I have been a fan of Jo Nesbo for a while now. The beginnings were not easy, the first books of him I read in Polish and translation was dreadful, only when I moved to London I got my hands on English version of The Snowman.
Back then I lived on the ground floor and as a smoker I had to quite often venture outside on my own. As it happens I read the book in winter and it was one of those rare years when we had 1 day of light snow. If you read the book you can understand why I was constantly pestering my roommate to go out for a smoke with me. Truly it was one of few books that managed to scare me.
Harry Hole is a great character, he is your typical detective with issues, but Nesbo managed to pull it off in an amazing way, making Harry three dimensional, not a cartoon character. Harry wants to be a goo and happy person, but he’s haunted by things he’s done and by things that were done to his family and people close to him. Initially I read the books in random order, but as much as each is a separate case reading them in order allows us to see how Harry became the person he is, what shaped him.
That’s why I was over the moon when for Christmas I got 3 new books by Nesbo. Harry is gone and I was curious if I’m going to like them, as I didn’t like the ‘Headhunters’ too much. I started with The Son and I liked it, even though I missed Harry. The book is a story about revenge, love, growing up. It’s not a masterpiece, but an enjoyable read, even if it sometimes pushing the probability limits a bit.
Second and third book are related: Blood on Snow and Midnight Sun both describe stories of criminals who double crossed The Fisherman. They are not long, more novellas than novels. Both of them have this fairy tale feeling, a bit unreal, distanced, both also talk about a chance for redemption that love gives. There is no whodunnit here, it’s more will-he-make-it type of story, but one where we really feel for the characters despite the fact that they’re criminals.
Overall I think Nesbo is still a good crime writer and I’ll continue buying his books, but I’m still waiting for him to match The Snowman.
Have you read Nesbo? Which one is your favorite?
Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska