I was looking for some lighter reads in this stressful COVID period and based on a friend's recommendation I picked up the crime thriller The Snowman by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø. This novel is apparently one of a series built around the central character, a police detective named Harry Hole. This novel is popular enough that it even has a movie adaptation. This turned out to be not surprising once I was reading the book, because it had a Hollywood-like writing and characterization.
Harry Hole is your typical Hollywood burnt-up drunkard detective genius, who has also lost love. When investigating the disappearance of a woman he discovers that for several years now married women have been disappearing after the year's first snow. And in every one of these cases, there was a snowman left outside the home. Harry's boss gives him a small team (enter Katrine Bratt the pretty Hollywood female sidekick) to find out this serial killer who earns the nickname The Snowman.
The fun in a crime thriller is to be kept guessing who among the characters introduced in the book is the real killer. Jo plays the game quite well to be honest, not quite in the same league as Keigo Higashino, but not bad at all. The Norwegian cold environment (which was new to me), the cities of Oslo and Borgen, and the inventive and methodical gruesome murders were all quite engaging. Three different characters are mistakenly declared as the Snowman before revealing the real one - this I believe was the weakest point. Due to this, the novel became longer than necessary and sagged in the second act, else it would have been just as nail biting as the other two acts. All in all, this was a fun and fast read, a good pick for light reading.