Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.
Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.
What I thought:
The Snowman is the latest in the Jo Nesbo series about the Detective Harry Hole. Hole is an anti-authoritarian ex-alcoholic police officer who is the only Norwegian officer to have caught a serial killer. He has issues, both personal and professional. When dead bodies start appearing with signs of being tortured quite gruesomely, it is time for him to figure out what is going on.
Nesbo’s skills at maintaining tension are incredible as the story pitches from one scary high to the next. The plot is vibrant and the action never lets up.
A few of the reasons I loved this book:
- no crappy tension-building foreshadowing because it was so well written that it didn’t need any emotional manipulation;
- I genuinely thought that the killer had been captured half way through even though I knew the book was only half done;
- I found bits of it so creepy and scary that I couldn’t read it right before I went to bed and needed a glass of wine to help me finish it;
- I had to keep stopping because I was so worried about who would be hurt / killed next and how it would be done;
I did worry at times about the strange description of the woman police officer and it put me off but I later realised there was a purpose to it.
I found this book really addictive and if it hadn’t stressed me out so much I would have finished it much quicker. I have to confess that I spent the entire story thinking that the writer was a woman although I’m not sure how that affected my reading.