[591]: Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbø

18761910 Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbø
Series: Blood on Snow, #2
Penguin Random House Canada | Hardcover, 288 pp.
November 5th, 2015
Adult Fiction | Crime | Suspense
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars


Jon is on the run. He has betrayed Oslo’s biggest crime lord: The Fisherman.

Fleeing to an isolated corner of Norway, to a mountain town so far north that the sun never sets, Jon hopes to find sanctuary amongst a local religious sect.

Hiding out in a shepherd’s cabin in the wilderness, all that stands between him and his fate are Lea, a bereaved mother and her young son, Knut.

But while Lea provides him with a rifle and Knut brings essential supplies, the midnight sun is slowly driving Jon to insanity.

And then he discovers that The Fisherman’s men are getting closer…


Jo Nesbø’s follow up to his Blood on Snow noir series is what you would expect from his other novels. It features a mostly competent assassin on the run from his former employer. An assassin who has had one reason or another for the life of crime from whom he was trying to escape. The Fisherman from the first book is what ties these two books together. But there’s very little difference from Olav and Jon as both characters were reluctant assassins in one way or another.

HUNTING SEASON

Jon found himself on the run after he failed to deliver on his last assignment. And if there’s one thing he’s sure of about the Fisherman, is that he always finds what he’s after. In the remote northern town of Kåsund, he hopes to find sanctuary among a devout group of people. But he knows that peace is only temporary. Especially if money and drugs were involved.

There, he meets Lea and Knut; a mother and son townsfolk with whom he’d developed a kinship. He would later find out that Lea’s husband was lost at sea, and that they’ve lived a difficult life all through their existence. And with very little fanfare, he falls in love with Lea. He knew he shouldn’t entertain the thought of having a life after everything that’s happened. And with the Fisherman still gunning for his life, he couldn’t give Lea and Knut a future they both deserved.

TAMED PULP FICTION

This book is less deserving of the Scandinavian-noir tag being thrown around when one hears the name, Jo Nesbø. It was even-tempered and surprisingly romantic, which is a bit unusual for the genre, to be honest. The gore, which is characteristic of Nesbø’s books, came at the bitter end. Disappointing as it felt like an addendum more than anything. Regardless of how I felt about this instalment, I still consider Nesbø as my go-to whenever I’m in the mood for crime fiction.

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[507]: Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbø

DSC00035 GOODREADS SUMMARY | Random House Canada | Hardcover, 208 pp. | April 7th, 2014 | Adult Fiction | Thriller | Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


Jo Nesbø is a household name in the suspense/thriller genre. And since I’ve rarely venture out into that aisle of my bookstore, I’ve yet to discover all the hows and the whys he’s so popular. At 208 pages, this book did its damnest to convince me that he is as prolific in the genre as everyone claims him to be.

I get it. I get his style. I get his characters and the brutal violence that he could very well be known for. This man has written a number of books; including a couple of stand-alones that are critically acclaimed. As an inexperienced reader of noir fiction, I’m hardly an expert. But I hope you’ll give me some leeway when I say that Scandinavian thrillers are a different beast altogether. I think did him a disservice when I tagged this book as pulp fiction during the first few chapters of my reading. Truth is, it really is not.

It’s difficult to develop a rapport with a character whose line of work dealt with the murder of suspect characters. But Olav is what you would consider as an assassin with a heart. Depending on the assignment, the chances of him saving a kill is more than likely to happen. He does his research well; he finds anything worth saving before he goes for the kill. It’s a deterrent to success in his line of work. After all, he can’t save everyone. And while he is a killer with a kind heart, he could be also be as cold as a trained assassin could be.

His latest assignment led him to a whole world of trouble. He was to kill the wife of the man who give his assignments. During his usual surveillance, he found out that she was, indeed, cheating. But the circumstances can’t be as black and white. He sees the man beats her before they have sex. He concludes that he was blackmailing her, hence the forced sex. He didn’t anticipate how badly things will turn out when he decided to kill the man instead of his boss’ wife, however.

For such a short novel, Nesbø was able to give Olav depth in characterization: he’s not a very smart man; he’s naive. He killed his father. He can’t rob a bank, or be a pimp. He doesn’t smoke, drink or do drugs. He compares himself to his version of Hugo’s Jean Valjean. He adores his mother. In one of his assignments, he decided to save a deaf-mute girl who was forced into prostitution to pay off a debt. He’s been writing her an unsent letters ever since.

Amidst the violence, blood, and gore, there is something romantic about Olav’s line of work. Or perhaps, it’s Olav himself. Nesbø gave his readers a larger than life character that’s neither good or bad; hero nor villain; a saint, as much as he was a sinner.

Jo Nesbø’s latest work is good enough for inexperienced noir readers. It’s not as evolved as perhaps his Harry Hole series, but highly recommended if you’ve ever thought of trudging through an unexplored genre.

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