When women start going missing, some of them turn up dead and creepy snowmen appear near the scene of the crime, Norway’s only serial killer expert Harry Hole is on the case. Whilst tracking down the sadistic Snowman, Hole is also dealing with his own personal demons of drink and his ex-girlfriend Rakel, plus he has a new younger, attractive and clever policewoman on his team.
The Snowman is a very gruesome read, which builds to a particularly gory and thrilling climax. There are lots of red herrings but I did have my suspicions about the eventual actual culprit. It follows your typical crime/ detective fiction set up- a flawed central character, incompetent superiors, a crafty killer that wants to be caught. The only other Nordic Noir I’ve read is the Stieg Larsson Millennium trilogy although I have seen a lot of the TV shows (like the superb The Bridge) and I think those are probably ‘cleverer’ and better written.
I would also note that I am a little uncomfortable with how this book is yet another example of an exercise in imagining ever-increasingly nasty ways in which to commit violence against women, as most crime fiction seems to be these days. Not entirely helpful in the fight against rape culture and violence against women and girls.
All that being said, it’s an easy and gripping read and I will probably dip into more of Nesbo’s Harry Hole series.