I didn’t simply read this book by Jo Nesbo and featuring his taciturn and apparently difficult to love detective, Harry Hole, I devoured it. I tucked myself on a chair one cold Sunday aft
ernoon and basically didn’t lift my head unless it was to put food or drink into it. I supped on words, a cracker of a plot and some wonderful characters.
ationship with Rakel is over. His reputation at work as a brilliant but unconventional and difficult detective looks set to ruin him. Enter a strange letter that is at once both threat and
dare and which invites Hole to guess who “made the Snowman”. In order to do that, Hole first has to work out exactly what the “snowman” (apart from the obvious) might be.
When a series of women disappear and, apart from one or two whose grisly remains are discovered in shocking circumstances, and their absence is linked to the building of a snowman, Hole begins to make the impossible connections – connections that span years, inconceivable unions and implausible motives. Joined in his hunt for the killer by a gung-ho female from Bergen who’s strong credentials compliment her zeal, Hole finds himself with a good team pitted against an intelligent and ruthless killer who, while he treats his female victims with cold brutality, with objectivity and scorn, is clearly acting out some terrible personal demons as well.
Like all Hole’s cases, this one becomes personal for the detective – only in ways he never could have imagined.
The prose in this book is at once poetic and awful. It conjures up such a frisson in the reader. I could feel my heart racing, my skin was creeping as I absorbed the story – from the beautiful descriptions of the falling snow, secret and gentle, to the God-awful blood bath that each murder and crime scene becomes. The tension builds and builds. Just as Hole has physically changed in this book – he is leaner, meaner, denuded of hair and spare flesh, there’s a sense in which this story is as well. It’s raw and terrifying.
While I guessed the killer not too far into the book, it didn’t spoil the plot or story for me, on the contrary, it enhanced the entire reading experience, which had me wondering, was this Nesbo’s intention? In that way, the reader is like the killer, watching Hole blunder, stumble in the dark and snow, alight on one possibility only to have it torn away. Knowing what Hole did not built the suspense in fabulous ways and did not take one shred of excitement or reading pleasure away from the conclusion or denouement.
I so enjoyed this book I immediately grabbed the Phantom and already know that I’m in for another reading treat (and scare!). Outstanding…