In Oslo, our hero, the very, very human Inspector Harry Hole, is trying to survive his alcoholism one day at a time, or is that one bottle at a time? But self-medicating against regular nightmares about horrific events in his past cannot kill the pain, or lessen his fears. His career is on the skids and his soul is under constant pressure from a dark-side member of the force. Hole’s obsession with work has alienated the woman he loves. His need to prove that a fellow cop is responsible for the death of his partner may be the only thing keeping him going. But he is, of course, a detecting genius. That comes in handy when women start turning up dead sans a finger, and the hunt is on for a serial killer. A good portion of the fun here is in trying to figure out whodunit along with Harry. Nesbo makes the game interesting, as there’s enough red herring here for a Soviet smorgasbord, with plenty of suspects among which to choose. None are painted too finely, but we get a nice taste of each. And although the story is set in Oslo, it seemed to me that there was not enough local color to make the siting compulsory. Really, it could have been set anywhere. Harry is a very engaging hero, someone you can root for and the crimes are a fun challenge. Enjoy.
ps - This is the fifth in Nesbo's Harry Hole series. But it was the first one for me. It made me want to read the others.