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Blood on Snow Paperback – 2015
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Praise for Jo Nesbø and Blood on Snow
“[A] tangled tale with a fateful twist.” —The Boston Globe
“Nesbø’s much-heralded gifts are on display—using his talent for conjuring the chilly Munch-like atmospherics of Oslo in the winter and his eye for grisly, alarming details that slam home the horror of the evil that men do.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[An] incendiary cocktail of murder, revenge and a hitman with . . . problems.” —The Independent (London)
“Dark, intense, and bone chilling.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Quick, entertaining. . . . [An] excursion to a slightly different corner of the criminal underworld, where death and love become tangled together in the cold, dark streets.” —Paste Magazine
“In the crowded field of Scandinavian crime fiction, Nesbø’s books stand out. . . . [He] likes to rip plots up . . . to play with the conventions of his genre.” —The New Yorker
“Noiry and pulpy: Nesbø’s gorgeously rendered images of snow, and of the titular blood on snow . . . are crying out to be filmed.” —The Guardian (London)
“[Blood on Snow] moves along swiftly in the carefully controlled voice of the killer. And before you know it, you’re in the middle of one of the wildest scenes in recent crime fiction . . . where there’s hardly any place to duck, just as in this entertaining novel, when the bullets fly.” —All Things Considered/NPR
“Nesbø is a master storyteller, gripping the reader from the first page.” —Daily Express (London)
“I am the world’s greatest living crime writer. [Jo Nesbø] is a man who is snapping at my heels like a rabid pit bull poised to take over my mantle when I dramatically pre-decease him.” —James Ellroy
“Nesbø explores the darkest criminal minds with grim delight and puts his killers where you least expect to find them. . . . His novels are maddeningly addictive.” —Vanity Fair --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
JO NESBO is a musician, songwriter, economist, as well as a writer. His Harry Hole novels include The Redeemer, The Snowman, The Leopard, and Phantom, and he is also the author of several stand-alone novels and the Doctor Proctor series of children's books. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Glass Key for best Nordic crime novel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
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Though the novel certainly has its excitements, much of the novel capitalizes on the ironies which exist between the thinking of Olav Johansen, the young, dyslexic main character, and his actions as a “fixer.” It is through Olav’s running commentary that the reader understands the narrative, and one cannot miss the tongue-in-cheek attitude of the author who is controlling this character. The opening sentences are classic: With a lyricism uncommon to Nesbo, we learn that “the snow was dancing like cotton wool in the light of the street lamps. Aimlessly, unable to decide whether it wanted to fall up or down, just letting itself be driven…” As the romantic language continues, the speaker suddenly shifts gears to a hard realism - revealing a body on the scene - and creating an irony so unexpected that it left me awestruck - and smiling.
Nesbo takes full advantage of the smaller scope of this novel, and while he does not develop complete characters in the two hundred, wide-margined pages of this book, his focus on the characters’ inner worlds is far greater than one finds in his longer, action-based, multi-layered thrillers. Olav’s role working for Daniel Hoffman is limited by all the things that Olav cannot do, but he is a good “fixer,” and despite the murders Olav commits, they are almost always of people who do evil things. Olav believes he has a good heart, and the reader does, too. When Olav receives his biggest assignment from Hoffmann – to murder Hoffmann’s wife Corina, he takes the job seriously, then finds himself falling in love with her and committing a murder he does on his own initiative, leaving him fearful for his life.
As the complexities increase, Olav also becomes more complex, and he soon tells about his family background and his childhood reading experiences, however difficult reading has been for him. The twists and reversals which occur at the conclusion, while a “convenient” way to end the novel, bring to mind some of the great, ironic stories of H.H. Monroe, writing as Saki. I have always enjoyed Jo Nesbo's novels, and have also admired his ability to go in his own direction, wherever his stories take him. Here the prolific Nesbo explores new directions, suggesting the possibility of a more ironically humorous and more literary approach for some future novels.
Once again, Jo Nesbo (who in my estimation is the best European writer of the early 2000’s era) has penned a winning novella. There is plenty of death and murder, as Olav tries to figure out a way to escape his seriously unpleasant life dilemma as a killer-for-hire. There’s a love story (no, 2 love stories), and lots of mental gyrations, a few ugly scenes, to say nothing of a healthy helping of life philosophy. One thing you can count on with Nesbo: he does death and murder very well, indeed. And you can, if you wish, find something pithy to quote and mull over on nearly every other page. That’s a main reason to read any Jo Nesbo work.
The only problem I had with this book, and its fine translation by Englishman Neil Smith who can be forgiven for his “Britishness”, is that Olav, who is dyslexic and has had trouble succeeding at school and doesn’t think of himself as very intellectual, at times sounds a bit more like Jo Nesbo (I’ve seen him many times being interviewed on TV in the U. S.) than the troubled self-educated character Olav. While this doesn’t really matter in terms of enjoying the book, Olav’s first person brainy musings many times just don’t sound like Olav. Most of the time his character is perfectly internally consistent, but I must confess that at times, I wondered really who was talking out loud – troubled-boy-from-Oslo-streets Olav or the impressively intellectual Jo Nesbo. A small matter.
The structure of this little book is tight, with a minimum of main characters, each of whom is well separated from the other and a plot line that progresses from A to Z systematically. Nesbo is good at story structure and an economy of words.
Of his recent novels, I liked “Midnight Sun” better, but this one is really good also. A 4.45, rounded down to a 4.