For fans of Jo Nesbø the novel Knife has been long awaited. It´s the 12th installment in the series starring investigator Harry Hole at the Norwegian police. Following the dramatic ending of the last volume, Knife sees Harry Hole waking up with an insufferable hangover, his hands and clothes covered in blood and no memory of what has happened. Rakel – the only woman he’s ever loved – has left him for good and his personal life is a disaster. Besides, a serial rapist and murderer that Harry arrested years ago, has newly been released from prison and is back on the streets. This time Harry has to come face to face with an old, deadly enemy, but also to deal with his own darkest personal challenge yet. It´s a violent and heartbreaking story.
Knife has all the characteristics, that have made Jo Nesbø an internationally bestselling author. It is long and has a complex and multilayered plot, a great number of characters and an abundance of unexpected twists and turns. As a reader you have to be alert and focus intensely in order to notice and remember all the intricate details and loose ends, that skillfully are pulled together and explained in the end. As usual Jo Nesbø gladly deepens his stories and discuss ethical issues like what it takes to kill a man and how it changes you forever. It´s a demanding book, but the reward is plentiful and you won´t be able to lay it down before the last page.
Nesbø´s lead character has become legendary in the world of crime fiction, an anti-hero that has been fascinating millions of readers. Harry Hole is a brilliant cop with high moral standards and a pronounced sense of justice, but he is also an alcoholic with a lot of personal demons to fight. He hates authorities and always goes his own way, which sometimes make him a danger to himself or to those around him. He is a classic Nordic Noir figure, a stubborn investigator addicted to his work and to justice, but at the same time a fragile human being with a lot of shortcomings. And you cannot help feeling for him.
Knife can absolutely be read as a stand-alone, but I would recommend to start, if not from the beginning, with Redbreast, which is a really really good starting point, or at least with The Snowman, which is one of the most creepy ones in the series. Otherwise Crime Fiction Lover has written A Guide to Harry Hole with resumés of all the parts in the series.