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The Snowman
Cover of The Snowman
The Snowman
Harry Hole Series, Book 7
by Jo Nesbo
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Internationally acclaimed crime writer Jo Nesbø's antihero police investigator, Harry Hole, is back: in a bone-chilling thriller that will take Hole to the brink of insanity.
Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother's pink scarf.
Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he's received and the disappearance of Jonas's mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.
Fiercely suspenseful, its characters brilliantly realized, its atmosphere permeated with evil, The Snowman is the electrifying work of one of the best crime writers of our time.
Internationally acclaimed crime writer Jo Nesbø's antihero police investigator, Harry Hole, is back: in a bone-chilling thriller that will take Hole to the brink of insanity.
Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother's pink scarf.
Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he's received and the disappearance of Jonas's mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.
Fiercely suspenseful, its characters brilliantly realized, its atmosphere permeated with evil, The Snowman is the electrifying work of one of the best crime writers of our time.
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  • From the book

    Day 3

    The Pit

    "Was that great or what?"

    Oleg's enthusiastic voice drowned out the spitting fat in the kebab shop, which was crowded with people after the concert at the Oslo Spektrum. Harry nodded to Oleg, who was standing in his hoodie, still sweaty, still moving to the beat as he prattled on about the members of Slipknot by name, names Harry didn't even know since Slipknot CDs were sparing with personal data, and music magazines like MOJO and Uncut didn't write about bands like that. Harry ordered hamburgers and looked at his watch. Rakel had said she would be standing outside at ten o'clock. Harry looked at Oleg again. He was talking nonstop.

    When had it happened? When had the boy turned eleven and decided to like music about various stages of death, alienation, freezing and general doom? Perhaps it ought to have worried Harry, but it didn't. It was a starting point, a curiosity that had to be satisfied, clothes the boy had to try on to see if they fit. Other things would come along. Better things. Worse things.

    "You liked it, too, didn't you, Harry?"

    Harry nodded. He didn't have the heart to tell him the concert had been a bit of an anticlimax for him. He couldn't put his finger on what it was; perhaps it just wasn't his night. As soon as they had joined the crowd in the Spektrum, he had felt the paranoia that used to regularly accompany drunkenness but that during the last year had come when he was sober. And instead of getting into the mood, he had had the feeling he was being observed, and stood scanning the audience, studying the wall of faces around them.

    "Slipknot rules," Oleg said. "And the masks were übercool. Especially the one with the long, thin nose. It looked like a . . . sort of . . . "

    Harry was listening with half an ear, hoping Rakel would come soon. The air inside the kebab shop suddenly felt dense and suffocating, like a thin film of grease lying on your skin and over your mouth. He tried not to think his next thought. But it was on its way, had already rounded the corner. The thought of a drink.

    "It's an Indian death mask," a woman's voice behind them said.

    "And Slayer was better than Slipknot."

    Harry spun around in surprise.

    "Lots of posing with Slipknot, isn't there?" she continued. "Recycled ideas and empty gestures."

    She was wearing a shiny, figure-hugging, ankle-length black coat buttoned up to her neck. All you could see under the coat was a pair of black boots. Her face was pale and her eyes made up.

    "I would never have believed it," Harry said. "You liking that kind of music."

    Katrine Bratt managed a brief smile. "I suppose I would say the opposite."

    She gave him no further explanation and signaled to the man behind the counter that she wanted a Farris mineral water.

    "Slayer sucks," Oleg mumbled under his breath.

    Katrine turned to him. "You must be Oleg."

    "Yes," Oleg said sulkily, pulling up his army trousers and looking as if he both liked and disliked this attention from a mature woman.

    "How d'ya know?"

    Katrine smiled. " 'How d'ya know?' Living on Holmenkollen

    Ridge as you do, shouldn't you say 'How do you know?'? Is Harry teaching you bad habits?"

    Blood suffused Oleg's cheeks.

    Katrine laughed quietly and patted Oleg's shoulder. "Sorry, I'm just curious."

    The boy's face went so red that the whites of his eyes were shining.

    "I'm also curious," Harry said, passing a burger to Oleg. "I assume you've found the pattern I asked for, Bratt. Since you've got time to come to a gig."

    Harry looked at her in a way that spelled out his...
About the Author-
  • Jo Nesbø is a musician, songwriter, economist, and author. His previous Harry Hole novels include The Redbreast, Nemesis, and The Devil's Star. His books, translated into forty languages, have sold more than six million copies worldwide, and he has received the Glass Key Award for best Nordic crime novel (previously awarded to Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell). He lives in Oslo.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 28, 2011
    In this chilling installment in Nesbø's Insp. Harry Hole crime series (The Devil's Star, etc.), a snowman left in the front yard of Birte Becker's Oslo house is the only clue to the woman's disappearance. When Sylvia Ottersen disappears from her farmhouse soon afterward, the snowman the killer leaves behind has a gruesome addition: Sylvia's severed head. Harry, aided by Katrine Bratt, a brash new member of his team with secrets of her own, combs through past missing person cases, looking for other victims of the killer now dubbed the Snowman. Several months earlier, Harry received an anonymous letter referring to both snowmen and the Australian serial killer he'd pursued early in his career. What appeared random and bizarre then now takes on new meaning as Harry realizes the killer is taunting him. Nesbø breathes new life into the serial killer subgenre, giving it a Norwegian twist and never losing his laconic hero in the process. 150,000 first printing; 6-city author tour.

  • AudioFile Magazine Robin Sachs's cool, supple voice perfectly reflects the arctic environs of Scandinavia in winter, the setting for Nesb¿'s chilling new mystery. Inspector Harry Hole is the only Norwegian policeman ever to apprehend a serial killer, and now he's been assigned the case of the Snowman. Someone is brutally murdering women, and the only obvious connection between them is the presence of a snowman at the scene of each crime. Sachs's narration transitions smoothly from the gruff voice of the unpredictable Hole to the softer voices of the various female victims and their family members and the sarcastic banter of Hole's colleagues. The combination of a compelling performance and a gripping mystery is most satisfying. K.O. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine
  • Michael Connelly "Jo Nesbø is my new favorite thriller writer and Harry Hole my new hero."
  • Times (UK) "With Henning Mankell having written his last Wallander novel and Stieg Larsson no longer with us, I have had to make the decision on whom to confer the title of best current Nordic writer of crime fiction. After finishing Jo Nesbø's The Snowman, I hesitate no longer . . . This is crime writing of the highest order, in which the characters are as strong as the story, where an atmosphere of evil permeates, and the tension begins in the first chapter and never lets up."
  • Newsday "The Snowman is a superb thriller--smart, stylish, beautifully paced and meticulously plotted . . . Nesbø is such an insightful portraitist that Hole and all the secondary characters are convincing at just about every bloody turn . . . The psychological aspects of the novel are on a par with Ruth Rendell's inspector Wexford mysteries. Ultimately, though, what sets Nesbø apart is his ability to keep the pages turning with such intellectual dexterity."
  • Sunday Times (UK) "Every now and then, a truly exceptional crime novel comes along, something so gripping that it recalls classics such as The Silence of the Lambs. Jo Nesbø has pulled it off with The Snowman . . . [which] establishes him as a writer of rare ingenuity and total confidence."
  • Slate "Irresistibly addictive . . . This is reading as you experienced it in childhood, without any gap between eye and mind, but with the added pleasures that adult plots and adult characters can bring . . . It is Nesbø's plots--brilliantly conceived, carefully worked out, and complicatedly satisfying--that finally make [his books] unputdownable."
  • Library Journal (starred) "Nesbø is being hailed as the next Stieg Larsson or Henning Mankell . . . Apt comparisons, but they don't go far enough. This is simply the best detective novel this reviewer has read in years . . . Nesbø's latest thriller reads like a symphony, from the thundering first chords that pull the reader into a magical world through the delicately enticing development in which motifs and story strands are woven together leading to a pounding, furious conclusion."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred) "Erica Jong meets Stephen King meets, yes, Stieg Larsson in this superb thriller."
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Harry Hole Series, Book 7
Jo Nesbo
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