The Mumsnet Bloggers Network has just sent me a copy of Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo and it kept me glued to my driving seat all the way up the M1 and into North Yorkshire. It’s exciting, pacy and compelling – just as you’d expect from a writer who’s been dubbed the king of Scandinavian crime fiction.
Blood on Snow is the tale of Olav Johansen, a loner who doesn’t have a krone to his name, let alone friends, family or even a mobile phone. He lives in a dingy Oslo flat, had a troubled relationship with his late father (there’s quite a back story) and works as a “fixer.” To put it bluntly, Olav “fixes” people. Fixes them for good.
At the start of this four-hour unabridged audiobook Olav’s ruthless boss has just handed him a new assignment. The fly in the ointment is that he wants Olav to kill his wife. Not only that, when Olav actually sets eyes on her he has other ideas.
I’d probably have enjoyed this book anyway but the aspect that really set it apart for me was the choice of narrator – the legendary singer and punk poet Patti Smith. Jo Nesbo has apparently always admired Patti Smith’s music and when he heard that she liked his Harry Hole series he asked her to narrate Blood on Snow.
It took a few minutes to get used to Patti Smith’s deadpan, gravelly tones and the fact that an American woman is reading the first-person account of a young Norwegian man. But from there on in I was hooked. Nesbo’s writing is beautiful and actually, Patti Smith’s monotone voice is perfect for a young man who is far more complex and yes, sympathetic, than it first appears. And as you’d expect from Nesbo there’s an unexpected twist at the end that I definitely didn’t see coming.
You can listen to an extract here, so do let me know what you think.