Friday, March 21, 2014
In the first chapter of the novel, a teen boy named Alex is left home alone for the weekend. While he is innocently trying decide which computer games to play without interruption, the house begins to shake, thunder sounds louder than he's ever heard, and he ends up pulling himself from the rubble pile that is his home. No one in his small town seems to know what is going on, but a strange substance begins to fall from the sky and doesn't quit - the ash from a distant mega-volcano. The struggle that ensues for Alex, who tries desperately to get back to his family a couple hours away, is mesmerizing. The ash becomes like the dust in the American Dust Bowl era, covering everything and killing people and animals who breathe it in and destroying the natural resources by suffocating them. Along the road, Alex is met with struggles of violence both from other people and the desolate environment and altered weather patterns that follow the volcano's destruction. He does find a friend, Darla, along the way, who is both a hindrance and a help in his survival but who helps him retain his humanity in a very inhumane setting.
I'm not quite sure why I couldn't put Ashfall down. It was dark and dystopian, yes, but the idea of the ash and the struggle and randomness of the characters Alex meets was like no other. It seemed very real and unbelievable at the same time, and while the journey had a pattern and rhythm to it, it was so exciting, I couldn't wait to see if he made it to his family. I also can't wait to read the second in the series, Ashen Winter, and all Mullin's fans anxiously await the newest and last book, Sunrise, which comes out soon.
So I couldn't help myself and thought I'd start at the beginning, with the first Harry Hole mystery. Getting to see the inspector as a young pup just starting out and beginning his good-natured self-destruction was very fun and dark at the same time, and the premise of this one was every bit as intriguing as The Snowman.
In The Bat, Harry travels to Australia after the movie of a celebrity from Norway is killed. He befriends his "partner" in the police department and learns about the lives and prejudices regarding modern Aboriginals. He also becomes romantically involved with a witness, which adds some spice to Harry's character. Will these relationships get in the way of the investigation?
This first novel, while a little less polished perhaps than Nesbo's The Snowman, was nonetheless completely readable and unpredictable, and we can really see why everyone fell in love with Harry Hole. Give this series a try!
The Valley Book Club chose this Norwegian thriller for its discussion in February, and I was so glad. I had always wanted to read one by this very popular author, and I was not disappointed. It was filled with suspense, cool characters (no pun intended), and a little gore thrown in for good measure. Love it!
Inspector Harry Hole is known for his stellar insights and knowledge of serial killers. (Note that this is the 7th Harry Hole mystery by Nesbo, but don't let that deter you from reading anywhere on the list. It was my first and didn't bother me a bit that I hadn't read others.)This new case began with a little boy discovering that his mother was not at home, and she had left without her pink scarf, an item she cherished. When police find the scarf wrapped around a snowman in the back yard, they discover the gruesome truth, and this calling card leads them to other murders. The last of which gets very personal for Harry.
If you like creepy, dark, and spell-binding, then Jo Nesbo and The Snowman are for you. You may want to go back and read all the Harry Hole mysteries. I know I do.