"Blood on Snow" (Alfred A. Knopf), by Jo Nesbo
From its stunning opening line — "The snow was dancing like cotton wool in the light of the street lamps" — to its surprising and poetic ending, Jo Nesbo's latest novel is a dream.
To call "Blood on Snow" a crime novel would be an immense understatement. It does tell the story of Olav, an understandable and strangely sympathetic, dyslexic contract killer who readily acknowledges that he's not good at much else.
But it's also a beautiful, complicated and skillfully rendered love story: "I held her incredibly carefully, like one of the dried flowers I sometimes found in the pages of books at the library," Nesbo writes.
It's a short, compact and lean book, a novella, really — no extraneous twists or descriptions or even words. But it packs an emotional punch with its gorgeous prose and a taut plot.