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The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

The Snowman (2007)

by Jo Nesbo

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Harry Hole (7)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,4891312,446 (3.9)108
  1. 50
    Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason (infosleuth, Disco_grinch)
    infosleuth: Besides both being northern European crime fiction titles, but without wanting to spoil the stories, these 2 novels share similar plot elements.
  2. 40
    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (voracious)
    voracious: Similar in the extended effort in the storytelling and set in Norway, this novel evokes similar feelings in the reader.

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» See also 108 mentions

English (108)  Dutch (5)  German (3)  Norwegian (3)  Finnish (3)  Danish (3)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (128)
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
Harry Hole hasn't been in favor at the police department for a while and so he is presented a case of a missing woman to investigate. His team's efforts become tangled when her body is found, and further investigation shows that there is a serial killer who always leaves a snowman at the scene.

The writing is crisp, the story captivating.

Usually I don't like books with serial killers but this story was riveting - well-written with great characters. I may have to investigate others in the series. ( )
  cyderry | Aug 4, 2014 |
[This is an old review. I just realized that, although I rated the book, for some reason I never posted my review.]

The Snowman is the 7th Harry Hole book, and the first one I've ever read/listened to. I started it because 1) it was long and I was hoping to slow myself down so I could catch up on posts (ha!) and 2) I remembered Robin Sachs from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The basic setup is that someone is building snowmen nearby people who are about to disappear/die. Harry investigates the disappearances, realizes that there are more that occurred further back in time, and comes to the conclusion that Oslo has its very own serial killer.

I'd probably be willing to listen to another book in this series, but I don't think I could stand reading one. The pacing of this book was very slow and sometimes odd. It took a while for things to get going, and there were at least two or three moments that felt like they could have been endings but weren't.

I didn't really like Harry, and I flat-out cheered when Katrine Bratt turned him down, because, wow, hitting on her was super icky and unprofessional. I also raised an eyebrow at his complete lack of curiosity about the mold inspector. You'd think a supposedly sharp, paranoid police inspector would have had issues with giving a stranger extended access to his apartment without checking up on him first and making sure he was legit. This is not, by the way, a spoiler, because, as far as I can remember, the mold man stuff went nowhere and served no purpose other than to add "fear of mold" to Harry's list neuroses.

In general, the sexual relationships in this book were not my cup of tea – lots and lots of cheating, plus several unsexy sex scenes. The serial killer portion of the story, however, was interesting and creepy. And also gory. A couple bits were horrifying enough that I had to pause the book and listen to something else for a while, to give my brain some time to prepare for the rest. I had to pause some more near the end, when the tense moments came hard and fast. I had no clue whether Nesbo was the sort to kill major characters and the stress of it got to be too much for me sometimes.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Jul 7, 2014 |
Jo Nesbo's The Snowman is a cross between Michael Connelly (complete with a detective named Harry and a sadistic serial killer) and Harlan Coben (past family events coming back to haunt them) -- with a lot more snow. And it is a thrilling page turner from beginning to end.

Occasionally falling into the cliche's of a serial killer whose murders are overly elaborate, the novel even more frequently falls into the cliche of serial killers who are obsessed with the detective tracking them. That aside, the book is really well plotted, has lots of false leads that themselves help unravel the real story, and has a cinematic touch for bringing in new characters, scenes and perspectives to break up the linearity of the dominant perspective, which is the detective Harry Hole. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Thank goodness that Jo Nesbø doesn't work for tourism for Norway. Not only is Norway a hot bed for questionable morals and deplorable behavior but their crime squad leaves something to be desired. There is only one good detective there, anybody else who was competent has been killed, and he's struggling with demons lapsing in and out of soberity. Any other detective is either too rash, too timid, too bureaucratic, or too sociopathic/psychotic.

Also, there are a bevy of killers running amok. Serial killers especially enjoy some longevity in Norway and these serial killers don't play. They make creepy as all hell snowmen, some that even define the laws of Physics, and decapitate their victims and put their heads on the snowman. Or they try to make their victim until a human snowman. This is more or less the premise of Nesbø's seventh Harry Hole novel.

I did enjoy The Snowman a lot and can see why this was the first one in the Harry Hole series translated into English. It's haunting and atmospheric. The murders are grusome to the extreme and it's downright creepy. There are so many twists and turns and red herrings, it's hard to keep the facts straight. The Snowman was very entertaining and addicting.

It was nice to see Harry only slightly succomb to his alcoholism in this novel. Professionally, he was as sharp as a tack as I ever seen so far. Nesbø did a good job with turning everything on its head regarding established characters. Nesbø proved that no character and their motives are ever transparent.

However, there were aspects that I didn't like. Given the subject manner, it was understandable but there were a lot of graphic sex scenes in this novel. Like wow. The beginning scene actually caught me off-guard with the sexual hijinks.

Another was the outlandishness of the whole-human-sitting-on-a-snowman-physics-be-damned aspect. A skinny 13 year old kid sitting on a snowman in the cold is one thing but a grown woman sitting on one in her bedroom is implausible to say the least.

Despite those, I look forward to reading more of Harry Hole in the future. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
Harry Hole, the protagonist, will keep you reading this series. He definitely is not a stock character. The story is twisted and will keep you reading because you just have no idea what the killer is going to do next. ( )
  Mykake | Mar 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
Harry is pleasingly human, with a capacity for hard, grueling work being one of his best features, and the rest of the characters say and do believable things, the murderous snowman notwithstanding. The Norwegian settings are sometimes exotic, sometimes just grimy—who knew that Oslo had a high-crime area?—but always appropriate to the story, which unfolds at just the right pace.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews (May 1, 2011)

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jo Nesboprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andersen, Allan HiltonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bartlett, DonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berntsen, AdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edit, PetrikovicsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
노진선Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fouillet, AlexTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frauenlob, GüntherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gretić, Iva UšumlićTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gudovoĭ, E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krištůfková, KateřinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Menna, OutiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montes Cano, CarmenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olaisen, PerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Puleo. GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toda, HiroyukiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vroom, Annelies deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zimnicka, IwonaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
林立仁Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Kirsten Hammervol Nesbø
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It was the day the snow came.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
The night the first snow falls a young boy wakes to find his mother gone. He walks through the silent house, but finds only wet footprints on the stairs. In the garden looms a solitary figure: a snowman bathed in cold moonlight, its black eyes glaring up at the bedroom windows. Round its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.

Inspector Harry Hole is convinced there is a link between the disappearance and a menacing letter he received some months earlier. As Harry and his team delve into unsolved case files, they discover that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years. When a second woman disappears Harry’s suspicions are confirmed: he is a pawn in a deadly game. For the first time in his career Harry finds himself confronted with a serial killer operating on his turf, a killer who will drive him to the brink of insanity.
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"In Oslo, after the first snow of the season has fallen, a woman disappears, and a sinister snowman is left in her wake. As irascible detective Harry Hole realizes that this is only one of multiple disappearances, he begins to think a serial killer may be at work--and may be drawing in Hole personally and intentionally"--… (more)

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