First things first, I love the Harry Hole series. I love Harry. I love Beate. I love the mysteries and the stuff between the cops that continues from book to book. It’s all just great fun to read. I am a fan. So it pains me to say that there was something off about this book.

The characters are fine. The mystery is fine. There was something about the writing that bothered me. It was very cinematic in the chapter endings and beginnings. At the end of a chapter someone would be doing or saying something, and then the beginning of the next chapter someone would be doing or saying something that seemed to be in response (or continuation) to the person at the end of the previous chapter but it wasn’t. (It reminded me of how they do that in Archer or Frisky Dingo.) The only problem is that that really works well visually, like on a TV show or movie, but when you’re reading it’s a real pain in the ass, because you’ve read two pages thinking that the character (who will not have been named at the beginning of the chapter the author just uses pronouns) is someone else, and then on the next page the name is given and then you’re all, “Oh, I thought this was Harry, it’s the murderer?” Then you have to go back and read the last eight paragraphs again to get back into the story.

There is probably a name for this switcheroo, and if it’s done well, then I’m sure I wouldn’t have even noticed. Plus, I don’t think that is something that should be done with every chapter because then it’s just gimmicky. And honestly I don’t remember this being a thing in the previous Hole books, so maybe it was in the other books and was done in such a way that I didn’t even notice. This one I noticed. So at the start of every new chapter I was pulled out of the book and had a bad attitude about it, and I would skim ahead until I found a proper name.

The mystery in this book centered around the Salvation Army, which apparently is huge in Norway. I’ll not discuss the mystery because I don’t want to give away any spoilers because it too is heavy on the switcheroos.

I would consider this book the weakest of the Hole series (so far, anyway) it’s just too confusing for too much of the time. Challenge the reader? Yes. Confound the reader? Do it. Confuse the reader? There better be a good reason for it. Because the central mystery is good enough, I don’t need to add figure-out-who-is-stirring-the-cup-of-coffee to my readerly tasks.


Tags: , ,

No Comments

%d bloggers like this: