Saturday, June 20, 2015

Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbø

Blood on Snow: A Novel by JoNesbø; translated from the Norwegian by Neil Smith --- 208 pages

In this novella by the author of the Harry Hole police thrillers, Nesbø takes as his unlikely hero a "fixer" named Olaf. Olaf became a "fixer" (a contract killer) because, he tells us, he failed miserably as a getaway driver, a pimp and a drug dealer. But he's very good at killing people, mostly because he can work alone and at his own pace. 

But now he's been ordered to fix his mobster boss's beautiful, unfaithful wife. Olaf is leery of doing this job, because it will mean he has a hold over his boss. That will make the boss anxious; and who's to say he won't decide to relieve that anxiety by getting rid of Olaf?

Olaf is the narrator of the story, so we see things from his point of view --- which may or may not be entirely reliable. Reportedly the book has already been optioned as a vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio, and the strong visual elements and escalating tension seem ready made for film. (Although DiCaprio would not be my choice for the lead.)

If you haven't read Nesbø before, this would be an intriguing introduction to his brand of  Nordic Noir. It's short enough to read in one sitting, and compulsive enough to make that likely. I certainly couldn't put it down.

Click HERE to read a review from The Guardian.

Click HERE to listen to a review on NPR.

Click HERE to read an opposing viewpoint from the New York Times.

Click HERE to read a review from the Boston Globe.

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