The Snowman by Jo Nesbo


A young boy wakes to find his mother missing. Their house is empty but outside in the garden he sees his mother’s favourite scarf – wrapped around the neck of a snowman.


As Harry Hole and his team begin their investigation they discover that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years.


When a second woman disappears it seems that Harry’s worst suspicions are confirmed: for the first time in his career Harry finds himself confronted with a serial killer operating on his home turf.


I got The Snowman for Christmas from my Other Half, along with a few other books. The Snowman is the 7th book in the series featuring Norwegian police detective Harry Hole. I’d previously read The Leopard, which is the 8th in the series – word of advice….if you haven’t read any of the Harry Hole series & do intend to start, don’t start with the Leopard, cause then you’ll know who the killer is in The Snowman. So, yeah, unfortunately I knew who the killer was, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of The Snowman.

The Snowman sees Oslo confronting the possibility that they are confronting a serial killer – their first ever. Unfortunately for the Oslo police the only person who is up to the task, the only person in Norway who has ever dealt with a serial killer is the brilliant but alcoholic Harry Hole. Can Harry convince his superiors in time that Norway is dealing with it’s first serial killer? Can Harry banish his demons long enough to solve the case & capture the killer, or will they get the better of him? How many women will the Snowman take?

I love what I affectionately call “Murder, Mystery, Mayhem” books & in my estimation Jo Nesbo ranks right up there with the best of them! For some reason his publishing house insists on referring to Nesbo as “The Next Steig Larsson” – if I was Nesbo, I would be really hacked off about that. Yes, they are (were?) Scandinavian authors, yes, they both write (wrote) mystery novels, but that really is where the similarity ends. I don’t think the Steig Larsson reference does Nesbo any favours.

I have read a lot of reviews where people have complained about the lack of character development & they are right, but this is a series of novels where really only the main character gets developed, the rest is peripheral & unnecessary. It also seems to me to be a style which is typical of Scandinavian writers. Well also of other mystery writers, too. Especially ones who write series which feature the same main character(s). Others have complained about the difficulty in reading the books, that they seem clunky, poorly translated. I personally do not think that the 2 Nesbo examples I have read were either of this, but maybe this is because I love Scandinavian writing? Not sure. I do think some of the complaints are due to the unfamiliarity of certain words/places, not knowing how to pronounce place names, character names, etc., and while that is understandable surely you should expect that a book set in a foreign country to the one where you are will have names/words which are “different”, no?

I do have one complaint about The Snowman, but it is a complaint that was caused by my own stupidity! I dove in head-fist into The Snowman, with zero regard for chapter numbers, or anything else that might be written at the top of the page. Yeah, don’t do that! As a result, I ended up pretty confused after about 4 or 5 chapters, because I didn’t realise that the book started in the past, then switched to the present. I loved The Snowman – flew through it, all 576 pages, in two days & I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the books in the series.

4 Stars


1 Comment

Filed under Relaxing reading

One response to “The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

  1. Pingback: Detective Tales Vol.3, No. 12 (October 1955) British Edition | The Great Pulp Magazine Index

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