Time for binge reading. And add a little more shiver to the winter.

Harry Hole is back and Jo Nesbo’s latest tale is better than ever. The great detective Harry Hole, retired from the Oslo Crime Unit, is living in Holmenkollen with his wife Rakel and her son Oleg, grown up and a junior officer in the police force.

Holmenkollen is beautifully perched high on a hill, about 20 minutes from Oslo. Very different to the places Harry has lived in previously - dingy, depressing, monastic apartments - and he is less tormented, free from his alcoholic demons, lecturing criminology at the university.

It is winter. A Scandinavian winter. There is a killer on the street, attacking women who trawl the social media dating site Tinder.

The first victim is found with her throat slit and the blood drained from her body. The only clues are some paint and flecks of rust. Days later there’s a similar murder.

“Beneath her open mouth she had a new one. A bleeding, gaping hole in her throat where her larynx had been. He was holding her tightly against the living-room wall, and there was a gurgling sound as pink bubbles of blood burst where her severed airway protruded But that wasn’t what fascinated him most right now. It was the fact that he had managed to put a conclusive stop to her insufferable chatter by biting through her vocal cords with his iron teeth.”

Blood-curdling. This is The Thirst, the 11th and possibly most gruesome in the Harry Hole series.

Hole is asked to help out and work with Katrine Bratt, Bjorn Holm and other old favourites or monsters of the police force in the Nesbo novels.

In the previous Police, Rakel and Oleg’s lives were in serious danger, and they narrowly escaped death. And working cases is a danger to Hole’s mental well-being too. But he is semi-blackmailed into joining the team to find this most dark, tech-savvy and academic serial killer.

Aspects of Hole’s life spiral out of control, as in each of the series. The triggers are different, but the end result the same. Emerging from one fugue state, convolutedly gives Hole more insight into solving the case.

Iron teeth. Blood-sucking. Vampires not. Here in The Thirst a new term, a new sociopath emerges - the “vampirist” interwoven with academia (no more spoilers here). The sub-plots and twists don’t disappoint, right to the very end.

Nesbo, after Stieg Larsson, is the master of Nordic Noir. The translation by Neil Smith allows for wider readership, but one almost feels it would be best read in Norwegian.

Lockdown. Don’t turn out the lights. And beware of dating sites.

(R219 on Loot.co.za)