It’s Musing Mondays, an event hosted by Miz B at her blog should be reading . Here is my response.
I recently bought and read Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman. Jo Nesbo is a successful thriller writer from Norway. He writes in the genre called Nordic Noir. From what I gather, “Nordic Noir” = crime plus snow plus darkness plus a lot of brooding.
I bought the book last week because I was feeling a little sick and a little down because Minnesota had transformed from a bright, colorful land of bounty and good cheer to a gray, icy whirlwind of snow and highway destruction. In other words, I was already in a dark and brooding place where Nordic Noir seemed appropriate.
Harry Hole is a dark, brooding, alcoholic inspector who has a knack for catching serial killers. (He already caught one in the other Nesbo novel I read. That one was called The Bat and was set in Australia.) This time he is on the hunt for a serial killer who, after cutting up women into different body parts, leaves a snowman as his trademark.
Nesbo is a competent writer of thrillers, and the plot has many twists and turns. Just when you think you’ve figured out whodunit, you realize you still have 200 pages to go, so you must be wrong. Eventually, after what must be half the population of Norway is killed off, Hole does figure out whodunit. If you like thrillers, I would recommend one by Nesbo.
I tend to read mysteries/thrillers/crime novels when I’m down and tired and don’t have mental energy for anything else. I enjoy reading mysteries set in other countries. However, I realize it gives me a really skewed idea of other places. I’ve never been to Sweden or Norway, but from what I hear, they are lovely places to live. But after reading Jo Nesbo and Stieg Larsson, a person could be forgiven for thinking these Nordic places are filled to the brim with sadists and serial killers.
And if you turn to Denmark as a relief from all the crazed Nordic murderers, you’d be making a big mistake. Denmark is the setting of my favorite thriller of all: Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg.
Clearly, there is no relief from terror in the snowy northland. You’ll have to go south, way south, to get away from all that Nordic mayhem. I’ve heard the Middle East is nice.