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Friday 30 October 2015

‘Blood on Snow’ by Jo Nesbo

Translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith
Published by Knopf,
9 April, 2015.
(US) ISBN 978-0-385-35419-6. (HB)
(UK) Published by Harvill Secker,
9 April 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-846-55860-3, (HB)

This novel is offered as a standalone by the author of the popular Harry Hole series, creating a new, very different type of protagonist, a contract killer with a convoluted personality full of paradoxes.  His name is Olav Johansen and he is a solitary person who acts as a fixer, getting rid of persons his pimp boss wishes to remove from the living world.

After establishing a pretty good picture of Olav as a person, the beginning of a extraordinary plot evolves.  His boss, who controls both prostitution and heroin rackets in Oslo, tells Olav to kill his wife, creating a dilemma for the fixer.  In researching the wife‘s activities preparatory to killing her, he instead falls in love with his intended victim.  And this leads to further ramifications later on, not to be revealed in this review.

Although the publisher suggests the novel is a standalone, there is information that there is a sequel, “Midnight Sun, Blood on Snow Part Two,” scheduled to be published in the UK come November, and that a third novel is anticipated also featuring Olav.  The novels are supposedly being published under Jo Nesbo’s alter ego name, Tom Johansen (note the use of the surname for Olav as well).  But what’s in a name when the true writer is Jo Nesbo, who gives us such wonderful plots, written with intensity, and characters who provide us with charm, amusement and insights.

Highly recommended.
Reviewer:  Ted Feit

Jo Nesbø is a Norwegian author and musician. He was born 29 March 1960 in Oslo, Norway.  As of March 2014 more than 3 million copies of his novels have been sold in Norway, and his work has been translated into over 40 languages, selling 23 million copies.

Ted and Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, NY, a few miles outside New York City.  For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications.  Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're now retired, they're able to indulge that passion.  Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US.  On a more personal note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine grandchildren between them.

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