The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

"Nesbo", "The snowman"

On a chilly November evening in Oslo Norway, the snow if falling.  It is the first snowfall of the season.  When Jonas awakens in the night he discovers that his mother is gone, and in the yard a snowman has appeared, eerily facing the home instead of the street… and oddly wearing his mother’s scarf around its thick white neck.
Police Investigator Harry Hole is called to the scene of the crime and as the pieces start to fall where they may – Harry starts to see a pattern… many women throughout a series of years that have gone missing, on the first snowfall of a year.  When a letter addressed to him arrives all mysterious and creepy, Harry starts to see that he too is becoming a part of the killers master plan…
It looks like The Snowman may be a movie some day...

Jo Nesbo is an author I have heard much about.  I liked the titles and covers of his books and have felt for some time now that getting a Nesbo book under my belt was a must do.

Having now done that, I think I can check Nesbo off my “to do” list and move on.

What I liked about the book:  I can understand the fanship that has been created around Nesbo’s books.  He is well written, and the storyline is dark, yet fascinating.  The crime itself is well thought out and detailed so you can not only understand how Harry picks up on the clues and moves forward, but you can also understand how the killer thinks as well.  Well yes, CREEPY, it is also very well-developed both factual and fictionally.  The narration by Robin Sachs is melt in your mind fantastic!

What I didn’t like about the book:  Harry Hole (oh don’t even get me started on his name...) is in my humble and honest opinion… disgusting.   The language in the book at times made me cringe, even more so, the actions and descriptions of the many sexual acts that Harry is involved in made me come close to shutting off the audio many times and making an understandably DNF (Did Not Finish) claim to the book and move on.

Why I didn’t turn it off:  Unfortunately for me, and probably a win for Nesbo, is that if you could take out all the language and crap that made me want to vomit, the story line is a good one.  While this book as a whole did not appeal to me, I can see why it does appeal to others.  Nesbo can write great characters (ummm… not in their character itself, but as characters….) and great realistic descriptions.

Will I read Nesbo again?  Most likely no, while I did enjoy the writing, he would have to change into a completely different format for me to even consider cracking open one of his books or pushing play without cringing on an audio player. 

I had heard a murmur that these books were a bit like Stieg Larsson’s writing (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), which I had only read one of his books but did not finish the series, I personally feel this book is darker and cruder that Stieg Larson ever was.

Ok, I will quit beating a dead horse…. errr, snowman here. 

Now… just because I love doing Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking, and I also love tying food into books I read… I am adding a simple recipe, but one that I would totally use if my book club was going to read this book (and I assure you, they are not!) as a group..

Cherries In The Snow

  • 1 (8-ounce) tub fat-free cream cheese
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 (12-ounce) carton frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
  • 8 cups (1-inch) cubed angel food cake
  • 1 (20-ounce) can light cherry pie filling


Beat cream cheese at medium speed of a mixer until smooth. Gradually add the sugar, beating until blended. Gently fold in whipped topping.

Place half of cake cubes in a large glass bowl; top with half of cheese mixture. Spread half of cherry filling over cheese mixture. Repeat layers with remaining cake cubes, cheese mixture, and cherry filling. Cover and chill.

*Not my recipe, this is from a favorite recipe site:  My

Goodreads Review

Here are some other reviews on The Snowman by bloggers I respect:

Leeswammes Reviews

Literate Housewife

Rhapsody In Books

Book Chase

You’ve Gotta Read this!

This audio was a win and a thank you to Jennifer from Literate Housewife,

even though I did not love this one, I am thankful for the

opportunity to experience Nesbo.

42 thoughts on “The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

  1. Sorry you didn’t like this one! I don’t think it’s representative – I think they picked this one of his to publish first because it suited American audiences more (with the love of violence and grotesqueness) but that’s just a guess. But gosh, I haven’t seen Cherries in the Snow forever! Reminds me of growing up! :–)

    1. Have you read others of his Jill? I am curious if all of his books are so…. graphic? Its not even the murders I mind, it is the language and some of the crude acts. I seen by other reviews that I am once again on Minority Row….LOL 😀

      1. I have read all of his! :–) I read a lot of mysteries and I guess after a while I have gotten to the point where I just sort of tune out the graphic stuff. The only stuff I really can’t tune out is if there is detail of sexual or child abuse – then I’m out of there! But the other stuff I just sort of gloss over. I mean, you almost have to because so many mysteries are like that. Although I will say that the last Pelecanos book I read, I was getting mighty turned off by the language – it made Nesbo seem like a Sunday School book! I don’t know – my husband thinks killers and other unsavory people should SOUND like they do in real life, and I think that since we (hope) not to know such people, can’t we just have them sound a little better? LOL

  2. Thanks for the heads up. I had considered reading Jo Nesbo’s series but now that I know how crude they are, I will refrain from doing so. A terrific storyline is one thing, and definitely a draw, but I don’t think I could get beyond all the language and such.

  3. Staci@LifeintheThumb

    The cake looks wonderful! 😀 I really enjoyed my first Nesbo book and look forward to the other ones I have. I appreciate that you tried this author and now you have me wondering about the audio at some point!

  4. Peggy@Peggy Ann's Post

    Snowman was quite a departure for me with the sex and language but it was a good thriller plot wise. I love the Cherries in the snow!

    1. Thats the thing Peggy, if I could take about the book without all that other stuff I would have really enjoyed it – I love a good well written thriller, unfortunately I thought there was a lot of stuff added that would have made the book even better without it.

      I dont always mind language – if it seems like it is appropriate to the scene that is being written or as a reaction – I get that…. but this just seemed unnecessary additives.

  5. I can’t remember much about Harry Hole now, but I think you are right – he is an unsavory character. I didn’t like him at all, I think. I enjoyed the book more than you but I’m not hurrying to read more by Nesbo either.

  6. I did read the whole Stieg Larson series and it was a bit too graphic for me. I’ve heard about this writer but now I know I don’t have to read it. Harry Hole is not a character I need to know.

  7. lisabutterybooks

    The Snowman definitely kept my interest but there was some things that just didn’t make sense (can you really sit on a snowman without it collapsing?) The recipe looks delicious!

  8. I’m so glad you reviewed this one – I’ve been considering starting the series, but the Scandinavian authors seem to all write such dark stories! And now that you mentioned the parts that made you want to vomit – well, I think I’ll cross this off my “possibly-to-read” list.

    1. Ryan I am trying to find out if all the books are this crude, I know several books have to do with this character – I am unsure if he has written books beyond that. I hate to run people off to books, but this one had to be said. 🙂

  9. Beth F

    I’ve been planning to read Nesbo and will likely still give the first one a try. Thanks for the warnings though! The dessert looks so pretty. Scatter a few blueberries on top and you have the perfect Fourth of July dish!

  10. I love me some Scandinavian crime thrillers. Point to ponder: Why do the people in the the most peaceful and socially-conscious countries on the planet (Sweden and Norway) write the most twisted books!?!?! (not that I’m complaining)

  11. I had already tried and put aside The Redbreast before reading your review of The Snowman because I didn’t care for the writing. I don’t remember being disturbed by the language, but I guess the book just didn’t appeal. But now that you’ve told me Robin Sachs does the audio narration…Well, that changes everything! His reading of The Last Werewolf was perfect. (Lots of language, etc. in that one, too, though.)

  12. Angie S.

    Cherries in the snow was a great tie in to a book that I probably will not read. As I’m reading your review I am thinking that this sounds like a fantastically suspenseful book…until you got to the part about the crude language and sexual acts. That type of book, as you know, is not my kind of thing, so THANKS for the warning! 🙂

  13. I haven’t read a Nesbo yet myself but got one for my husband since he is a fan of thrillers (not The Snowman, though – something with a robin on the cover…The Redbreast?). Anyway, he liked it. I hadn’t heard that The Snowman was so graphic, though I guessed it might be from comparisons to Larsson. I wonder if that aspect might have been more tolerable reading rather than listening?

    Nice, thorough review!


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