Book Review: The Leopard by Jo Nesbø (Audiobook)

7 Jun

Book cover: The LeopardGenre: Crime thriller

Series: Harry Hole #8

Publisher: Random House Audiobooks

Pub date: 10 March 2011

Source: Personal copy

Format: Audiobook

Narrator: Sean Barrett

Length: 19 hours 23 minutes 47 seconds


Harry Hole is burnt out from his previous case, The Snowman. He has packed up and disappeared into the streets and drugs of Hong Kong.

However, back in Oslo, some gruesome murders are coming to light. Two young women, have been killed in the most horrific manner – both with 24 inexplicable puncture wounds in their face and heads. The police haven’t found any clues, and the media is screaming for answers. The police have nothing to go on and Harry Hole is the only man who can track down the monster.


Close on the heels of the huge success of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, a slew of Scandinavian/Nordic murder mysteries have filled the shelves and mystery lovers have been picking them up with glee. Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole series might be marketed as the “next Stieg Larsson”, but to those comparisons, I say pshaw! I am a fan of Larsson and thoroughly enjoyed the Millennium series but I think this comparison does Nesbø a disservice.

The Leopard is an eerie, chilling, most excellent tale of suspense. This is not a short read and the unabridged audiobook runs to 19 hours plus. But the layered plot and the large scope of the story spanning Hong Kong, Norway and Africa need that kind of set up. This was a brilliant read for me and worked pretty well as a standalone. There are plenty of references to The Snowman case, which I think ruined that mystery for me a little bit. I’m reading the rest of the books in this series in no real order.

This is the 8th Harry Hole book, and the 6th to be translated into English, so Hole has already accumulated a lot of baggage – his substance abuse, disdain for rules and authority have got him into trouble. When he reluctantly returns to Oslo to look into the murders and spend time with his father who is ill, he goes head to head with the rival murder unit, Kripos.

Nesbø is a master of suspense, and is not afraid to take his time building the story. In this adventure, Harry is joined by the beautiful and intelligent Kaja Solness. Together, they try to figure out what the victims had in common, what was the murder weapon and why they had been killed.

Of course, the danger that Harry, Kaja and the rest of the team find themselves is part of what makes this story such a nail-biter.

The audiobook: This is such a great production with Sean Barnett as the narrator. His deep gravelly voice is perfect – both for the voice of Harry Hole and the psychopathic killer. His narration keeps the tension keeps building, ratcheting higher and higher.

I have to say the translation was also brilliant – especially with the dialogue and really added to my enjoyment of this book.

I loved The Leopard so much that I immediately bought the famous The Snowmam (review coming soon).

The fact that Jo Nesbø’s books have been compared to Stieg Larsson should tell you that these books are not for the squeamish – there is plenty of blood, gore, sex and bad language in the books. If you are even a little sensitive, these books are not for you.


Highly recommended. Kept me guessing till the end, and I almost didn’t want it to be over. (But of course, I wanted the bad guy caught). I suggest that you do try the audiobook for this series. Both Jo Nesbø and Sean Barrett have found themselves a new fan!

Rating: 4.5*

*See my Rating policy

Find more audiobook reviews and discussion posts at Devourer of Books where Jen is celebrating Audiobook Week.


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4 Responses to “Book Review: The Leopard by Jo Nesbø (Audiobook)”

  1. Jen - Devourer of Books June 7, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    I haven’t read any Jo Nesbo yet, so this might have to be the way I start. I’m a sucker for a gravelly voiced narrator. Is it a problem starting mid-series?

    • stargazerpuj June 7, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

      Starting mid-series – not really a problem. But since I listened to The Leopard before The Snowman, I did get some hints about what happened which I would have preferred not to, But on the whole, not too much of an issue.

  2. Sheila (Book Journey) June 8, 2011 at 3:37 am #

    Oh this one sounds kind of awesome!

    • stargazerpuj June 8, 2011 at 8:51 am #

      It’s not for everyone, but is so awesome if you like intense mysteries (and don’t mind a bit of gore)!

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