing a line into almost wanton horror.

07/01/2011

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Times Literary Supplement

Tom Shippey

Why, one has to wonder, are the world’s richest and most generous social democracies generating these fables of consummate evil? One factor, which animates Harry’s struggle against authority, is a conviction that within state bureaucracies those who rise to the top are the ones adept at playing the system, not doing the job. A more peculiarly Scandinavian element is the contradiction between the guilt-free hedonism for which those societies have become famous, and a deeper quasi-Lutheranism, which says sin must be paid for.

17/12/2010

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The Daily Mail

Carla McKay

...Nesbo is in dire need of an editor. At over 600 pages, someone should have stopped him two-thirds of the way through while we were still able to suspend belief. That said, I suspect it won’t prevent this becoming the most over-hyped crime novel of the year.

13/01/2011

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