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The Snowman [Paperback]

Jo Nesbo
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 4 2011
The next thrilling installment in the Harry Hole series.

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. A brilliant thriller with a pace that never lets up, The Snowman confirms Jo Nesbø's position as an international star of crime fiction.

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A New York Times Notable Crime Book of 2011

“A book as fathomless as the snow, as luminous and abstract as Beethoven’s Late String Quartets and a very jarring and unique literary experience. It exists on a recognizable plane of propulsive energy undercut with the irony that moulds all kind of fiction, including my own.”
James Ellroy

“Every now and then, a truly exceptional crime novel comes along, something so gripping that it recalls classics such as The Silence of the Lambs. Jo Nesbø has pulled it off with The Snowman.”
 — The Sunday Times
"Many authors know how to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Jo Nesbø's one of the few who keeps them there."
 — Linwood Barclay

The Snowman is a superb thriller. Jo Nesbø is astonishingly good; he knows how to grab you, by the throat and by the heart.”
 — Jeff Abbott

"The Snowman is a masterpiece."
 — Der Spiegel (Germany)

"Nesbø writes in a way that has adrenaline pumping through your veins. The Snowman is the kind of book you devour in one greedy gulp, and that stays with you long after you've put it down. And all that is left is a plea to the author, from all of us who are deeply hooked on Harry Hole: More, Nesbø, more!"
 — Fredriksstad Blad (Norway)

“With Henning Mankell having written his last Wallander novel and Stieg Larsson no longer with us, I have had to make the decision, to my own satisfaction, on whom to confer the title of best current Nordic writer of crime fiction. After finishing Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman, I hesitate no longer. The Norwegian wins. . . . This is crime writing of the highest order, in which the characters are as strong as the story, where an atmosphere of evil permeates, and the tension begins in the first chapter and never lets up.”
 — The Times
The Snowman is certainly the most disturbing of Nesbø’s books, with a spine-chilling quality that evokes the English master of the macabre, M.R. James. . . . With its tensile-steel narrative grip, this most ambitious of Nesbø’s crime novels banishes any fears that the omniscient serial killer scenario has been exhausted.”
 — The Independent

About the Author

Jo Nesbø is a musician, songwriter, economist and author. His first crime novel featuring Harry Hole was published in Norway in 1997 and was an instant hit, winning the Glass Key Award for best Nordic crime novel (an accolade shared with Peter Høeg, Henning Mankell and Karin Fossum). The Snowman is the fifth of Nesbø's novels to be translated into English.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another craze Aug. 31 2011
There's obviously a Nesbo craze on, given the other reviews. I don't see it. The Snowman is an okay story, even if the gruesome violence is overdone and there's rather too much personal stuff between Harry and Rakel. But the reader isn't part of the solving of the crimes; there's not enough to work with. Obviously the reader gets it all at the end without participation. In this way, the work is too passive so it's not really a mystery; it's a story, period. The goings-on between Hole and his boss and colleagues end up as the most interesting aspect of the narrative. My first and last Nesbo--but then I didn't take to Stieg Larson, either.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
"Furthermore the LORD said to him, 'Now put your hand in your bosom.' And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, like snow. And He said, 'Put your hand in your bosom again.' So he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out of his bosom, and behold, it was restored like his other flesh." -- Exodus 4:6-7 (NKJV)

The best mystery novelists can take us into the depths of human depravity in ways that make them more accessible and understandable . . . which serves to make the experience all the more chilling. Jo Nesbo is a master in this aspect of the genre and Don Bartlett is an exceptionally talented translator who makes The Snowman seem like a novel originally written in English.

The Snowman is the fifth Harry Hole novel to be translated into English, and fans of the series are in for a treat. The book opens with one perspective on how a criminal mind was shaped . . . and then fills in the consequences through a series of crimes and the police investigations.

While the book primarily takes the form of a police procedural, there is enough threat, risk, and exposure to also enjoy the book as a thriller where no one is truly safe.

Ultimately, the book's finest quality is in its careful character developments that leave you with quite a complete sense of the book's major and many of the minor characters. The result is to bring the reader into the story in ways that make the action more gripping.

Unlike a lot of longer police procedurals, this one didn't drag. Mr. Nesbo has a great talent for keeping his story line spare. Even what appear at first to be red herrings serve deeper story needs.

If you haven't read the other Harry Hole books, I don't advise you to start with this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book Jan. 25 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good read, kept me intrigued until the end. Typical Jo Nesbo style of writing. I would recommend this book if you like his style of writing
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4.0 out of 5 stars good mystery Oct. 17 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
the book was recommended and it lived up to expectations! I t was a great read; enjoyed it very much.
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5.0 out of 5 stars There Are No Easy Answers Jan. 27 2013
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
I have always liked the way Nesbo carefully builds a story to a critical point where all the cumulative detail suddenly makes sense. He seems to feed his readers just enough information to lead them to the next point in a protracted search for a cunning, ruthless, psychopathic killer who leaves snowmen behind at each crime scene. The thrill in reading a novel like "The Snowman" comes in following the hunt through a very involved labyrinth of circumstances, personalities and settings that takes us ever closer to an unknown quarry. This murder mystery is set in Oslo in the middle of winter. Women, especially mothers, are disappearing off the streets only to be found brutally murdered by what looks like a serial killer. The fear that pervades the city is very real. In the midst of this gathering gloom comes a glimmer of unlikely hope: a dispirited Inspector Hole has suddenly become, out of a sense of duty and compassion, a heroic member of the investigative team in spite of his own lagging fortunes. We get to follow him and his sidekick, Katrine, around as they follow clues, conduct interviews, and eliminate suspects in this bloody rampage. The breaks that come their way only serve to deepen the plot as they inch ever closer to apprehending a very sick person. It is looking more like the killer is so brazen as to be working in their very midst but, before we get to discover his or her identity, be prepared for a couple of unexpected, action-packed twists and turns. This is a novel that keeps one guessing as to who's who. I found this tale to be full of all kinds of fascinating detail from the medical, forensic, and psychological worlds that needs contending with before the killer is reeled in.
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4.0 out of 5 stars EVIL MULTIPLIED April 15 2012
By Flora
I read one of Nesbo's other books and thought, "what a different angle" and when I saw The Snowman and the reference on the book stating that he is the next Larsson then I was curious. Different writers but possibly going to be the same hype. If you are interested in how the evil mind in people work, this is the reference book for you! Not only is there one evil soul but other troubled souls as well. Lots of turns and twists just when you think you figured it out. A great book to pick up for your therapist!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Perfection! Nesob Does it Again! May 2 2010
By Nicola Manning-Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Reason for Reading: Next published in the series (in English).

A woman disappears and a few months earlier Inspector Harry Hole had received a threatening note. He is convinced that their is a connection. Then a second woman disappears. Harry and his detectives soon discover a disturbing tale of women, married with children, who have gone missing without a trace over a chillingly large number of years. The clues will take him down so many false roads that his job is on the line not once, but twice.

This is a thriller that takes off on new twists with the speediness of a whip crack. What's up for one chapter is down the next with reveal after reveal sending the police on the chase of a clever, determined serial killer who is skillfully directing the police to play into the unsub's own mad theatre of his mind.

I've read three of the books in this series so far and this is the most excellent. The red herrings, the false roads which all do connect, in a way, just not the way the police want them to, are an amazing road to follow. Twist after turn will have you gasping as they go after who they think is the killer only to find they have suspicions of someone else ... more than once. I really can't convey how amazingly clever this plot was woven together, with a myriad of clues, characters and evidence Nesbo doesn't miss a step in seamlessly creating an airtight thriller.

Funny thing for me is that I guessed who the killer was as soon as the character was introduced, for no particular reason than I thought it would make perfect sense in the end. (Perhaps I read so many thrillers I'm beginning to think like a thriller writer, either that or a serial killer, AAH!).
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A well-crafted novel with a grip that never lets go.
Snowman is a well crafted mystery that has many of the usual elements of the murder mystery with a difference. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2012 by Len
1.0 out of 5 stars Gratuitous Violence
This book was chosen for our book club. Unfortunately it doesn't have the depth that the Millenium Series had with its serious expose of the underbelly of Swedish Society or its... Read more
Published on Oct. 21 2011 by Discerning Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Comparable to Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes
This is the first and only book by author Nesbo I have read so far. The only other Scandinavian mystery writer I have read is Stirg Larsson, whose book totally sucked. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2011 by Booklover
2.0 out of 5 stars The Snowman
This book is brutle. I did not enjoy it at all. I would not read any other books by this autor.
Published on Sept. 18 2011 by Jim Alty
5.0 out of 5 stars NESBO MANIA
I have become a hardcore Jo Nesbo fan. Just finished The Snowman and am in middle of Nemesis. Also read The Redbreast. All are superb. Read more
Published on April 28 2011 by Bebica
5.0 out of 5 stars Writes like an angel and plots like the devil
There is no finer Scandinavian writer of crime fiction (in translation, anyway) than the multi-talented Jo Nesbo -- even better than Mankell or Lackerg, the Harry Hole series is... Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2010 by Derek Gregory
5.0 out of 5 stars A Disease?
The Harry Hole series presents the reader with somewhat of an anomaly. On the one hand, we are informed that Norway is virtually free from serial killers. Read more
Published on May 17 2010 by Ted Feit
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