The Snowman, by Jo Nesbo
Jo Nesbo - awards (selected)
- The Riverton Prize 1997 for The Bat Man
- The Glass Key Award 1998 for The Bat Man
- The Norwegian Booksellers' Prize 2000, The Redbreast
- Best Norwegian Crime Novel Ever Written in 2004, The Redbreast
- Shortlisted, Duncan Lawrie International Dagger 2007, The Redbreast
- The Norwegian Booksellers' Prize 2007, The Snowman
- The Norwegian Book Club Prize 2008, The Snowman
- Nominated for the Edgar Award 2010 for Nemesis
It is November in Oslo, and the first snow is falling. Winter has arrived. During the night a young boy wakes up to find his mother - Birte Becker - gone. There are wet footprints on the stairs. And outside, in the garden, looms a lonely figure looking at the house: a snowman bathed in cold moonlight, its black eyes glaring up at the bedroom windows. And around its neck is his mother's pink scarf.
The Snowman is the seventh novel (in Norwegian, 6th translated into English) in the excellent and widely acclaimed series about Detective Harry Hole from Oslo, written by Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo (picture below). Harry Hole is tall, athletic, lean, has blonde hair, machine-cropped hair. He is very smart but a bit introvert, does things his own way and doesn’t always communicate well, has some series issues with alcohol, and is not very well liked by colleagues in the Oslo police force. He is their best investigator and their worst public servant (see his CV below).
Detective Inspector Harry Hole has received a strange anonymous letter which did not make much sense to him. It was signed by “The Snowman”. Now he starts to look more closely into it. And when Harry and his team delve into unsolved case files, they discover that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years. There is a previously overlooked pattern in the data: Many married women have gone missing on the day when the first snow falls.
But the police cannot find any traces of Birte Becker, the woman who disappeared from her home; the mother of Jonas and married to Filip, an arrogant professor of physics. However, a few days later the head of another woman is found outside Oslo. It has been placed on the top of a snowman.
It is evident that there is a serial killer on the loose. A killer that has been killing for years. Silently, unnoticed. And a killer that now - for some reason - has wanted to reveal himself to Harry Hole. That wants Harry Hole implicated. And who makes Harry feel that he is being played with. That he has become a pawn in a brutal and deadly game. And Harry is being played with - before the game is over, the killer will drive him to the brink of insanity.
The Snowman was awarded with The Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize in 2007 for Best Novel of the Year. It is a strong, brilliant thriller where the action never stops. I enjoyed it tremendously. The Snowman is a thriller that confirms Jo Nesbo’s position as one of the stars in contemporary crime fiction.
(Based on Snømannen, the Norwegian original of the novel - I have not seen the translation.)
Praise for The Snowman:
”Criminally good. (…) The Snowman is a skillfully written Hole novel, a crime story so well made that you simply cannot put it away. Nesbo is the Picasso of Norwegian crime” Stavanger Aftenblad (Norway)
”A masterfully written crime story.” Verdens Gang (Norway)
”Nesbo .. delivers at such a pace that it whizzes at the turns …” Bergensavisen (Norway)
”Perhaps [The Snowman] is even a notch better than its predecessors … Nobody writes better crime fiction in Scandinavia than Jo Nesbo. It is a pleasure, a pure joy, to let oneself get lost in his writing art. The Snowman is the kind of book that you devour in a greedy gulp, and that stays with you long after you’ve put it away.” Fredriksstad Blad (Norway)
”…[Jo Nesbo is] my latest favorite crime author. He is, in fact, the kind of writer I read for his literary qualities.” Dagens Nyheter (Sweden)
”Jo Nesbo has become a favorite among Swedish crime readers. /…/ Nesbo has a singular ability to maintain the vitality of his story, to surprise and craft genuine characters who lead distinct, individual lives. His writing is a pure pleasure to indulge in.” Dagbladet (Sweden)