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
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.
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.
Serial murder investigation — Fiction.
Hole, Harry (Fictitious character) — Fiction.
Police — Norway — Oslo — Fiction.
Women — Crimes against — Fiction.
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