I have read good things about Jo Nesbo but had never had the change to read any of his books for myself. I decided to change that by picking up his new, short novel, “Blood on Snow,” and seeing for myself if his writing lives up to the hype.
Olav would never be known for his intelligence. He could never be a driver because he was not good at driving fast. He too often thought with his heart instead of his head. He fumbled around early in life looking for a way to make it in the world until he found his true talent. Olav was a talented “fixer.” When there was a mess to be eliminated and covered up, he was one of the best and maybe even the best. He was smart enough to get the job done but not so smart that he would ask too many questions. He often wondered what would happen if he became the thing that his boss needed “fixed.” He may soon find out.
When Olav got the assignment to “fix” the boss’s wife, he knew that this job was trouble. It was, however, a way out for him. With the money he would get, he could retire from the life of crime and even leave the country. Things were going smoothly as Olav started surveillance on the target. Things got complicated when he began to empathize with, and eventually love, the woman he was supposed to kill. When the moment came to complete the job, Olav was going to make the choice of his life. Now he had to find a way to survive.
One thing that I was immediately struck with when I started “Blood on Snow” is the easy way in which the narrative flows. Nesbo has a grasp of the written word and how to craft a story and this was immediately apparent. It was easy to slide right into the narrative and relate to Olav even though he is not the most noble of characters. The story was immediately entertaining and had my attention from the outset. As it progressed, the strands of the story came together nicely and the narrative held my attention to the end. This is a short novel, maybe even more of a novella, but it packed a fair amount of story and character development as it was handled with a deft hand.
While Nesbo’s writing talent was obvious and I did enjoy the novel, I found the story to be too cliché to really work for me. This is just a retelling of the old tale of a criminal falling in love with his boss’s wife and having to deal with the fallout of that love. There are some twists and turns but very little unexpected in this book. It is a quick read and is good for killing an hour or two in reading if you want an entertaining read that requires little thought or emotional buy in but I have to say that I was underwhelmed with my first Nesbo book. As I already wrote, I can recognize Nesbo’s talent in this book and would gladly read something else from him but this book just did not really work for me in the long run.