Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Book Review: The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Not for the squeamish this one by one of Scandinavia's finest. Indeed, on current form Jo Nesbo is seriously challenging Henning Mankell for the title of Scandinavia's king of crime.

Harry Hole is still battling addiction to alcohol and his addiction to the love of his life Rakel, who can't live with Harry but can't live without him. The book is a subtle shocker that does send shivers down the spine. Nesbo has mastered the wonderful art of shocking without being gory or overtly sensationalist. A great skill which adds to the dark atmosphere of a Norwegian autumn/winter.

There are more twists and turns in The Snowman than there are on a mountain pass, but they never seem contrived and keep you wanting to read just one more page before you go to bed, work, out for the night or whatever you have to do. The glue that holds Nesbo's books together, taking them to a level beyond mere crime stories, is the close observation and portrayal of human emotions and the destruction that can come from the deepest emotions of love.

I was never a great lover of crime books, until I started on Mankell a few years ago. Nesbo has merely taken my addiction to another level. I am desperate to read his newest novel (The Leopard), but don't want to run out of Harry Hole books just yet. Do yourself a favour and read The Snowman, but prepare to be chilled.

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