TITLE: SMILLA'S SENSE OF SNOW
AUTHOR: PETER HOEG, TRANSLATED BY TIINA NUNNALLY
PUBLISHER: FARRAR, STRAUS & GIROUX; 453 PAGES; $21
TITLE: A SIMPLE PLAN
AUTHOR: SCOTT SMITH
PUBLISHER: KNOPF; 335 PAGES; $21
THE BOTTOM LINE: Two ballyhooed books are classic examples of how to -- and how not to -- write a great thriller.
"It's freezing -- an extraordinary 0 degrees Fahrenheit -- and it's snowing, and in the language that is no longer mine, the snow is qanik -- big, almost weightless crystals falling in clumps and covering the ground with a layer of pulverized white frost. December darkness rises...