And now, to no one's surprise, I'm going back to read the five Harry Hole books I didn't read. Starting at book five likely wasn't the best decision, since I was fairly "meh" after reading it, but I found that I missed the character, so I'm going back to read the books I had missed.
This is book 2 of the Harry Hole (hō-lay? hol-lee? hōl!) series. Again, Harry is on the other side of the world. Again, he is solving an odd murder. Again, there are so many twists and turns and what the hell, I am so confused moments, that, yes, I enjoyed the book (minus the murder and the brutality parts).
The book takes place mostly in Thailand. There are a number of actions that Harry does that are referred to in passing in later books that I'm glad I read this book. I suspect I missed a lot of other references, having no context for them when I read the later books.
As with the Harry Dresden and Harry Potter books, I recommend this Harry series if you like Scandinavian crime mysteries and can stand gruesome descriptions and horrific acts. I tended to skip over the dark parts, without loss of continuity.