A serial killer in Oslo has a bizarre agenda. Time after time the murderer lures a cop to the scene of an unsolved crime, then viciously kills him/her in a manner somehow connected to what originally happened there.
Harry Hole is not available to assist the investigation so other members of the crime squad have to pick up the slack as best they can. This includes Harry's former boss Gunnar Hagen - the team leader; Katrine Bratt - a clever, intuitive detective; Beate Lonn - who has a freakish ability to remember every face she's ever seen; and Stale Aune - a psychologist who's determined to give up police work.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of other things going on in this thriller. A cop guarding the hospital room of a comatose patient is too easily distracted by attractive nurses and odd noises. A police academy student becomes infatuated with her professor and determined to seduce him. And Mikael Bellman, the new police chief, is as corrupt as they come and anxious to hide his previous crimes. To stay under the radar Bellman had to suspend his sidekick - the murderous Truls Berntsen - because of an unexplained fat bank account. Ironically Berntsen spends his free time stalking/obsessing over Bellman's beautiful wife. To top it off, the drug dealer Valentin - thought to be dead - seems to be on the loose and is suspected of being the 'cop killer'.
Almost everyone in this book seems to be a potential victim, including people close to the crime squad. This is a gripping story with fascinating characters, gruesome crimes, and surprising twists. Very good book.