The Snowman by Joe Nesbo

By Janet Heston
Janet Heston is a retired Librarian from the Livermore Public Library

nesboJo Nesbo, the winner of numerous book awards, is a Norwegian crime writer, who has written nine titles in his Harry Hole mystery series. Police Inspector Harry Hole is a graduate of Police College and LawSchool, and has taken a one year course with the FBI, specializing in serial killers. The Snowman is the seventh in the series. Nesbo’s Harry Hole is based in Oslo, Norway.

Terrifying, suspenseful, crime novels are my genre of choice. Since I have become a fan of Scandinavian crime novels, author Henning Mankell has written his last in his Wallander series (I also recommend the films) and Steig Larsson, of the dragon tattooed girl fame, is deceased; The Snowman is a first-rate book to introduce the reader to the Scandinavian crime genre and Jo Nesbo is surely to be a favorite. The Leopard, number 8 in the series, is also excellent. Phantom, number 9, is not yet available in the U.S. I have read this series out of order, but have had no trouble understanding the history of the characters. I have gone back to the beginning of Harry Hole because of a curiosity for more specifics of his past.

The Snowman is a dark, chilling suspense thriller, and it takes the reader on a frightful journey that ends with a bang. Harry Hole is a troubled man, who is a struggling alcoholic, but a champion for crime victims. He is not well-liked by his superiors or coworkers, but he still insinuates himself into the investigations of felonious crimes. Harry has a tendency to get into messy situations while trying to solve these crimes. This time, a wife and mother is unaccounted for and instead of this being a missing persons case, it turns out to be a case of serial murder.

Women have gone missing over the course of many years, coinciding with the first snowfall and the manifestation of a life-sized snowman. The description of the sudden appearance of the snowman is creepy and leaves the reader on edge. The feeling of dread that accompanies these scenes makes the reader push for Harry Hole to hurry up and solve the case.

So many different suspects come into view, but not until the very end of the book, does the true killer come to light. Despite his flaws, Harry Hole is an admirable character, who has built a loyal following for this critically acclaimed Norwegian author.