The story is filled with enough side plots — a victimized child, a sick wife and a convicted murderer — to keep readers guessing about the serial killer’s identity and to keep Hole obsessed and afraid for his own family. The Thirst begins with the brutal killer sinking rusty metal teeth into a victim’s neck, and with that gruesome murder, you’ll want to sink your teeth into The Thirst and not let go.
...intricate plotting keeps the story shifting under our feet. Nesbo is a master at this narrative sleight of hand, and if you can stand the gory details and hang on during the switchback turns, the payoff is its own reward.
In his 11th book featuring Hole, Nesbø deepens the already-complex portrait of his antihero ... Wading into dark and deranged territory, Nesbø creates a fine balance between action and tension, with surprises lurking in unexpected corners that provide an edgy and visceral read. He’s a master of structure, style and no-pages-wasted plotting. But Nesbø’s greatest strength as a novelist is the way he places two opposing forces in battle: the perverse criminal and the compulsive detective. In Nesbø’s consistently excellent Hole series, The Thirst may well be the pinnacle.
Hunter and prey are locked in a murderous dance, as Nesbo shifts from Harry's awakening to the unnamed killer awakening, with what seems to be yet another victim in the bed beside him. Against a vivid backdrop of neighborhoods in Oslo and its environs and the 'nanny state' of Norwegian politics, Nesbo offers a rich cast of characters...there are the supremely creepy killers, the chameleon-like 'vampirist' killer and imprisoned septuagenarian Svein Finne, a serial killer known as the Fiance, in a supporting role ... Nesbo deals in terror and expertly amps up the suspense, whether it's a pair of menacing boots appearing under a bathroom stall or a terrified civilian trying to make out a face in the steam in a Turkish bath ...a master of misdirection, casting suspicion in many directions, appearing to place someone in dire peril only to have someone else end up quite dead.
The Thirst may rebalance that popular and critical success. It’s a big-boned, Technicolor epic in the current Nesbø style, starting adagio and ending accelerando, but with the kind of close psychological character readings that distinguished his early work.
...a gripping, way-scary crime novel in which former Oslo police detective Hole, now teaching at Norway’s police college, is called back to active duty to track down a 'vampirist,' that is, a person who craves blood and exhibits behavior similar to that expected of a vampire ... This one will keep readers awake deep into the night.
The Thirst has all the trademarks of classic Nesbo. It is expertly plotted with vividly drawn characters, frenetic police chases and philosophising villains, not to mention the usual bonus add-ons that are part and parcel of Nesbo’s thrillers. Esoteric science, ancient murder lore and indie music play their parts ... But after 11 books Nesbo’s winning formula begins to feel a bit boilerplate, especially the obligatory scenario where storytelling villain fills in the helpless hero during his own drawn-out sacrifice as police verge on the wrong location. Nevertheless, Nesbo entertains in a unique way that makes you feel that you’ve been enriched while trying to solve the case ... This is not the best Harry Hole novel, and the motivations of the villain are far less convincing than those of the police characters, such as Katrine Bratt, who are better realised.
Nesbø, borrowing a page from Jeffery Deaver, piles on so many twists within twists within twists that even the most conscientious readers may end up puzzled about every circumstance of the killings except the pervasive and powerfully evoked evil behind them. Middling for this distinguished series: yet more evidence of why Scandinavian crime writers continue to dominate international bestseller lists.