Crime & Beyond Wiki

We started off 2016 at Crime & Beyond with an old favorite, author Jo Nesbø. I say old favorite, but he’s actually only a favorite to about half the group. To be clear, that would be the half that likes blood and gore. You know who you are. The other half, those of a gentler nature, who maybe didn’t enjoy the concept of Leopold’s Apple, really aren’t big fans of this Norwegian author. But if you keep reading, you’ll see that many of them were pleasantly surprised. As if you didn’t plan to continue reading.


Blood on Snow treat

Janine read us a quote from the book that really captured the feel of the story and our protagonist, hired killer Olav: “The dry, windswept snow was settling around the shoes of the man I just shot in the chest and neck.”

So Olav is a “fixer” for a top crime boss in Oslo, Norway. He’s hired to kill the boss’s wife for cheating, but Olav can’t bring himself to kill the woman after observing her for a few days and realizing that her lover is abusing her. So he kills her lover instead. When he reports back to his boss and tells him what he’s done, he finds out he’s just killed the boss’s son. Oops. What’s a fixer to do? Well, hide the wife, sleep and fall in love with her, try to broker a deal with a competing crime boss to kill the first one, and save his own skin in the process so he can run off with the wife to Paris.

A great plan on paper, I’m sure, but pulling it off proves much harder and Olav ends up in an elaborate, yet funny, situation at a funeral as he waits in a coffin to ambush his former boss and a bloodbath follows. A bloodbath that is still a lot less bloody than any Harry Hole novel, to be sure. This leads me to the book club’s comments on the book.

We really gave the book high scores on the whole. 11 of the 19 scores were 7 and above. Sharon, who joined us on Facetime courtesy of webmaster Jeff, gave it a 9.5 and was our highest scorer. The high scorers really liked Olav’s character and thought that it was a fast read and an enjoyable one (um obviously, they were the high scorers). They liked Nesbø’s writing. Ashley had read this book described as the equivalent of a high school writing assignment. But she quickly pointed out that that idea appealed to her and she would enjoy reading a high school writing assignment—in your face critics! But alas, Ashley only gave it a 4 and the book has ruined Norway for her, she feels no need to travel there. We liked that the book was under 200 pages (both the high and low scorers agreed on that one). Judy felt like it was something Nesbø whipped up as a short story and made into a book. She diligently and dubiously compared Olav to our dearly beloved, if dead, Dexter. The funeral scene farce was liked by all.

Even those who rated the book with a high score had a few negative things to say about it. Dave was heard to exclaim, “oh no, Jo” to describe his exasperation at the author’s messed up narrator. Dennis said that it was interesting to see the tender side of a murderer, but boy did he make an irritating narrator. Denise pointed out Olav’s Oedipus complex, which I didn’t catch but completely agree with. Some liked the first person narrative and others didn’t. Where some were sad that Olav died in the end, others were happy. MANY of us were confused as hell about where real life ended and Olav’s dying fantasy began. I am always going to think deaf mutes are simply French people too shy to speak. It was interesting that Olav died, frozen to the shop window (field trip next Winter to Oslo, Ashley is planning it).

Since Corina and the Fisherman are still alive, there is a sequel. It came out in November of last year and is called Midnight Sun: Blood on Snow 2. Somehow I don’t think Jeff will put this on the book list.

The movie that was mentioned at the meeting was Point of No Return starring Bridget Fonda, Gabriel Byrne and Dermot Mulroney.

Riddle: Where does Olav go to meet women? Answer: A Fixer Mixer

Next month we are reading Crazy Love You by Lisa Unger. Dennis is leading and bringing snacks. See you on February 22nd.