Blood On Snow
A novel by Jo Nesbo
Book review by Jules Brenner
Alfred A. Knopf, released 4/7/15, 224 pp., $23.95
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As Olav contemplates the blood dripping onto the snow from the man he had just shot in the chest and neck as a contract hit, he ponders the unusual mix and how the two components would react. He expected the blood would freeze on top of the snow and, when it doesn't, he admits to not knowing a lot about snow -- or, "anything else, for that matter." Which tells us two things.

Olav (named after a King) isn't just a simple assassin, or "fixer" as he and his contractor Daniel Hoffman calls it; and, two, you don't necessarily take him at his word, especially when he's being so modest about himself.

Ordered by the man who gives him "commissions" to come in the next day to hear about his new job, Olav goes on to tell us how he works and how he thinks; about why shooting people is his specialty. He gives us a list of "jobs" he isn't good at and doesn't take.

By now, you're totally hooked into a completely different kind of killer to be found in noir mysteries which, along with many other characteristics lie people who make you ask, "is this guy kidding?." But, hooked, you read on.

Olav, we learn, is also lonely. He thinks of it as a cost of the game he's in as a professional. But, this too is a piece of hot irony that Nesbo is setting up for us in a mix of criminality and ironic humor that's as unpredictable as the first mixture, the one of the title. Except that it's more stylistic than the laws of physics.

He finally finds a woman he could get involved with. Upon seeing her he's two thirds into a full emotional connection and his fertile imagination is working on whether she could feel for him what he feels for her. There is, however, a hitch. She's "the job." The fix. The victim in the boss's latest commission." His world has flipped and he's in new territory, suddenly running on the vapors of unreliable instinct.

Comes a series of betrayals, contradictions and lurid humor, followed by a trail of dead bodies leading to more than one kind of climax.

The stuff of movies? Warner Brother's has bought the rights and Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Great Gatsby") is being thought of for the lead. But, don't wait. The book is too good.

If you don't yet own Blood On Snow and would like to purchase it (usually at a sizable discount), click here.