Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Sunday Salon - The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

The Sunday

I was in  a reading funk last week.  I picked up four or five books, read a few pages, put them down again. I knew my knee was distracting me, and sorrow, so I waited while I went to work and came back, some reading time lost because I am not taking the bus while my kneee heals.  Finally, I got so impatient on Thursday, I looked around me and thought, what do I want to read?  My eyes lit on The Snowman, the latest Jo Nesbo thriller featuring my love, Harry Hole.  Harry!  I thought. Harry can save me!  And indeed, he did.

For two days I read it, yesterday lost in bliss for most of the afternoon.  The Snowman is chilling, eerie, creepy.  Harry is back to his old self, that is, the self we met in The Redbreast before he went on his drinking binges over the next few books.  He is without his protector and former boss Byarne Moller, who has joined the ranks of the Dead Policeman's Society gracing Harry's wall:  Ellen Gjelten, and Jack Halvorsen, Harry's previous colleagues, and Byarne Moller, all dead over the previous  books in the series. Harry is now alone in his police force, and he knows it.  Even though he has two new colleagues assigned to work with him, he is not liked, although he is respected for his detective work, he is feared because he is that worst of policemen also, an alcoholic who regularly goes on drinking benders.

And yet, be still my heart.  For he is Harry Hole, who has love and loyalty too, to give, and who when he is not drinking, is the keenest detective alive. He makes brilliant leaps of deduction, but can't see what is in front of him until it's almost too late.  He is also clever enough to realize that the plight of the motherless children reminds him of how he felt when his own mother died, which we get to see in this novel.  He may be a lone wolf, but it's not because he doesn't care, it's because he can't find his right home outside of the police work he does.  At the end of the novel, when he is offered what he thinks is a choice, and he accepts.  It means that for the first time, he has realized he has to find more in his life, more to his life.  That seeking justice and the thrill of the hunt are not enough to sustain him any more.  I for one am terribly anxious now to read his next book!  Will he be in North Africa?  What will Harry do next?  If he stays on the force, what next for him?

So, the plot: is it good?  Yes, very. The Snowman is about a series of missing mothers.  All of them are linked by a snow Man built near the house.  The first snow fall of the year.  And yet, the children in the house didn't build the snow man.  When one woman's head is found on a snowman, and another has the missing woman's scarf tied around it, the police realize the cases are linked, and that a serial killer, one of Norway's first, is among them.

Harry is put in charge of the investigating team as he is the only one with experience with the only other serial killer in Norway.  He has also been on a serial killer FBI course in the USA because of this experience.  So he is the logical one to put in charge.   As always, the clues are in the details, and following Harry as he finds each clue and puts them together makes for riveting reading.  This is a very good police procedural.  It's also a very good mystery, even though I had narrowed the possible killers down to two, by 2/3 of the way through the book, this in no way took from the mystery - instead, I kept urging Harry to find the one thing that would confirm what I suspected!    And when he does, it is still almost too late.

This gets 5/5 from me.  Highly recommended, just make sure you have some hours free when you sit down with it, because you really won't want to do anything else but follow Harry as he uncovers the secret behind The Snowman.

Other bloggers and reviews:
Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise


Kerrie said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed THE SNOWMAN Susan. My review (and I also gave it 5) is here

Susan said...

Hi Kerrie: It was such a good read, wasn't it? I knew you'd read it, so I'll link to your post, thanks!

Gavin said...

I'm waiting for this one to arrive at my library!

Cath said...

I've heard such a lot about Jo Nesbo's books and just not got around to them yet. I will!

Susan said...

Gavin: It's good! I hope it arrives soon, before the snow disappears! you won't look at a snowman the same way again for a while.....

Cath: you are new mystery reader, remember?? well, new old one, in that you have come back to mysteries, and you are reading so many now. He is good, though, I thoroughly enjoy these ones.

Amy said...

I have this one on hold at the library so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it!

Life by Candlelight