In 2013 it was announced that Jo Nesbo had written three short novels under the pseudonym Tom Johansen. Midnight Sun is the second of these novels, sometimes captioned as Blood on Snow Book 2, which has very little to do with Blood on Snow apart from mentioning the Oslo drug-dealer ‘The Fisherman’ and not being a Harry Hole story.
The main character, Jon, on the run from The Fisherman after a botched ‘fix’ finds himself on the Finnmark Plateau. The midnight sun is a phenomenon that happens in the summer in places north of the Arctic Circle, when the sun remains visible at midnight. It is a good title given the story’s setting and perhaps also relates to the hope of salvation being a constant presence in the tale.
Jon hopes to find sanctuary amongst the locals in a remote fishing town characterised by odd characters, homemade moonshine and the Laestradians – a strict Christian sect. He hides out in a deserted hunting cabin and befriends a beautiful widow Lea and her young son, Knut. But Jon knows that The Fisherman’s cronies will soon track him down. No-one escapes The Fisherman’s rough justice – we know this from the similar story of an ex-employee on the run in Blood on Snow and are reminded at the top of this tale.
Like Blood on Snow, the writing style is more honed and less rambling than Nesbo’s Harry Hole books. I enjoyed the change of style a lot while still learning more about Nordic culture and the traditions on this remote corner of the country. You don’t have to be a Harry Hole fan to enjoy this book, or even to have read Blood on Snow and while some may moan about having to feast on scraps before the next Hole book is published I was quite happy to do so.