So at this point, you all know I've bought into the Nesbo thing hook, line and sinker right? It is at this stage of a series fetish that it wouldn't matter WHAT the author (or in this case publisher/translator) did, I'd follow like a hungry dog. Still, I feel like I got a major screwing and I have to get it all out before I talk about this incredible novel.
*Minor rant* I thought I had it figured out. The order of the Harry Hole books, that is. The translation process has not been performed in order of the series. I knew this. But I really believed that "The Snowman" came after "The Devil's Star". Apparently not. Apparently "The Redeemer" comes in between the two, however it is not yet available to common folk in the US. So when I started "The Snowman" I quickly learned that people were dead. People weren't mentioned that had once played a key role in things. Through deductive reasoning, I have pieced together 3/4 of "The Redeemer". Thanks guys. I really appreciate that. *end of rant*
Synopsis: Women are turning up missing. Women with husbands and children. Their bodies are never found, so it is possible it is just a case of missing persons. But unexplained snowmen are found at their homes in each and every case, presumably as a calling card.
Because Harry Hole is the only person on the Oslo police force with experience in tracking down serial killers, he is assigned the case with a sharp new young female partner. It is no surprise that, while digging, Hole unearths a laundry list of social and health issues - themes of parenthood, infidelity, genetic diseases, among others. Harry also continues to battle the lure of the bottle and a failing personal relationship, despite having a heart that is pure gold.
My thoughts: Once I got over my shock at "The Redeemer" being completely spoiled for me, I fully embraced and enjoyed this next Harry Hole installment. I got exactly what I've come to expect of Nesbo...a fast pace, complicated characters, and layers upon layers of intrigue.
What is nice about this series is that with each installment, Harry grows and changes, keeping everything fresh. Well, maybe fresh isn't the right word. Harry does throw up alot in this book, and it is very dark. Maybe it keeps it from becoming stagnant. You can get behind the guy because he is human and has multiple frailties, but you know he is trying his best.
Prepare for red herrings galore. There are dozens of them. At this point, I'm wondering if the (fictional) Norwegian public has any faith left in their police officers, because they arrest handfuls of suspects before they capture the right one. I've given up trying to figure it out...I just let it wash over me and enjoy the ride.
Could this book be read as a standalone? I suppose so, but as you can tell from my ranting and raving, you'd be better served to ATTEMPT to start from the beginning (at least the US beginning "The Redbreast") and move forward from there. And know that his books just keep getting better and better.
A word about the audio production: Behold my audiophile friends, the amazing Robin Sachs. I can't seem to track down the first time I heard his voice, but I went into this audio experience knowing I very well may lose my heart to him. (Crazy I guess, but audio addicts are going to know where I'm coming from on this one.) He is everything that Harry Hole should be. He nailed Hole's stoicism and pain, his vocalization is dynamic but as smooth as silk. Could he knock Simon Vance off his rock star pedestal? Mr. Vance assures me that there is room for both of them in my heart. Apparently he has narrated ALL of the Harry Hole books, which caused some anxiety on my part. So my quandary is this. I've got two Nesbo books left to read so far. Do I grab printd copies and read them NOW, or do I wait for the audios? Or do I do a complete and total re-read once all of the audios are available? Decisions. (FYI, Sachs offers his voice to video games as well. My son digs him too.)
5 out of 5 stars