THE MARK OF THE DEVIL, THE SIGN OF A KILLER...
A young woman is murdered in her flat and a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star is found behind her eyelid. Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case, alongside his long-time adversary Tom Waaler and initially wants no part in it.
But Harry is already on his final warning and has little alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor when it becomes apparent that Oslo has a serial killer on its hands.
First look at the title and the cover and a reader cannot decipher the major expression on the face of the young man. To an extent there's fear but by and large it's not the exact interpretation of the book or the story. The title is more a religious hoola-hoop but keeps the sanctity of the story alive with a precise blurb. The blurb leaves out nothing for the readers to delve into but enough to keep the hope of light on.
The story is set in Oslo where murders in different parts of the town have caused havoc. For police it's more than a headache as it's vacation time. Tom Waaler, the best of the cops is assigned to catch the killer. But tagged along with him is the super hero of the Sydney adventure i.e Harry Hole. Drunk and wasted and probably on the last warning it's make and a break situation for Harry. But he wants nothing of it. So how will Waaler and others convince him to take up the mantle one last time? How good will his rapport be with his adversary Waaler? What's in store for Oslo and who's behind this devilish pursuit. What's the story all about?
The story in simple words is exaggeration and test of patience of the readers. From the word go it expands into past, present and the future and feeds on the worst fears of the reader. Its a blend of at par brilliance of crime plus nocturnal follow ups of the police with no leads. The story will itself lead you to dead ends and bring you back to start all over again. The onerous power to capture the killer and the personal lives and animosities at stake it offers a lot of hidden secrets too. It comes with a baggage of suspense and drama but magnificent deliverance.
The downside of the book is pretty much distorted connection of Harry's past to the present. It's more of an eye sore and fails to match the wavelength of the crime. It fails to sort out the exact purpose of the presence and never gathers any momentum. It's a tedious repetition of Harry's failed life which lets the story to stray in various directions.
All in all keep aside the personal belongings there's nothing private in the story. The only agenda is killer and the cops. But it's no easy game and the game is played blind on instincts and helplessness of the victims. At random its the best narration and with specific it becomes tedious and complicated. But there's things for everyone which never lets down anyone till the end. It's one book which will slowly wither away the mind but keep you on course to the end. It's a twisted mystery thriller.
4 OUT OF 5