Wednesday 24 May 2017



From the internationally acclaimed author of the Harry Hole novels - a fast, tight, darkly lyrical stand-alone novel that has at its center the perfectly sympathetic antihero: an Oslo contract killer who draws us into an unexpected meditation on death and love. 

This is the story of Olav: an extremely talented "fixer" for one of Oslo's most powerful crime bosses. But Olav is also an unusually complicated fixer. He has a capacity for love that is as far-reaching as is his gift for murder. He is our straightforward, calm-in-the-face-of-crisis narrator with a storyteller's hypnotic knack for fantasy. He has an "innate talent for subordination" but running through his veins is a "virus" born of the power over life and death. And while his latest job puts him at the pinnacle of his trade, it may be mutating into his greatest mistake. . . .

A few thoughts on a book I read back in January.........

Our main character is a hit man and I do like my hit man novels - tick one

Nesbo keeps it short and sweet - 188 pages including the first chapter of the sequel Midnight Sun - tick two

Setting - Oslo in the Winter...
The snow was dancing like cotton wool in the light of the street lamps. - tick three

Fine descriptive writing - see above - tick four

Fine descriptive writing that doesn't interfere with the pace of the story - tick five

An intriguing plot - our hit man has some decision-making to do - defy the boss and there's no turning back - tick five

As Blackadder once said - "more twists and turns than a twisty-turny thing" - well maybe not that many, but enough to keep this reader on his toes - tick six

Finale - a bit of a dream-like sequence and perhaps a touch of ambiguity over the outcome, or maybe I'm over-thinking things - I prefer a bit of finality if I'm honest. Perhaps an outing with Midnight Sun would set me straight. - cross one

Overall enjoyable and the best Nesbo I've read yet.

4 from 5

Headhunters and The Bat have been read before. Most of the Harry Hole series waits on the pile for me.

Mr Nesbo probably doesn't need any more new readers, but if you're interested his website is here.

Read in January, 2017
Published  - 2015
Page count - 188
Source - owned purchased copy
Format - second hand paperback


  1. Very glad you enjoyed this as much as you did, Col. I agree with you about Nesbø's writing. His style draws the reader in without slowing down the pace of the story. And he does settings well, too.

    1. Margot - I wish all his other books were this length - I would surely have read them by now if they were! Still I'm sure when the fancy does take me it will be a worthwhile investment of my reading time. Sometime for me less is more though. Agree wholeheartedly on his settings and style.

  2. I've seen the Headhunters film, but I'm one of the few who haven't yet read anything by this author. I like a hitman story too (& can recommend the Lawrence Block Hitman series) so perhaps Blood on Snow could be a start with this author as I'm trying to avoid starting a very long series as I know I'll be compelled to read them all !!

    1. Funny enough I re-read the first Block Keller book in January as well. It was my favourite book that month (not yet posted on it.) I've never gotten past the opener, though I have a few more of them on the pile.

      I have a few other hit men series that I like - Max Allan Collins and Quarry (14 or 15 books though) - I'm maybe 5 or 6 into it. Dan Simmons wrote 3 Joe Kurtz books, I really liked the first but never revisited the rest - Hard as Nails, Hard Freeze and Hard-something else. Plus there's another shortish hit man/assassin series by Loren D. Estleman that might be worth checking out - Peter Macklin is his killer. I love these kinds of books.

    2. Lots of interesting suggestions - I really liked Estleman's Amos Walker series, so I will try his hitman ones next.

    3. I've not tried the Walker series - it seemed a bit too long to get involved in.

  3. I'm another one who thinks everyone has read Harry Hole except me! I expect I'll get to him sometime. The author always sounds really nice.

    1. You and me both then. They are kind of off-putting due to the thickness of the books, I'll have to overcome that at some point.