A murder has occurred. The victim is found dead on her bathroom floor and the place is flooded with water and blood. A finger of the victim, Camilla Loen is severed and a star-shaped red diamond is found under her eyelid.
A week later, Lisbeth Barli, a stage actress, is reported missing by her husband. She had gone to the supermarket near their apartment but never came back. The women is never found but her finger with a star-shaped red diamond ring is couriered to the Police investigation office.
Oslo is a busy city and the serial murders make big news. The chief investigator wants to assign this case to the best men in force and chooses Tom Waaler and Harry Hole, who also happen to be two department rivals.
Harry’s friend had been deliberately shot by Waaler in a supposed accident while she was investigating a gun smuggling racket and hence Harry accuses Waaler of aiding the smuggling ring. Harry has his own theory but struggles to prove with facts that Waaler is involved. His failure and loss turns him into an alcoholic and this affects his love life too.
As the mystery behind the serial murders hang in the air, the next murder takes place. This time it’s in the women’s restroom of a lawyer’s office and the red diamond is found in the victim’s ear.
The forensics and other experts race through to present their opinion about the murders but all of these lack one key element- motive. The murdered women do not seem assaulted and do not have anything in common.
When the pieces of the puzzle does not seem to fit, Harry’s tries hard to decipher the clue left behind by the murderer- the five-pointed star aka the devil’s star. Juggling between Harry’s addiction, love life, and Waller’s intervention, the plot travels through unexpected twists and turns.
Jo Nesbo manages to keep the readers on the edge and has nailed the last few chapters. If I could point one thing unenthusiastic about the book, it’d be the length.
This book was originally written in Norwegian, titled Marekors. The English version is translated by Don Bartlett, who has done a very commendable job. The native emotions have been retained and does justice to the story.
The Devil’s Star is the second book in the series of Harry Hole and Tom Waaler after ‘The Redbreast’ and ‘Nemesis’. I’ve not read the first two books but the plot was comprehensible. Looks like this book has a follow up called ‘The Redeemer’. Now, this makes me curious because I guessed The Devil’s star would be the closure!
I read a penguin vintage classic edition with a very cool cover (image above). Do leave your recommendations of the books you are reading this quarantine. Happy reading!
Category: Crime fiction
Recommended age groups: Adults
Content rating: Contains sexual references and murder references. Also contains alcohol usage references, but by the end the protagonist fights his addiction.