I am a huge mystery and crime novel lover. It’s my favorite genre to read. I can’t get enough of mysterious and felonious shenanigans. And within this explosive and oh so popular genre that has been around for decades, are subgenres, and Nordic Noir, or Scandinavian Noir, as others my prefer to refer to it, is just one of many.
I admit, I have never read a Nordic thriller before. My heart belongs to dark Irish crime drama, but I figured it was about time I got my hungry little hands on one and see what all the hoopla was about since it is all the rage right now. The worse thing that could occur, I figured, was that I get depressed over the cold, wintry atmosphere and the bleak, gloomy dispositions of the characters and dour plot, and set the book down, unfinished. But I am happy to say that this wasn’t the case with Norwegian author Jo Nesbo’s moody crime novel.
No spoilers in this review. I hate reading them, especially when caught off guard, so I will never provide any when I share my thoughts on a book.
” The Snowman ” was an interesting read in that I really enjoyed the setting (Oslo and Bergen, Norway) and the characters. Harry Hole (yes, that IS his unfortunate name) is an alcoholic, but heroic Norwegian detective, who lives and works in Oslo. To his credit he has put one serial killer away and in this 7th book in the series, it looks like another may be on the loose. You see, when the first snow falls, a killer snatches a married woman and kills her, leaving in his/her(?) wake, a sinister looking snowman. Now this is enough to give me the heebie jeebies. And some readers, after reading this novel, may become scared of snowmen, like others who are afraid of clowns, thanks to feckin Pennywise from “It”.
So, when a young boy sees the snowman and finds his mom missing, Harry Hole and his team are in to investigate. Soon, Harry thinks there is a link to older cases in which women were murdered in similar ways, and that is when the plot gets rather convoluted and complex.
Jo Nesbo definitely knows how to write. But I found the plot rather unsuspenseful and the pace kind of slow. I didn’t get “wowed” or surprised by twists and turns that pushed up my adrenaline. My heart wasn’t racing, even with the scary snowmen thrown in. It was an adequate and average storyline at best. The villain is truly an evil asshole, and of course, when most of the victims are female in these types of thrillers, misogyny is the main motive for the killings, which are sort of brutal in this book.
That said, I still think “The Snowman,” is a decent read. I recommend this book mainly because of the characters. I liked Harry Hole, (giggle-worthy name set aside), because he is human, flawed, and vulnerable. I expected a super-macho pecker weasel, flaunting his muscles and kutzpah, but Harry is actually a pretty nice guy. The supporting cast is just as interesting, a ball-busting female cop, and an eccentric young hippie-ish dude named, Bjorn……among others.
Since I started late in this series, I think reading Harry Hole # 1, “The Bat” is worth a look. As for other Nordic noir authors, I may have to give them a looksee also, because I can do the cold climate and weird Scandanavien names, I just need better plots, of which I am sure there are better ones too.
3 Snow Flakes out of 5 for ” The Snowman”