Monday, August 1, 2016

Review: Blood on Snow (Audio)

Summary: 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. . . . -- Random House Audio

I know there are some fans out there that swear by Jo Nesbo. I have only read one of his Harry Hole books and I liked it a great deal; and I've added them to my "need to read" list. However, in keeping with my lifelong theme of "too many books, too little time," I decided to first listen to a stand-alone novella that he wrote called BLOOD ON SNOW. I hate to say it, but I wasn't exactly what I was hoping for.

BLOOD ON SNOW tells the story pf Olav, a "fixer" for Daniel Hoffman, a major crime boss in Oslo. It probably goes without saying that Olav has committed his fair share of crimes in his life including brutal murders; however, Olav is also a sensitive soul. When he is hired to "fix" the crime boss's wife Corina, Olav stakes out her apartment. He soon discovers that Corina has a lover who beats her and he finds himself drawn to her. Olav is in a bind because he can't exactly refuse to kill her, but he also knows that he can't kill her because he has fallen in love with her.

Desperate, Olav comes up with a plan... and it's a doozy. He makes a deal with the other major crime boss to take out Hoffman instead. His plan is far from perfect and much can and will go wrong!

I didn't love BLOOD ON SNOW, nor did I hate it. I actually didn't have much feeling either way about this audiobook. It was just okay to me. Olav was an interesting character and I did like how the author juxtaposed his brutal job with his ability to fall in love. He actually was intriguing and likable despite his choice of careers; however, there were parts of the story that I just didn't buy.

On the plus side, there were quite a few twists and turns that made the story exciting. I definitely got the sense that Nesbo can tell a story, and I wouldn't hesitate to pick up more of his books. What I found a little disappointing, though, was that the story was a little predictable. I could see what was coming and I would have appreciated the novella more had I been surprised.

The audiobook was read by Patti Smith and she definitely wasn't one of my favorite narrators. I think I understand what she was trying to do with Olav's character -- he wasn't supposed to be very bright, but her voice and tone sounded very monotone to me... almost to the point where I zoned out when listening. I also was confused by the choice of a woman to narrate the story when it was told through the eyes of a man.

Overall, I think I might have enjoyed BLOOD ON SNOW more had I read it instead of listened to it. Recommended to fans of Nesbo's, but I'm not sure the audio version is the way to go.

Thanks to the publisher for providing an audio review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

I find it interesting that they chose a female narrator for a book like that. I find that I zone out if the narrator's not right for me. Maybe this would have been better in print.

Unknown said...

Yea I thought it was just me. Though I've always thought Patty was an excellent narrator, and I don't mean to seem sexist. Just seems that the violence this audiobook is kinda out there. I love mob stories in any event, so overall I give it 4 stars.