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The Devil's Star

(Harry Hole #5)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  58,469 ratings  ·  2,546 reviews
A young woman is murdered in her Oslo flat. One finger has been severed from her left hand, and behind her eyelid is secreted a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star - a pentagram, the devil's star.

Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case with his long-time adversary Tom Waaler and initially wants no part in it. But Harry is already on notice to quit the
Hardcover, 452 pages
Published March 9th 2010 by Harper (first published January 1st 2003)
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Dimitris Graikopoulos If you want to know the full story behind Tom Waller, you HAVE to read the 2 previous books
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Dimitris Graikopoulos
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  58,469 ratings  ·  2,546 reviews

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I enjoyed The Devil’s Star and in general I enjoy Nesbo.

However . . . he has this tendency to suddenly kinda stray from the story and go into what feel like stream of consciousness rambles that only kinda make sense in context to the book. In these rambles, he will suddenly get excessively specific – using terms for things the average person is not likely to use in daily conversation. Also, during these side rants, he tends to add explicit sexual content. Others may not find this odd or may not
Jeffrey Keeten
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nordic-noir
”Harry had felt the gnawing ache for alcohol from the moment he woke up that morning. First as an instinctive physical craving, then as a panic-stricken fear because he had put a distance between himself and his medicine by not taking his hip flask or any money with him to work. Now the ache was entering a new phase in which it was both a wholly physical pain and a feeling of blank terror that he would be torn to pieces. The enemy below was pulling and tugging at the chains, the dogs were snarli ...more
Oct 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While a huge chunk of the planet has made Stieg Larrsson the new J.K. Rowling I have been attending a different church, The House of Jo Nesbo.

Harry Hole is Nesbo's man. He's a loner, he drinks, he's prickly, he doesn't like authority and cannot successfully sustain a romantic relationship. In other words he has all the attributes of the cliche copper according to detective fiction. What makes him different? Jo Nesbo. In another writer's hands Harry would be the any one of a thousand detectives
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Devil’s Star is a demonstration of a talented writer hitting his stride and making it look easy.

Nesbo’s creation of Harry Hole, a brilliant investigator but also an alcoholic and a difficult team member, made him a writer to watch and invited comparisons with his wildly successful fellow Scandinavian writer Stieg Larsson. Oslo’s sullen and damaged detective is drawn in classic noir style and exhibits a representative example of the Nordic noir genre: “dark storylines and bleak urban settings
James Thane
This is another excellent, complex thriller from Jo Nesbo, featuring his tormented protagonist, Oslo homicide detective Harry Hole. This story continues a number of developments that were set into motion in the last Hole novel, Nemesis, when someone close to Harry was murdered. Harry knows who the killer is but cannot produce the evidence to make the case and it appears that the killer is going to go unpunished.

The effect on Harry is brutal. As the book opens, he has descended into an alcoholic
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In this 5th book in the 'Harry Hole' series, the Norwegian detective is chasing a nefarious serial killer. The book can be read as a standalone but knowledge of the characters is a bonus.


A serial killer is murdering people around Oslo, taking a finger from each body and leaving a star-shaped diamond. Detective Harry Hole is assigned to work the case with a colleague he despises, Detective Tom Waaler.

Harry is convinced Waaler is a dirty cop who murdered Harry's former partner, but he can't
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 11, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Excuse me while I put on a helmet and some body armor...see some of my friends here really like this book and this series, and some were apparently waiting to see what I was going to say.

Well, I wasn't overly thrilled with it. I mean how can a book about a serial killer leave me so...meah. First there's the protagonist, a worn out guy who does "his own thing no matter what it costs others". (That's a quote from the book.)

He goes along (till the climax of course) with the "go ahead and fire me" a
Edward Lorn
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book couldn't have ended any better. I was hooting and hollering and cheering my ass off. My wife and I were supposed to finish MINDHUNTER tonight, but I got to reading this and forgot all about that.

I don't read Nesbø for the plot. His stories are pretty basic mystery/thriller material, all aside from THE REDBREAST. That one had a wonderfully original plot for a crime novel. I also dug all the bouncing around in time that one did. But that was book three. Now I'm on book five and I've fou
Will Byrnes
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 d ...more
Here's the thing about the recent popularity of Scandinavian writers and if you're a Nordic Thriller aficionado you couldn't care less about the distinction: the novels are depressed, somber, filled with ennui, a lack of humor, with flawed characters if not suffused with a strong tendency towards determinism; in short, whether you're reading Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, or Jo Nesbo you are likely reading Literary Naturalism. If you live in Scandinavia you might consider this par for the cours ...more
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
Bloody hell, Jo Nesbo is a bit good ain't he?

If you've read any of the Harry Hole thrillers before - and if you haven't, why are you still here? Get to it - The Devil's Star is another dollop of what you've already come to expect from this series: gritty, hard-hitting, intelligent, page-turning crime fiction.

For those familiar with the Oslo Sequence, this is where Hole and Waaler's on-going enmity comes to a head - and it's brilliant. Just as blood-thirsty, violent and dramatic as you would ex
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great Harry Hole thriller. The serial killer plot has a lot of red herrings and keeps you guessing till the end. The twists and turns continually keep you speculating and the backdrop of a sweltering summer in Oslo is atmospheric.

It also follows the Tom Waaler subplot and there is a great ending. The places where the bodies appear are also surprising. One thing I will say is it unlikely this book will be made into a movie!
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017reads
This is the first Jo Nesbo book I've read — and it will definitely not be the last.

The Devils Star is a good read with a thoughtful plot and believable characters. Harry Hole, the main character works to solve the mystery of a serial killer. But at the same time he's also dealing with a screwed up personal life and the dark suspicion that his colleagues may be involved in murderous criminal activities of their own.
Nancy Oakes
Jo Nesbø is one of the best writers of Scandinavian crime fiction out there today.

summary, no spoilers:
Set in Oslo, Devil's Star features Detective Harry Hole, whose life started zooming out of control when his friend and fellow detective, Ellen Gjelten was murdered while working a case. Harry has spent much of the time since in an alcoholic stupor, neglecting his work to try to catch Ellen's killer, and putting his personal life in the trash. He knows who murdered Ellen, but proving it is a w
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good murder mystery - would have been better if more concise and focused.

A serial killer seems to be on the loose. It appears to start with a young woman being murdered in her flat. More murders follow - and they are all cruel and brutal, with a finger being severed in each case.

Harry Hole is in a slump - his marriage is in trouble, he has a severe drinking problem and has no interest in the police force. He is assigned the case along with Tom Waaler, whom he has accused of being (at least p
Lewis Weinstein
Harry Hole is a mess ... but you keep rooting for him anyway ... he has great enemies, and he usually prevails ... if not in the current book, then the next ... whatever it is, even if the details are sometimes disgusting, Jo Nesbo has figured out how to keep me turning pages
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Where would we be in detective fiction without these screwups in private life but brilliant investigators otherwise? Harry Hole when he isn’t investigating is seemingly either blotto or on his way to a bar. He’s always close to being fired for any number of reasons and he’s a ballbuster who nearly gives his boss an ulcer. Harry’s my kind of cop.
If this is a typical Jo Nesbø novel, sheesh have I waited too long before reading him. This is crime fiction at its best. The characters are brilliantly
I might have waited a little too long to review this book because my memory is coming up fogged out. Let’s see if we can jump start the ol’ noggin:

Harry Hole…booze…screwed up love life…murder...

Okay, I for sure did like this read. I think I liked it even more than the previous books in the series which seems to be the trend with this author’s work. The further down the rabbit hole I fall the more I like the scenery as it passes. It pulls me in and holds my attention to the very end and I am
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so enjoying this series and Harry Hole is fast becoming one of my favourite heroes. In this book he is at a very low point in his life, an alcoholic and very close to losing his job and his girlfriend. However he is so smart he can still solve the most intricate crime and bring home the baddy. In fact the baddy is so bad that his rather horrific end is quite pleasurable! If you have not read a Harry Hole book yet then you must but don't start with this one as you really need to know his bac ...more
Alex Cantone
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, read-2019, noir
Harry continued talking, interrupted by the excited voices of the others, as the sun arced high across the pale, scorched summer sky above the small white sails of boats making drowsy, half-hearted attempts to find their way back to land. In Bjørvika at the raised intersection known popularly as the Traffic Machine, a carrier bag floated on the warm air currents above the roads, which wound in and out of one another like entangled vipers in a nest…

In the fifth Harry Hole thriller, the Oslo detec
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detective Harry Hole is cajoled into accepting a case working with a hated partner. The investigation points to a serial killer with specific methods, but seemingly no motive. Hole's personal life and demons always complicate matters. Set during a very hot Oslo summer, this suspenseful thriller doesn't disappoint. The author writes the best Nordic Crime Novels in my humble opinion.
David Schaafsma
The Devil's Star is probably the best written of the Jo Nesbo's mystery thriller series starring Harry Hole I've read so far. As I have said, for no particular reason I seem to be alternating these Nesbo mysteries with the widly contrasting Agatha Christie series featuring the elderly (Miss) Jane Marple. The contrast, as you might imagine, is jarring, and calls forth the most obvious kinds of commentary about the literary and cultural differences in the fifty years between the time that the Marp ...more
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ouch, that was brutal (but that's the point, right)? First, if you don't know Harry Hole, do NOT start with this one. (Whether you try to read them in the order they were released in the US or in Europe - which, alas, is completely different - that's another story - but don't start with this one, which, arguably, is # 3 (US) or # 5 (Europe), but I can't confirm any of that). In any event, the whole cast (colleagues, friends, lovers, and those who are good, evil, and everything in between) is bac ...more
Cathy DuPont
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Yahoo! Another of the dynamite, curious, loner Harry Hole book finished. My friend Harry R. said I have to read him, Jo Nesbo and his character, Harry Hole.

I did not think, seriously, didn't think I would like Harry Hole. Put me in the Caribbean, the South Seas, Hawaii, anywhere there is beach and palm trees and I'm happy. But cold, dreary weather, not so happy. Hole is in Oslo, Norway! Where it's a heat wave at 77 degrees F.

But after reading Harry R.'s first review, I thought...ok, Harry, my f
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Brisk, dark, suspenseful to the end.
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Norwegian author Jo Nesbø made a big splash now after Stieg Larsson successful "Millenium trilogy" became publishing phenomenon - since Larsson is sadly deceased,attention focused on another writer from the north of Europe and Nesbø is advertised as "new Stieg Larsson". Well,not exactly.

Apparently Nesbø already wrote a whole series of successful crimi novels so this is just one of them,however this was my first introduction to his writing and I must say that I find them incredibly slow and suffe
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like Ian Rankin's Rebus books
This series continues to get better. A mix of genuine thriller and police procedural, this one interweaves the main plot of a serial killer in Oslo during a brutally hot Norwegian summer, and Harry Hole's spiralling personal life, as well as his vendetta against his nemesis and rising star of the police department. Clever, well-paced and with some genuine thrills. Highly recommended.
Ivana Books Are Magic
This was my first novel by Jo Nesbo but I think is safe to say that it won't be my last. I must say, I took to Nesbo's style of writing like duck to water. I felt an instant connection with the story. Very quickly into the novel, I felt transported into this world of his creation and more than willing to play the guessing game. For what makes crime novels so delicious if not the way they make our mind try to put the pieces together?

I really liked the protagonist of this novel, the drinking detec
Tanja Berg
Rating 3.4* out of 5. I really enjoyed this, to my huge surprise. The only thing that truly bothered me was how Nesbø confused the concept of sociopath and psychopath. In this book the sociopath is the "wrong" type of serial killer - the clever and well-adjusted one. When I studied psychology, the sociopath was the petty criminal, not adjusted to society, with a long criminal record. But oh well. I got over this misstep.

A theater producer calls the police in desperation - his wife has disappear
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Jo Nesbø is a bestselling Norwegian author and musician. He was born in Oslo and grew up in Molde. Nesbø graduated from the Norwegian School of Economics with a degree in economics. Nesbø is primarily famous for his crime novels about Detective Harry Hole, but he is also the main vocals and songwriter for the Norwegian rock band Di Derre. In 2007 Nesbø also released his first children's book, Dokt ...more

Other books in the series

Harry Hole (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Flaggermusmannen (Harry Hole, #1)
  • Cockroaches (Harry Hole, #2)
  • The Redbreast (Harry Hole, #3)
  • Nemesis (Harry Hole, #4)
  • The Redeemer (Harry Hole, #6)
  • The Snowman (Harry Hole, #7)
  • The Leopard (Harry Hole, #8)
  • Phantom (Harry Hole, #9)
  • Police (Harry Hole, #10)
  • The Thirst (Harry Hole, #11)

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