Book Review: The Snowman

THE SNOWMAN | Jo Nesbø
06.28.2016 (originally 2007) | Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Rating: 5/5 stars

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It’s November in Oslo and the first snow has just fallen. Young Jonas wakes in the middle of the night and discovers his mother is missing. Desperate to find her he searches the entire house, but the only thing he finds is a snowman outside in his yard that inexplicably appeared earlier in the day. The snowman is now dressed in his mother’s favorite scarf.

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The snowman has no hat, cap, or scarf, and only one arm, a thin twig Jonas guessed had been taken from the hedge. However, there was something odd about the snowman. It was facing the wrong way. He didn’t know why, but it ought to have been looking out onto the road, toward the open space.

Meanwhile, police inspector Harry Hole has received a menacing letter from someone claiming that once the first snow has fallen, the snowman will appear and claim his next victim. Could the writer of this letter be behind the disappearance of Jonas’ mother? Has this snowman taken countless women over the years? As Harry comes closer to the truth he finds himself a pawn in the snowman’s end game and will have to risk everything in order to bring him to justice.

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Soon the first snow will come. And then he will appear again. The snowman. And when the snow has gone, he will have taken someone else. What you should ask yourself is this: Who made the snowman? Who makes snowmen? Who gave birth to the Murri? For the snowman doesn’t now.

Nesbø truly out-does himself in THE SNOWMAN. I was captivated from the first creepy opening scene until the very moment Harry realizes what must be done to stop the killer. The book flows at the pace of a heart-racing movie, no coincidence that this soon will become a major motion picture (in theaters October 20th). Hole is kept on his toes throughout the novel, moving from suspect to suspect and victim to victim. Nesbø’s writing style is intense, but at the same time allows for the reader to bond with the characters in the novel, including the background ones.

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The sensation would not leave him. The sensation that something or someone was there, nearby, on the inside, visible, if he could only see things the right way, in the right light.

THE SNOWMAN is book number seven in Nesbø’s Harry Hole series. Despite this being my first read with the series, I experienced no issues understanding the relationships between characters and pieces of their backgrounds. The only item I was missing on backstory was references to one of Hole’s previous cases. I have loved Nesbø’s other works BLOOD IN SNOW and MIDNIGHT SUN. I find THE SNOWMAN to deliver the same level of intensity, character development, and be an overall delightful read. I highly recommend picking up this novel and then going to see the movie in a few days! Stay tuned for future Nesbø reviews, as I go back and start the Hole series from book one, THE BAT.

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