Friday, July 8, 2011

The Snowman

This was a huge departure from my normal reading habits. I kept reading good reviews, though, and when we got it at the library, I snagged it. It is a crime novel that takes place in modern day Scandinavia.

The book starts off with a woman and her son going to a house where the woman is meeting a man with whom she has been having an affair. He is moving away and she goes for one more fling, leaving her son in the car. The woman thinks she seems someone in the window but finds it is just a snowman. Her business done, she returns to her car where her son sits terrified. He informs her that he thinks they are going to die.

Gripping, huh? And that was just my hastily written synopsis.

The story unfolds and the reader discovers that there have been a string of killings, and at the scene of each crime, a snowman has been left (time to move to Belize!). Inspector Harry Hole is put on the case. He ends up with a new partner, a babe by the name of Katrine Bratt. The pair pursue leads as the killings pile up like snow on a winter's day.

My main reason for avoiding books like this is that I feel the author is in a lose-lose situation. Give me too much detail and I'll figure out the story well before the ending. I'll cringe as the protagonist falls for the red herring and wonder why on earth I'm not out solving crimes. The other option is for the author to withhold information. I tend not to like that because the important details are revealed at the end and are often convoluted.

Nesbo's book sort of combines both. He is a really good writer (and/or this book was really translated well since Nesbo is Norwegian and wrote the book in his native tongue). Lots of detail. Lots of connections to be made among the murders. Some of them downright ludicrous. In the end, the real murderer is none of the people you thought and the conclusion is a bit out there.

The writing is incredibly compelling. It was a hard book to put down and the ending wasn't horrible. I'm giving it a star but I'm not feeling the need to read more of Nesbo's work.

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