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."
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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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great characters, lots of unknowns and twists ,
I read all of Nesbo's Harry Hole series and I didn't like 2 of them as much ( The snowman and the leopard ) but the thirst is perfect. Hopefully there will be more.
Story starts off slow but page by page it becomes a page turner. As usual, imperfect human beings are the protagonists in the Harry Hole series. Their personal struggles give depth to the unfolding story . Wonderful book that lies somewhere between a good crime novel and a course in criminal psychology.
Harry Hole, Norway’s most experienced serial murder detective, is content to no longer serve on the murder squad, instead lecturing at the police college and living happily after marrying Rakel three years ago. Unfortunately, such bliss is interrupted when evidence of a possible murder too difficult to solve leads the police chief to blackmail Harry into joining the hunt. And then he jumps in with both feet. It turns out that the villain in a previous novel in the series, “Police,” may be the sought-after culprit, especially when Harry recognizes the killer’s MO. As the frustrating hunt continues, we learn more about vampirism than, perhaps, we’d like. It appears that the murderer has a taste for drinking the victim’s blood. And Nesbo delves into the subject deeply and often. In this, the llth Harry Hole novel, the author once again demonstrates why the series is so popular: a plot so well-developed that the reader hardly notices the length of the book. And the twist that draws the tale to an end certainly is an added fillip. “The Thirst” demonstrates to what lengths Harry Hole will go to solve a case. Highly recommended.
I'm not the type to need to figure it out first, so reading is pure entertainment and surprise. I've loved every complicated story, random bit of knowledge, and graceless love.
Another superb novel from Jo Nesbo! He skillfully weaves people and snippets of the plot so that one has to be cognizant of each paragraph and its meaning to the whole.
What's, not to love?
Another well-written thriller by Jo Nesbo
Joe Nesbo is a great writer. Love Harry Hole.
Harry Hole is happy. Yes, that is true - he’s retired from the police and now teaching at the police academy. He’s stopped drinking and even married. Is this too good to be true? Well yes - there’s two murders to solve - two women who have been on Tinder dates so straight away Harry gets involved -once he’s been given an offer he can’t refuse. Hole is back on a case and determined to get back to what he’s best at. This is just the start of the weird and unusual which follows him in this case - the deeper he digs, the more secrets to come to the surface. Could it be someone from his past? This is someone he never hoped to see again. The chase is on and the war has only just begun. Nesbo takes Harry to a new level in this book. He’s changed, he’s the same and he’s trying to be better. Yet he’s flawed as we all know. He develops and shows his flaws more in this book and somehow seems even more real. There’s so many threads which tangle and then unravel spinning Harry so fast he can barely see ahead. Vampires even come into the mix -a bloodlust of the most frightening kind. But keep a clear head he must - the book ends in a way that there has to be a very interesting book after this one. Excellent translation - the language is gripping and powerful. Top Nordic thriller this one and Oslo is as dark and chilling as ever!
Amazing, as always!
My first Harry Hole book. Im going back to read the others. I couldn't put it done.
Great twist turner
Famous Oslo detective Harry Hole, retired from the police force, is now a lecturer at the Police College, and he is still edgy. When a seemingly nightmare from the past resurfaces, Harry is asked to rejoin the force to help catch the killer, the one who once escaped Harry’s vigilance, and Harry has never been more determined to catch a murderer, especially this once who is laughing at Harry and has been haunting his dreams for four years. I could kick myself for not having any of Jo Nesbø’s books before! THE THIRST is exactly what I look for in a murder mystery/police procedural. The characters are so well defined that I never felt I had missed anything by not having read the previous books – but I will remedy that overlook as soon as I can! And what a fabulous of cast of characters they are, where no one is perfect and defy all sorts of stereotypes. I must say that one thing that had kept me from reading this series was that Harry Hole is defined as “hard-boiled”, and as I’m very particular about the writing style, that’s often a sore point with me, but Mr. Nesbø is a very fine writer, and the translation does him justice as well. When I read murder mysteries, I usually am very eager to see the investigation progress, in THE THIRST, there is quite a bit on the characters’ personal lives, the interactions within the police department, and the investigation advances at what must be a realistic pace, and yet I didn’t mind one bit. Jo Nesbø possesses such a knack at creating fascinating characters, I was as interested in what was happening in their personal lives as I was in the investigation itself. I felt involved in everyone’s life, and I think it made it better, but then again, it takes a special kind of writer to do that, and Jo Nesbø is that sort of writer. I don’t think I have ever read a murder mystery of any sort whose characters captivated me as much. I was unfortunately unable to read THE THIRST in one sitting, and every time I had to stop reading – life has a nasty habit of interrupting the best books – I couldn’t get wait to go back and read. I would suggest to readers that they try to read the second half uninterrupted, because I don’t know how I would have been able to; it is that exciting. I wonder if there will be a new lead detective in Jo Nesbø’s next book… THE THIRST is the very definition of a gripping, mesmerising, captivating read filled with unexpected plot twists, and the next time Jo Nesbø has a new book out, I will grab it and read it as soon as I can. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.