A huge fan of Jo Nesbo books, I couldn’t believe Midnight Sun (Blood on the Snow #2) had somehow slipped under my radar. Published late last year, it tells the story of Jon, a troubled young man who, through a series of circumstances told retrospectively, is on the run and in fear of his life. Fleeing to the utmost north, the land of the Midnight Sun, he hopes to avoid the deadly repercussions of one of Oslo’s most feared Underworld figures: the Fisherman.
Finding himself in a small town run by an unusual religious sect and where tensions are high, Jon seeks solace and safety in a remote cabin. Only, solitude gives him time to ponder what he’s done and where his future might lie as well as to consider the very real attractions of not only the little township (where everybody knows your name), but the newly widowed Lea and her son, Knut. It also enables him to recognise that when there is a price to be paid for perceived disloyalty and those out to extract it are professional killers, safety is an illusion.
While I enjoyed this book very much, I felt it was somewhat lacking in terms of … what? Characterisation, perhaps… plot, maybe? I am uncertain. Nesbo is such a great writer and his plots are normally dense and tight and so believable, especially when they’re most thrilling. Likewise, his characters are rich and complex, even with his one-offs. This book, however, was comparatively quite ordinary. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, it was. But the emotional depths that usually make his books a stand out were mostly absent. So much so, certain things develop too quickly to be anything but convenient narrative devices that push the story along. While there is a clever plot twist, it too is not so much remarkable but implausible as the story becomes more Disney than Nordic noir.
All in all, a sound read, but not one of Nesbo’s strongest.