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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2011 Jo Nesbo (P)2011 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Jo Nesbø is my new favorite thriller writer and Harry Hole my new hero.” (Michael Connelly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Russell
  • Keswick, ON, Canada
  • 10-14-13

Nesbo is the Cat and I am The Mouse

This is the best I've experienced of an excellent Harry Hole series. I know Nesbo is toying with me by bringing in so many possibilities as to who is really the Snowman. It is a very difficult case for Harry and I can see so many escape routes to naming the evil villain. But, just like the cat who lets the mouse think he is home free, Nesbo in one swoop cuts off each promising avenue after I've committed to it. What a game of cat and mouse - and I'm loving it!

It was interesting to view some suspects and the actual murderer from Harry's perspective and then have a pause in the investigation to get a back story from their viewpoint.

The ending for this yarn takes you on a roller coaster ride of suspense. Be prepared to be immersed into a top notch detective story.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Anita
  • Riegelsville, PA, United States
  • 05-20-11

many layered thriller

Excellent story telling. Great narration. I love Michael Connelly's books, and his reccomendation of this author contributed to my decision to buy The Snowman. The story is complicated - full of twists and unexpected turns. Characters have a lot of depth. I'll listen to more Jo Nesbo.

46 of 49 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Joe
  • Kansas City, MO, United States
  • 06-03-12

Be Warned, You're In For the Whole Series

Full disclosure: I LOVE detective stories. I read a lot of them. And this is one of the best I've ever read. It was shockingly good. Now I'm going back and reading EVERYTHING I can find by Jo Nesbo. It's taken over my wish list. Other books are getting pushed aside just so I can read more about Detective Harry Hole. Other detective stories aren't as interesting anymore, other characters not as vivid and real and other killers not as inventive or enthralling. Really, these books will ruin other books for you. So, fair warning.

I didn't know until half way through the book that it's part of a series. So you do not need to read any of the others first. It picks up with Harry Hole, a depressed, middle aged detective who is trying to kick a drinking habit. Then he picks up something weird, Norway has more missing mothers, per capita, than it should. He does more examining and finds only one of two things can be true: either he's completely off his rocker or Norway has one of the most successful serial killers in modern history, has for years, and hasn't even known it. Well, obviously, it's the second. So he's on the case.

Here's the secret of Jo Nesbo's success: he decided that there is nothing new under the sun. Cliches are there for a reason and he can't find a new killer, a totally new story (no one can, it's a fact of literature) so instead of being clever for clever's sake he decided to take typical characters and do them BETTER than they've ever been done before, make them more real than they ever have been before. And he succeeds. This book, these people, none of of it should be as good as it is. Yet somehow, it feels completely fresh, completely new and wonderful.

On top of that, this book is one of the slickest I've ever read. He genuinely fakes you out multiple times with fake killers, twists you actually didn't expect and an ending that will knock you off your feet. Just when you think you know what's going on, you realize you don't. Just when the characters make sense to you, they do something so startling that you'll audibly gasp. This book gets into your mind and doesn't let go.

Or maybe it's the narrator. Robin Sachs was born do to these books. He understands Nesbo's dark, noire, deliberate pace so well it's like he wrote the thing. His tone matches the subject matter perfectly and you'll love the sadness and terror he brings to the material.

This is better than a whole new story that no one has ever told; it's the type of story you've loved for YEARS finally told as well as it ever can be.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • stl1111
  • La Grande, OR, United States
  • 05-22-11

Great Book

REALLY liked this book! I've been looking for a good mystery and have struck out with several of my recent purchases. Not so with The Snowman. Good narration, interesting characters, complicated and well developed plot. My first Nesbo book, but won't be my last.

37 of 41 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Almost Quit Nesbo

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I almost quit Nesbo after I listened to The Devil's Star and The Redbreast. But in The Snowman, Nesbo rolled up the characters and placed the delicately intriguing plot lines one on top of the other. Nesbo then chose pebbles of shocking crime scenes and a serial killer with patience and intelligence to form a mouth and eyes. Then comes the carrot...

What did you like best about this story?

The suspense built steadily, even through the times where the characters thought the killer was identified. I was never able to relax, nor did I want to.

Which character – as performed by Robin Sachs – was your favorite?

The driven and tormented Katrina Brat.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The stalking and murder of the woman who cut off the chicken heads. I cannot remember her name. The description of the forest and the stream, the taste of the cold water, made me turn up the heater. I made the last, desperate throw of the ax with her.

Any additional comments?

The characters are broken and haunted. Even the children are wounded. The hero's struggle through their wounds, the villains wear their wounds like a crown.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ann
  • United States
  • 06-01-11

Exceptional thriller, excellent narrator

The first 15 minutes or so of this audiobook seemed so slow and awkward that I almost put it aside without finishing it; what a huge mistake that would have been! The Snowman is one of the best mystery/thrillers published in a long time. Nesbo's writing is succinct, yet, at the same time, very expressive. The characters are well-defined and clearly fit into the theme of the story. The narrator, who I had initially thought was boring, makes the characters come alive; his diction is superb, and he's definitely one of the best in the business. Do listen to The Snowman; you'll be glad you did!

35 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jean
  • Reston, Virginia
  • 06-29-11


What a story and wowie zowie ending! This one requires patience and discipline, but so worth it. As with Larsen's books the names are gonna throw you. I advised a friend just starting it to jot down the names phonetically and who they are as he goes along - a little hard to do when you're jogging! Our American ears just can't compute names that are So foreign that we can't visualize. A thought: Audible could include a cast of characters with the download? Anyway, a fabulous listen.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Horrifying! but great!

I am not a reader of mysteries or crime novels but so enjoyed the Stieg Larsson movies (the Swedish versions), the Icelandic crime thriller Jar City, and the Wallender detective stories on BBC (with Kenneth Branagh) that I thought I'd try another Nordic crime writer. Jo Nesbo is fantastic! This guy can really put together a thrilling plot, full of horrifying twists and turns and normal-seeming characters who turn into monsters. I actually took this audiobook in from my car four nights in a row so I could continue listening through headphones at night because I couldn't put it down when my drive home from work was over. BAD idea! I had trouble sleeping and kept imagining I was hearing things in my house in the dark. I will definitely listen to some more Jo Nesbo novels. I've also put Nordic crime writers Camilla Lackberg and Lars Kepler in my queue on Audible. If they ever go on the $4.95 sale I'll buy a bunch! Highly recommended, but only for daytime listening. A comment on the narrator: his thick English accented voice took some getting used to for this American listener, but my ear adapted within an hour and I had no more trouble understanding him. But he had a creepy very low voice that he used for the worst parts of this story which was absolutely terrifying to hear late at night.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Remarkable mystery, excellent reader.

There are so many good things about this novel. The story has several great twists, a remarkable detective, well written, great character development. It reminded of Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Richard
  • Lockport, NY, United States
  • 06-01-11

Excelllent WHODUNIT

My guess is that the peoples of scandinavian countries either have a lot of time on their hands or are just essentially deep thinkers. This book is a fine example. Well written, and well read, I thought I had it scoped out but it surely took twists and turns I never anticipated. I found it riveting and often found myself at a destination, killing time to find a good place to stop listening.
Even though murder mysteries are not my primary favorite genre, I will be looking for Jo Nesbo again and will pickup whatever he writes.
In short: excellent in every way.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful