The Snowman

By Jo Nesbø; translated by Don Bartlett

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011

Genres: Mystery, suspense, thriller, crime thriller, police procedural, Scandinavian noir

Series: Harry Hole; 7

ISBN: 9780307595867

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 384

Setting: Oslo, Norway

Time period: Most of the story takes place in November 2004, but some scenes are from 1980 and 1992.

Plot summary: When a mother disappears in the middle of the night from her home, a snowman is found in the yard outside wearing the mothers favorite scarf.  When a second mother disappears, Detective Harry Hole makes a gruesome discovery.  He soon find himself tracking a serial killer, but at the same time, senses that someone is tracking him.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Tight and fast paced throughout the story.

Characterization: The story is told in third person; the  prime perspective is Harry’s, although a couple others are included.  Important secondary characters include Harry’s ex-girlfriend, Rakel, and her son, Oleg.

Frame: This is a dark and twisted story – the snowmen found in this book are not symbols of happiness and joy, but rather of dread, pain, and misery.

Story line: A complex plot with lots of twists and turns and plenty of action.

Subject headings:

From Pima County Public Library:

Serial murder investigation — Fiction.

Hole, Harry (Fictitious character) — Fiction.

Police — Norway — Oslo — Fiction.

Women — Crimes against — Fiction.

Mystery fiction.

Similar  authors:

Michael Connelly

Karin Fossum

Stieg Larsson

Henning Mankell

Personal notes: I really enjoyed this book, even though it was a very creepy story.  I had read somewhere that it was a good read-alike for The Girl books by Stieg Larsson and I have to agree.  While there will never be a character quite like Lisbeth Salander, Detective Harry Hole has a few things in common with Mikael Blomkvist – drive for the truth, willingness to help friends….  While I had never read any Harry Hole books prior to this one, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on important information from earlier stories.  And I will most likely seek out some of the previous books in this series in the future.

Other: Diversity – Norwegians, alcoholic, female police detective

Originally published in Norway as Snømannen in 2007

Jo Nesbø’s website


One thought on “The Snowman

  1. Now that is some wonderful literature.

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