Book Quote:

“Harry could feel the adrenaline rush, the trembling that always came when he got first scent of the brute. And after the rush came the Great Obsession. Which was everything at once: love and intoxication, blindness and clear-sightedness, meaning and madness. Colleagues spoke now and then about excitement, but his was something special.”

Book Review:

Review by Bonnie Brody  (MAY 12, 2011)

Harry Hole is a Norwegian detective especially trained in catching serial killers. He spent some time in Quantico learning these skills but serial killers are very rare in Norway. It just so happens that right now there is a serial killer loose in Norway. He’s been active for over fifteen years and his emblem is a snowman. Whenever he kills someone, he leaves a snowman in their yard. He has been nicknamed “The Snowman” by the Nowegian police force and this has been picked up by the civilian population.

Jo Nesbø has created an unremitting page-tuner in The Snowman. It was hard for me to come up for air. The writing excels, the pace is adrenaline pumping, and the clues take roundabouts throughout the book. The translator, Don Bartlett, is excellent. The writing is smooth, readable, and I would never have guessed that this book had been translated.

Harry Hole, like many police officers, is tortured by demons. He struggles with alcoholism, is still in love with his ex-wife, is the bad boy of his department and is afraid of the dark. At home, his walls are torn down because of a mold problem so he doesn’t even have a comfortable place to rest.

The Snowman is attracted to women with children. He does not target men or single women unless they are getting too close to finding out his identity. Harry Hole gathers a team of four and together they seek out this serial killer who uses a sadistic means to kill his victims. Sometimes he will even behead them and put their head on top of the snowman.

Harry and his team travel from Bergen to Oslo in search of this monster and they keep thinking that they have found him, only to realize that they have been tricked and he is still at large. The Snowman is smart, always one step ahead of them and Harry has a feeling that he is being watched and that the Snowman is someone he knows – someone in his personal or professional circle.

The Snowman doesn’t ever leave any clues. The crime scenes are immaculate, there is no DNA nor are there any fiber traces. The cuts are clean and immaculate. Sometimes, there is not even a body to be found which drives Harry to the brink.

I’ve read many police procedurals and hardcore mysteries but this is the best one I’ve ever read except perhaps for Deon Myer and Lawrence Block. They are special in their own way. There is not one part that lets up interest. Once picked up, the reader is bound to the book like super glue.

I was amazed to learn that Jo Nesbø, author extraordinaire is also a musician, songwriter, and economist. He published his first Harry Hole book in 1997 “and it was an instant hit, winning the Glass Key Award for the best Nordic crime novel (an accolade shared with Henning Mankell and Steig Larson). This is my first Harry Hole novel but it won’t be my last. I just ordered two more and can’t wait to start them. I checked his reviews on Amazon and they are consistently excellent. I am always excited to find a new author and Jo Nesbø is it for me.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-0from 500 readers
PUBLISHER: Knopf (May 10, 2011)
REVIEWER: Bonnie Brody
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read our review of:


Stand-alone Novels:

  • Headhunters (2008)
  • The Son (May 2014)

May 12, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Psychological Suspense, Sleuths Series, y Award Winning Author

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