8 June 2015

Review: BLOOD ON SNOW, Jo Nesbo

  • published Random House 2015
  • English translation by Neil Smith, from Norwegian
  • this edition Random House Large Print, 164 pages
  • ISBN 978-0-8041-9488-4
  • source: my local library

From the internationally acclaimed author of the Harry Hole novels—a fast, tight, darkly lyrical stand-alone novel that has at its center the perfectly sympathetic antihero: an Oslo contract killer who draws us into an unexpected meditation on death and love.

This is the story of Olav: an extremely talented “fixer” for one of Oslo’s most powerful crime bosses. But Olav is also an unusually complicated fixer. He has a capacity for love that is as far-reaching as is his gift for murder. He is our straightforward, calm-in-the-face-of-crisis narrator with a storyteller’s hypnotic knack for fantasy. He has an “innate talent for subordination” but running through his veins is a “virus” born of the power over life and death. And while his latest job puts him at the pinnacle of his trade, it may be mutating into his greatest mistake. . . .

My Take

Olav tries to put what he does for a living on a professional footing: he refers to those who pay him as his clients, and those he kills as units. This is part of his own strategy to remain aloof and to depersonalise what he does.

When he is contracted to kill the client's wife, things begin to go wrong, and Olav makes a decision which means his client will be gunning for him, literally. Olav tries to play Oslo underworld bosses off against each other. But not everyone is as loyal as he thinks they are.

BLOOD ON SNOW is really a novella, a quick read, a short snippet of Olav's life, not a Harry Hole novel. Even so, we learn quite a bit about Olav, his background, and what he does.

I think the thing I liked best was the twist in the tail in the final pages.

My rating: 4.4

I've also reviewed
4.7, THE BAT
5.0, THE SON

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I have neglected Nesbo's books, but your posting reminds me that I need to remedy that oversight.

BTW, Crimes in the Library has been reactivated, and I look forward to your visits and comments.



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