POVone: The First Person Perspective

Rants and Reviews on Novels Written in the First Person Point of View

Tag Archives: Crime

Book Review: Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo

Author: Jo Nesbo
Title: Blood on Snow
Genre: Suspense
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Knopf (Random House)
Number of Pages: 224
Narrator: Olav
Quality Rating: 68.34

Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo

What’s It About?

Olav is a “fixer.” He works on commission for a wealthy man who gives him assignments that he carries out with precision. Olav has no family and no connections. He is a ghost…and that’s what makes him the perfect contract killer.

Despite killing people for a living, Olav has somewhat of a soft spot. He expresses pity toward some and indifference toward others. When his boss offers him a large sum of money to kill his adulterous wife, he at first thinks it’s going to be just like any other job.

While preparing for the execution, Olav watches his boss’s wife and is drawn to her. Then, he discovers they her “lover” is more of an oppressor. The man is raping her. She keeps quiet, he assumes, because he has information on her that she doesn’t want her husband to know. Instead of killing the boss’s wife, Olav decides to kill the man exploiting her.

When Olav tells his boss about what he did, he discovers the man isn’t just any man. He is someone important. Suddenly, Olav and his boss’s wife find themselves on the run. As he eludes people who are trying to kill him and falls in love with the woman whose life he’s spared, Olav must use all of his cunning to survive while he gets to the bottom of a conspiracy he’s been drawn into.

Should You Read It?

I haven’t read other books by Jo Nesbo, but I’ve heard this one is quite different. The narrator is somewhat of a mentally disturbed and semi-psychotic individual. He is driven by an ambivalence toward human life that manifests itself in many philosophical musings throughout the development of the story. The tone reminded me a lot of Normal, with the crazy narrator being a contract killer rather than a serial killer. While there is much introspection, there are also several interesting plot twists. So, if you enjoy a good thriller with somewhat of a philosophical bent, you might appreciate this story.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Interview with NPR

Book Reviews: Boston Globe, The Guardian, Paste Magazine

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Jo Nesbo: The Son (2014), Phantom (2011), The Leopard (2009), The Snowman (2007)


Book Review: Normal by Graeme Cameron

Author: Graeme Cameron
Title: Normal
Genre: Thriller; Suspense
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Mira (Harlequin)
Number of Pages: 304
Narrator: Unnamed
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B-, Very Good; of the first 41 reviews, the average reader rating was 81.95%.

Normal by Graeme Cameron

What’s It About?

The narrator is a psychopathic serial killer who captures teenage girls and keeps them caged for days in his basement. Once he’s broken them, he takes them out to play “games” with them. When he’s finished, he hacks them to pieces and hauls them off to be burned. His life is perfect–but then that perfect life begins to unravel.

First, the police begin to close in on him–suspecting him of being connected to a recent disappearance. Then, as he’s caught up in the investigation, the unthinkable happens–he falls in love. The more time he spends with this woman he met at the grocery store, the more he wants to change. But it might just be too late for him.

Meanwhile, he’s been keeping the same girl in his basement for months. Her tenacity perplexes him, and he just can’t seem to let her go. When his prisoner turns out to be more formidable than he could have imagined, his new love is suddenly put at risk. How will he defend her? And, more importantly, how will she react when she finds out the truth about him?

Should You Read It?

If you like the kind of psychological thriller that really gets into the mind of a serial killer, you’ll love this book. The psychotic narrator is perfectly mercurial–at times utterly indifferent and at times filled with a strange longing. Aside from its nature as a psychological thriller, Normal also paints a vivid picture of what it’s like to be backed into a corner–trapped by circumstances with no hope of getting free. If this sounds appealing to you, give it a shot.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter

Book Reviews: Kirkus Reviews, Books Biscuits and Tea, I Heart Reading, Mischievous Reads

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Graeme Cameron: Normal is Graeme Cameron’s debut novel.

Book Review: Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik

Author: Lili Anolik
Title: Dark Rooms
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Number of Pages: 329
Narrator: Grace Baker
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B-, Very Good; of the first 32 reviews, the average reader rating was 81.25%.

Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik

What’s It About?

Grace Baker is an ordinary, middle-class teenage girl living in Hartford, Connecticut. Just as she is about to graduate high school and move on to a prestigious liberal arts college, her younger sister Nica is murdered. When the murder goes unsolved, Grace decides to put off college and stay in Hartford to seek out her sister’s killer.

As she works through her list of potential suspects, she is forced to deal with the fall out from Nica’s death. Her father has become listless and spends most of his days sulking. Her mother has left her father and moved away to be by herself. On top of her parents’ issues, Grace realizes that she is pregnant–and she honestly doesn’t remember having slept with anyone recently.

Working with her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Grace begins to investigate her sister’s circle of close friends. The more leads Grace gets on her sister’s murder, the more she realizes that her family isn’t exactly what it seems. Her sister, it turns out, had secrets that Grace knew nothing about. And the revelation of these secrets ultimately lead Grace to discovering the mystery behind Nica’s death.

Should You Read It?

This book has been rightly compared to the writings of Megan Abbott and Gillian Flynn, as well as to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. The story–with its cast of sex-crazed, counter-cultural characters–can be described as a psychological soap opera. As the plot develops, the mystery builds around tangled relationships and sexual secrets. While it is a murder mystery, the intrigue¬†has less to do with the murder than it does with the web of secrets leading up to it. If you’re into that sort of thing, I would definitely give this book a read.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Vanity Fair Interview

Book Reviews: LA Review, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, BookPage

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Lili Anolik: Dark Rooms is Lili Anolik’s debut novel. However, she is an accomplished popular journalist and currently works for Vanity Fair.

Book Review: Where All the Light Tends to Go by David Joy

Author: David Joy
Title: Where All the Light Tends to Go
Genre: Literary, Southern, Grit
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (Random House)
Number of Pages: 272
Narrator: Jacob McNeely
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B, Very Good; of the first 59 reviews, the average reader rating was 83.05%.

Where All the Light Tends to Go by David Joy

What’s It About?

Jacob McNeely, the reluctant son of a prosperous small-town meth dealer, tells the story of the few weeks following the high school graduation of his childhood friend and lover. While he wants to reconnect with her, he tries to keep her at an arm’s length. He knows he is destined to follow in his father’s footsteps, and he doesn’t want to hold her back.

As the story proceeds, Jacob gives us a gritty portrayal of what it’s like to grow up in rural, drug-ridden Western North Carolina. Working for his father, he sees firsthand the corruption of local law enforcement, the suffocating fear of those caught up in the drug ring, and the brutality of the business. All of Jacob’s observations and actions culminate in an overriding sense of hopelessness and feeling of being trapped.

When an a opportunity arises to escape his life in the rural south and go off to the city while his girlfriend attends college, he must tie up lose ends in the business in order to leave. Dealing with the deteriorating mental state of his drug-addicted mother, a murder investigation involving his father’s business, and his girlfriend’s own doubts about her potential, one question looms heavily across Jacob’s narrative: will he get out?

Should You Read It?

If you’re a fan of the grit lit genre, you’ll love this book. Where All the Light Tends to Go fits right into the tales of corruption, lawlessness, and desperation in the rural American south such as Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men. The novel is graphic in its descriptions of the lifestyle Jacob is born into, and there is plenty of movement–a lot of things happening. For a literary novel, it’s certainly a page turner. But there is also a fair amount of introspection and internal dialogue. If you like something fast-paced and–at the same time–a little more high brow, you might enjoy this book.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Huffington Post, Kirkus Reviews

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books by David Joy: Where All the Light Tends to Go is David Joy’s debut novel, but he has written a memoir–Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman’s Journey.