I am delighted to be today's stop on the blog tour for Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen, which was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 1 June 2016. Here's my review.
Where Roses Never Die
By Gunnar Staalesen
Published by Orenda Books (Paperback - 1 June 2016)
September 1977. Mette Misvær, a three-year-old girl disappears without trace from the sandpit outside her home. Her tiny, close middle-class community in the tranquil suburb of Nordas is devastated, but their enquiries and the police produce nothing. Curtains twitch, suspicions are raised, but Mette is never found. Almost 25 years later, as the expiry date for the statute of limitations draws near, Mette’s mother approaches PI Varg Veum, in a last, desperate attempt to find out what happened to her daughter. As Veum starts to dig, he uncovers an intricate web of secrets, lies and shocking events that have been methodically concealed. When another brutal incident takes place, a pattern begins to emerge … Chilling, shocking and full of extraordinary twists and turns, Where Roses Never Die reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.
Set in Norway in 2002, Where Roses Never Die is a slow burning private investigator novel. It's an intriguing and gripping read and darker than it initially appears.
The book is set three years after the previous book, We Shall Inherit the Wind. Private investigator Varg Veum is struggling with his inner demons, turning to alcohol to get through each day and to escape his memories, until an unexpected visitor turns up at his door. A woman begs him to investigate the disappearance of her little girl 25 years earlier and Veum reluctantly takes on the case. Through his investigations, he discovers that the victim of a recent armed bank robbery lived in the same complex as the little girl. Could there be a link between the two?
Gunnar Staalesen is a talented storyteller, bringing together various different subplots. Writing in the first person, he gets right into the heart of disturbed family dynamics and relationships. The complex dark and emotional side to his narrative and dialogue provides a window to Veum's own inner turmoil.
Veum investigates crimes the old fashioned way - by interviewing people associated with the case, visiting scenes of the crime, asking questions, nosing into people's business and thinking everything through. He works alone and there's very little police procedural in the book - this is very much a 'one man show'.
Where Roses Never Die isn't hailed with big fanfares or highlights of unexpected twists - yet the many twists, turns and red herrings kept me engrossed all the way through. The tension builds up gradually as secrets are revealed, yet the story moves quickly and I read it in just two sittings. It's cunningly plotted and kept me guessing right until the end, when I not only gasped but also shed a tear as all was revealed.
A perfect choice for fans of Nordic Noir as well as intense chilling crime fiction.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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