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THE SNOWMAN
by Jorg Fauser
Bitter Lemon Press, September 2004
210 pages
8.99GBP
ISBN: 1904738052


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Blum (as in flower in ) is a German lowlife bumming round Malta trying to get shot of some rather ageing Danish porn magazines. He's not exactly being mown down in the rush of prospective customers, and now the police are taking an unhealthy interest in his affairs and want him off the island.

But before he can leave, he meets Rossi, an Italian fixer, who might or might not want the magazines. But no transaction is simple for Blum, and the next thing he knows he's minus magazines, but in possession of a left-luggage ticket from Munich railway station.

So he high-tails it back to Germany and finds himself the owner of five pounds of the best Peruvian cocaine. Blum's looking forward to his cash flow improving immeasurably -- until he tries to get shot of the stuff, that is.

THE SNOWMAN was the debut thriller for German author Jorg Fauser who appears to have lived the kind of life he portrays in his book, first published in 1981. He was apparently a heroin addict and an alcoholic, and was killed in 1987 when he was hit by a lorry whilst walking on a stretch of motorway.

I suppose THE SNOWMAN is a thriller, but not as we know it, Jim. Blum goes careering round Malta, Germany, Holland and Belgium as he tries to get rid of his acquisition, but what happens to him seems almost of secondary interest.

The book isn't a tense page-turner. Instead it's a series of razor-sharp snapshots, tinged with black humour, of people living on the edge or the transients who pass Blum by. Fauser's observations feel so real that you just know they were based on the real people he saw and spent time with. Some of them -- Mr Haq the Pakistani, Hackensack the American, and Larry the Australian traumatised by Vietnam -- pass by time and again.

Chances are THE SNOWMAN will be unlike anything you've ever read. The nearest modern equivalents I can think of are British writers Chris Haslam and David Bowker. If you like spare, sharp, off-the-wall crime fiction, this is one to go for without a doubt.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, September 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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