The night the first snow falls, a young boy wakes to find his mother gone. He walks through the silent house, but finds only wet footprints on the stairs. In the garden looms a solitary figure: a snowman bathed in cold moonlight, its black eyes glaring up at the bedroom windows. Round its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.
Inspector Harry Hole is convinced there is a link between the disappearance and a menacing letter he received some months earlier. As Harry and his team delve into unsolved case files, they discover that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years. When a second woman disappears, Harry’s suspicions are confirmed: he is a pawn in a deadly game.
For the first time in his career Harry finds himself confronted with a serial killer operating on his turf, a killer who will drive him to the brink of insanity. A brilliant thriller with a pace that never lets up, The Snowman confirms Jo Nesbo’s position as an international star of crime fiction.
©2010 Jo Nesbo (P)2010 Random House Audio
Chillingly intricate plot plus superlative narration by Sean Barrett make this a thoroughly gripping listen. It the Audible equivalent of a "can't put it down" I loved it and was sorry when it ended. The anti hero is an attractive and fallible character who becomes an unwitting protaganist in his own case. Smashing stuff!
The usual suspects: a flawed policeman, a devilishly clever serial killer and more twists and turns than you could shake a stick at. The setting is Oslo, the writing is superb, the story gripping, and the narration by Sean Barrett is excellent. If you enjoy the Wallander books, set in neighbouring Sweden you will probably love this too.
I love all genres of books. However, when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!
Certainly a gripping, can't-put-it-down, finish-it-in-the-wee-hours book, but it's also almost a horror story. One more gruesome killing of a terrified woman, one more child with evil seething around him, and one more bout of Harry's horrific lapses into booze, and I'd have to put this one down as horror rather than mystery or crime. But the character development, the plotting, the pacing and the building of tension are all absolutely professional and highly impressive.
On the down side, there are a few unnecessary clichés: the relatively incompetent and sexist underling male cop who looks askance at the new and more competent female cop. Has that one not been done enough yet? (Mind you, maybe it was still somewhat fresh back when the novel was originally penned!) And Harry's battle with booze. I am so tired of cops and detectives with a drinking problem. The only thing different about Harry's drinking is that it's horrible to read about - that one scene where he's already drunk and then goes home, opens a bottle of hard stuff and starts just draining it practically made me ill.
But these are quibbles, really. I'll be reading more about Harry soon, I'm sure, since I've pretty much exhausted P. D. James, John le Carré and Stieg Larsson.
On the unbelievability index, it rates about a 7 out of 10, especially toward the end, wehere things get a tad out of control, but that's about par for the course in cop/thriller/whodunnits, so no surprises there.
Sean Barraett outstanding with the delivery of the story
never really been a fan of this type of story (thriller/whodunnit/airport-ish novel) - I decided to try it out because I had read some good reviews of the author. I went into it with low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised = this was a good "read" - the pace was great, it was easy to engage with the characters, characters were believable & the details were gruesome without being too gratuitous. I worked out the bad guy a fair way before the end, but this in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the story.
I imagine if you like murder mystery/thrillers with a bit of "smart" then you will enjoy this.
The narrator did a fantastic job, and I was really pleased with my purchase.
Fantastic story I felt the cold when reading it - the suspense at times was excruciating
had to turn off iPod and calm down, never ever dull can highly recommend. Narrators voice is very good and not grating. All in all a great read (listen)
As always the Nesbo/Barrett combination is riveting. Barrett's dulcet tones belie the Nesboian terror, which manages to chill the listener to the bone. The Snowman is a haunting narrative with the gritty protagonist, Harry Hole, who you can't help but admire.
As I have written 2 disparaging reviews in a row I thought I'd better write a positive one. This is a beautifully crafted, story with credible characters. A good rip-along yarn.
The narrator was a joy to listen to and he certainly made the book most exciting. Mr Barrett gave a performance so skilful that I didn't notice it... I was ' living in the story' rather than being told a story. I wish there were more readers like this.
I loved the book and I usually dont read murder mysteries....got the chills more than once and its really a great story very well narrated and it keeps you on edge
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
Now I think I know Harry a whole lot better than when I picked up "The Bat". He and I have been through a lot together; he, and I and Jack and Jim. Long hours searching and not finding; looking in the right places for the wrong things. We have come such a long way, he and I. Well, that's what it feels like.
Jo Nesbo has come a long way, too. I wrote in an earlier review ("The Redeemer") that the plots are getting more complex and the stories richer. But, even then (only two books before this one) for all of Nesbo's Hole anti-hero charm, it was still a far cry from the sticker that appears on all his books, "The Next Stieg Larsson". I understand (from web reviews) that Nesbo hates that epithet, and who would blame him. Still, it was meant as a compliment, I'm sure, and this book takes a huge stride in the Larsson direction. It is blacker, more daring and very suspenseful. I can well see why it is being mooted as a motion picture. For my part, I highly recommended it in this genre, .
Barrett is, as I have said, now Harry Hole; tall, thin, gaunt, with the alcoholic's pallor. All of that is in his voice. Worth a good listen.
Great twists and turns
Compares with The Bat with the story twists
Favourite scene was when Harry arrived at the house to save his woman and her son
My husband and I must listen to the rest of the series!
"Nailbiting from start to finish"
I hadn't read anything by Jo Nesbo before. What a find! The story keeps you guessing all the way through, some parts were too scary to listen to in the dark. Excellent narration by Sean Barrett brings the story alive. Best audiobook so far.
Whether you think Jo Nesbo is the next Stieg Larsson or not (and I came to this book via the Millennium Trilogy and the Wallander books by Henning Mankell), it's a brilliant book. I haven't finished it yet, so, although I have a suspicion as to who the murderer might be, I don't know if I'm right yet! I am writing this at work (hope ICT system isn't being monitored just now!), which has forced me to put the i-Pod down...otherwise difficult to do. I must also take issue with those who complain about the use of regional English accents. Regional accents (despite anything French people will tell you) do exist in other languages and, frankly, well chosen (as these are) and well executed (as these are) regional accents are a help, especially when dealing with a number of characters with names that are foreign and, therefore, less familiar and easy to distinguish (and I speak as a Modern Languages Teacher, however pompous that may sound). Full marks to Jo Nesbo, Sean Barrett and let's have more of them!
The comparisons to the Millennium trilogy should not stop you buying this audio book.
This is a chilling listen that will have you going to the next bus stop to walk home just so you can listen a little more and keep you listening well into the night.
I dare you to figure out the Killer before Harry Hole does and if you can I will buy you a drink!
Best thriller/crime novel of recent times and in my opinion leaves the Millennium trilogy in the dust this is so much better. Delighted I took a leap of faith on this one and can't wait to read/listen to more from this engaging writer.
Hope you enjoy it just as much as I have.
"An excellent listen"
This was a genuinely scary story! The book is well-written and impeccably narrated by Sean Barrett who's one of my favourite readers. Try it - you won't be disappointed.
"A Chilling Tale"
Having enjoyed the Millenium Trilogy I thought I would venture into another book by a Swedish author. I found this compared favourably and from the opening pages, it became a compelling and gripping tale. The Swedish names rolled effortlessly off the narrator's tongue and I do find them a stumbling block when reading the books myself. The lead detective's name presented no such problems though, being a pretty ordinary 'Harry Hole'. There are some truly scary bits in the book which would definitely suit being heard on a cold and dark night. Lots of plot twists and turns which keep the listener guessing. Thoroughly enjoyable and I'd like to hear more from Jo Nesbo.beta inappVoteInfo
My second Nesbo book, so I was expecting quite a good listen. Took a little of getting into, but was soon turning pages. Stick with it, and visit his other books.
Not the originality of Stig Larrsen, a bit similar to Ian Rankin. worth a listen, I was a little disapointed at the ending too big a leap of imagination I felt.
"Don't be put off..."
The issue that faced me was they stated 'The Next Stieg Larsson' which immediatly raises the expectation to unrealistic levels, after a slow start the book turned into a great listen but it will never live up to Stieg Larsson Trilogy.
"Scary Detective Story."
This was my first Jo Nesbo novel and it definitely
reminded me of Steig Larson. It was an excellent
listen with a well matched voice. I found myself
listening at every opportunity. I even admit to a
little shudder from time to time and I am not easily
scared. Can't wait to hear another from this author.
I have recently read the trilogy by Stig Larsen and have been looking for something to follow this to read. A friend put me onto this book and I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to it.Well written and beautifully narrated it is an enthralling plot with believable characters which engages the listener from start to finish. I am now downloading other books from this author. Absolutely recommended.
So after THE Larson trilogy what next, the Jo Nesbo titles kept appearing as being a real alternative option. What an option, just fantastic,, I almost always listen in the car, how those journeys pass so quickly, a great book and read very well by Sean Barrett. Highly recommended.
What is interesting, at least with this book, is that the subject, a brutal serial killer, and the way he/she does the grizzly deeds is portrayed in such a way that, without hearing the detail the reader is left on no doubt of the horror of the crime. Very clever and better than reading in too graphic detail the way the murders are committed, this way one imagines a scene that is many ways is far worse. Spellbinding.
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