The Snowman by Jo Nesbø
Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2011
Borrowed from my local library.
I discovered Jo Nesbø while search for a mystery/thriller to read as I waited for Henning Mankell books to be published in the US. I don’t usually write about mysteries as there are many great blogs out there that follow the genre but, since I read The Snowman for R.I.P. VI, I thought I should write about why I like this series.
In the middle of a cold, moonlit night a young boy, Jonas wakes up and finds his mother gone. Looking out his window at his yard bathed in eerie light he sees a snowman that mysteriously appeared earlier that day. Around the snowman’s neck is a pink scarf that belongs to his mother.
Harry Hole, contrary police inspector and recovering alcoholic, receives a letter and believes it is connected to the disappearance. An officer new to the Crime Squad, Katrine Bratt, is eager to help Harry make those connections. This is just the beginning of a mystery with many twist and turns, one that had me reading way past my bedtime. In places The Snowman is very, very creepy, reminding me a bit of Silence of the Lambs, so much so that I have a crazy desire to read that book again. It must be R.I.P. season….
The thing that holds me to a mystery series, or any series really, is the characters, with all their flaws and bad behavior, and the way they relate to each other and those around them. If they are well written I will put up with almost anything. Harry is deeply flawed and often behaves very badly, but I care about him and about his friends and colleagues.
I find it interesting that Jo Nesbø’s books are being translated into English out of order, starting with The Redbreast, which is number three in the series. And it ticked me off that number seven, The Snowman, was published in the US before number six , The Redeemer, which is already out in the UK. Oh well, it is all up to the marketing people.
If you like this sort of thing I suggest starting with The Redbreast. Enjoy!