Edward Hahn, July 12, 2013 (view all comments by Edward Hahn)
A gripping, well written, suspenseful story by Norwegian Jo Nesbø. The book successfully moves back and forth between the past and the present, while chronologically covering 22 days in the investigation of a serial killer known as the Snowman because of his signature of leaving a Snowman near the house of his victims always after the first snow of the winter. Inspector Harry Hole, is the only serial killer expert in the Oslo Police Department and is often accused of wanting murders to be committed by a serial killer so he can use his expertise. Harry is also a recovering alcoholic beset by internal demons and often disappointed by others. In spite of this he is an investigative genius but has few friends and admirers within the police force, especially in the hierarchy.
In this novel, he lurches from one theory to another and identifies a number of people as the Snowman, only to subsequently figure out they are not the right ones. This frustrates, not only Harry, but also others working the case to say nothing of his superiors, who don't trust him anyway. He also has a habit of going off on his own which angers his colleagues and puts him in unnecessary danger. After many false starts he figures it all out but almost too late. Things end somewhat poetically and the stage is set for the next book in the series.
While Nesbø's work does not quite measure up to my favorite Scandinavian author, Swede Henning Mankell, with this book he comes pretty damn close.
dodeco, January 26, 2013 (view all comments by dodeco)
Great book! Great writer! Actually, all of Jo Nesbo's books are very good.
Though it is always the same main character, every story is new and everytime you learn more about him. (In comparison: I got bored really fast by Henning Mankell and his main character Kurt Wallander.)
Best crime novel I read so far!
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by Michael Connelly,
“Jo Nesbø is my new favorite thriller writer and Harry Hole my new hero.”
by Times (UK),
“With Henning Mankell having written his last Wallander novel and Stieg Larsson no longer with us, I have had to make the decision on whom to confer the title of best current Nordic writer of crime fiction. After finishing Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman, I hesitate no longer....This is crime writing of the highest order, in which the characters are as strong as the story, where an atmosphere of evil permeates, and the tension begins in the first chapter and never lets up.”
“The Snowman is a superb thriller — smart, stylish, beautifully paced and meticulously plotted....Nesbø is such an insightful portraitist that Hole and all the secondary characters are convincing at just about every bloody turn....The psychological aspects of the novel are on a par with Ruth Rendell’s inspector Wexford mysteries. Ultimately, though, what sets Nesbø apart is his ability to keep the pages turning with such intellectual dexterity.”
by Sunday Times (UK),
“Every now and then, a truly exceptional crime novel comes along, something so gripping that it recalls classics such as The Silence of the Lambs. Jo Nesbø has pulled it off with The Snowman...[which] establishes him as a writer of rare ingenuity and total confidence.”
“Irresistibly addictive....This is reading as you experienced it in childhood, without any gap between eye and mind, but with the added pleasures that adult plots and adult characters can bring....It is Nesbø’s plots — brilliantly conceived, carefully worked out, and complicatedly satisfying — that finally make [his books] unputdownable.”
by Library Journal (starred),
“Nesbø is being hailed as the next Stieg Larsson or Henning Mankell....Apt comparisons, but they don’t go far enough. This is simply the best detective novel this reviewer has read in years....Nesbø’s latest thriller reads like a symphony, from the thundering first chords that pull the reader into a magical world through the delicately enticing development in which motifs and story strands are woven together leading to a pounding, furious conclusion.”
One night, after the first snowfall of the year, a boy named Jonas wakes up and discovers that his mother has disappeared. Only one trace of her remains: a pink scarf, his Christmas gift to her, now worn by the snowman that inexplicably appeared in their yard earlier that day. Inspector Harry Hole suspects a link between the missing woman and a suspicious letter he’s received. The case deepens when a pattern emerges: over the past decade, eleven women have vanished — all on the day of the first snow. But this is a killer who makes his own rules... and he’ll break his pattern just to keep the game interesting, as he draws Harry ever closer into his twisted web.
With brilliantly realized characters and hair-raising suspense, international bestselling author Jo Nesbø presents his most chilling case yet — one that will test Harry Hole to the very limits of his sanity.
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