Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett
The Snowman is the 7th book in the Harry Hole series, but as the first two books haven’t been translated into English yet, it is the 5th available in the UK. I have been told that it is the best book in the series and that it is not necessary to read them in order. I can’t comment on the first statement, but I pretty sure the second one isn’t true.
The book follows Harry Hole, a detective skilled in tracking down serial killers. Harry has an international reputation, but hasn’t had to find a murderer on his own turf before. All this changes when women in Oslo start disappearing. At first the only link between the victims is that a snowman is found at each crime scene, but as the investigation continues everything becomes much more complicated.
The Snowman is a well paced thriller with plenty of twists and turns. It has been compared to Steig Larsson’s trilogy, but apart from the fact both authors are Scandinavian, there are few similarities. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is slow, with an extraordinary amount of detail and a dark, depth. The Snowman is much easier to read and has a faster pace, but it didn’t have the disturbing scenes that were present in the Larsson trilogy. The Snowman isn’t without its scary moments – it did contain a few chilling scenes and I don’t think I’ll ever look at snowmen in the same light again!
My only regret is that I didn’t read the rest of the series first. I can’t be sure as I haven’t read any of Nesbo’s other books, but I think I now know some major spoilers for the earlier books. I also found that these references to previous books meant that some sections made little sense to me, a person starting the series at book seven. It didn’t affect my understanding of The Snowman, but many references to earlier cases went over the top of my head.
The Snowman is an enjoyable crime thriller with an impressive plot, but I wasn’t bowled over by it. I didn’t guess the killer, but I didn’t feel a sense of amazement when all was revealed. An entertaining read, but not one which is going to become a classic.
Have you read any of Jo Nesbo’s books?
Which one do you think is the best?
Would I find the plot in any of the earlier books more impressive?