‘Blood on Snow’ a surprising thriller _lowres

'Blood On Snow' by Jo Nesbo

“Blood on Snow” by Jo Nesbo. Knopf, 2015. $23.95.

I have enjoyed other books by Jo Nesbo, a Norwegian crime author who has exploded onto the scene in the last couple of years, but they were all part of his Harry Hole series, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this standalone novel.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a compact thriller that moved along at a quick pace. Nesbo’s other books, many in the 400 to 500-page range, can seem weighed down with exhausting details, but “Blood on Snow” is so short that it will keep you engaged until the end. The story centers around Olav, who tells you up front that he has failed at many types of crime but found his niche as a “fixer.” As in someone who kills people to make problems go away.

Yet, Nesbo draws him as a sympathetic man who is just doing a job. The flashes of violence are much shorter than the descriptions of Olav’s life outside his work, solidifying the conclusion that he is more than a simple killer. I read with a chilly feeling of dread as I waited to see if Olav would have the happy ending he seemed to deserve.

Fans of Harry Hole or Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series will enjoy this book in an afternoon or two.