He has been heralded as the next Stieg Larsson and the comparison is worthy. Jo Nesbo’s latest crime thriller, “The Snowman” is a dark, gripping, gritty and ultimately rewarding work, which leaves the reader crying out for more. His fifth novel to be translated into English, the story is set against the cold, bleak and desolate backdrop of the Norwegian landscape, focusing on the mysterious disappearance of several young mothers and subsequent hunt for a serial killer. The investigation, led by Detective Harry Hole is an intricate affair, punctuated by moments of graphic violence, taut suspense and several layers of plot, which seamlessly weave their way through an utterly absorbing narrative.
Hole, is a flawed character, battling alcohol addiction and with little in life except a fleeting ex-partner, a young stepson, which makes him reflect on what might have been and of course his career. In many ways, Hole is reminiscent of Michael Connolly’s Harry Bosch character.
Hole’s unorthodox methods, primal gut instinct and lack of respect for authority land him in hot water on more than one occasion but Hole always gets his man. “The Snowman” is a real page-turner based on an original and unpredictable plot, which keeps the reader guessing right until the end. Nesbo can legitimately claim his podium place amongst other successful Scandinavian crime writers including Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell and Karin Fossum. Unlike Larsson, who died prematurely at the age of 50, let’s hope that Nesbo is around for quite some time to come.