I’m reading Jo Nesbø’s Headhunters – a crime thriller about a suave Norwegian headhunter, Roger Brown, who moonlights as an art thief to supplement his income and fund his expensive life style.  Using information he accesses through interviews of prospective clients, Brown breaks into their houses to steal their art.  He’s successful until he meets Clas Greve, who owns a priceless Rubens.   The steady civilized plot suddenly explodes when Brown finds something (no spoiler here) under Greve’s bed, and his life changes into a series of shock waves.

Although the book was first published in Norway in 2008, it was not available in the United States until 2011.  Dubbed the new Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Nesbø offers suspense and surprising plot twists.

So far, I’m happily reading into the night – skipping over the disgusting outhouse scene.  Having just read his children’s book, Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder, I wonder if Nesbø  has thought of any escapes other than through feces – yuck.

Read reviews of other books by Nesbø:

Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder – a children’s tale by the author of The Snowman

If you were in fourth grade, even saying the word “fart” would make you laugh.  In Jo Nesbø’s Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder, Lisa, looking for a new friend, connects with Nilly, the short new boy in town, to sell Doctor Proctor’s new invention – a powder that can deliver odorless and noisy flatulence.

Although I’ve enjoyed Nesbø’s scary adult crime tale of The Snowman, his children’s stories are new to me.  Translated from Norwegian, the prose can seem strange at times, but offers young readers the opportunity to learn more about another place, for example, May 17th is  Norwegian Independence Day – and also, the perfect venue for using Doctor Proctor’s powder to make more noise.

Nilly and Lisa use the powder to ward off the school bullies, and revel in their new popularity – until the bullies steal the powder.  More excitement follows as Nilly escapes from jail by flushing himself down the toilet, only to be swallowed by an anaconda in the Norwegian sewers.

Nesbø is fun and ridiculous  – and, like his books for adults, he includes a diabolical twist.  Fourth graders might enjoy the bathroom humor too.

Read a Review of  – The Snowman

The Snowman

 Although I live in a climate where no snowman could survive – unless he were made of shave ice – Jo Nesbø’s  tale of a serial killer in The Snowman is so real, I keep looking for one to pop up.

Harry Hole, the Norwegian police detective, has a mold problem in his apartment, and I’m wondering if this has anything to do with the cold-blooded murderer he is tracking. Of course, the killer has sent him a note too – a clue that will lead to the Snowman.

With his intrepid team, Harry pursues the killer, as more body parts – and snowmen – appear in the cold Norwegian landscape at each new snowfall; one shows up in a freezer; another on an ice rink. The deadly pursuit keeps going, and sometimes it’s hard to keep all the victims and suspects straight.  One of my favorite characters is Tresko- the poker-player with the terrible foot odor – fis (literally means toe fish, but Harry Hole calls it toe-fart), who spots the liar’s “tells” by observing the potential killer on TV.

“What separates the best from the rest is the ability to read others.”

Every time I think it’s over, it’s not, and the story has another exciting twist.  The killer is evil with a vendetta  – and the suspense is killing me.

Although this tale is from Norway, the gruesome details resemble Swedish writer Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, but  Harry Hole has been around in Jo Nesbø’s fiction since 1997.  This was my first encounter with the Oslo investigator, but five others preceded The Snowman – with the next in this exciting series already translated and ready for release – The Leopard.