Here comes another review! I feel I’ve been writing plenty of them when it fact it is only the fourth! I’ve experienced a bit with the format of my reviews in March but now it’s Lazy Saturday Review time!
From Lipsyy : I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!
Title: Where Roses Never Die
Author: Gunnar Staalesen
Translator: Don Bartlett
Publisher: Orenda Books
First date of publication: 2016
Source: Review copy
Number of pages: 285
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 expiration 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 crime thriller writers.
Sometimes, all you need is a good one whodunit in the form of a cold case and an investigation done the good old way.
The title attracted me first. Where Roses Never Die; poetic, tragic, and beautiful. Then the cover made me quiver with its cold colors. The mix definitely catches the eye and intrigues.
That’s what the book is about: an intrigue. Poor Mette disappeared from a sandpit decades ago and as the case is about to get closed for good, her mother needs answers. PI are usually interesting to follow, and Varg Veum is definitely one of my favorites now. Yes, he has issues. Yes, he has a heavy background, but his way of thinking and his reactions make him so authentic. He is no super-hero or anti-hero, he is a scarred man with a long past and bills to pay. From the start, I felt comfortable with him. My only complaint is that Where Roses Never Die is the 18th book in a series so there are holes in Veum’s story that get mentioned in the story with no explanation, which is very frustrating when you like a character and enjoy having all the answers! This did not prevent me from falling for the guy and root for him, though! I only wished all books had been translated to meet Veum at the beginning of his journey and go all the way through, but it seems only a few stories are available in English.
I liked that the police were involved, but only at the outskirts of the investigation. They weren’t just missing, this added to the frightening realism of the story. PI often are retired cops and their links in the force is always useful to solve cases. Between the police’s help, sometimes granted, sometimes forced, and the good old work of questioning, Veum digs up more than he expected and what seemed to be a simple missing-child case turns into a Desperate Housewives-like tower of secrets and a dangerous game of guessing. The “neighborood” of the disappearance of the child gave me such a strong claustrophobic feeling I promised myself to never let anyone make me settle in such a place! Thankfully, we also get to travel and see more of the country. I must say I am beginning to really like the cold!
“Nothing is more fatal to a marriage than something both partners know, but neither will talk about.”
With its seemingly easy investigation, Where Roses Never Die surprised me with an easy-flowing writing and more twists that I was hoping for! Layers are added faster than lies leave lips and the list of suspects gives you enough to work with to keep you wondering until the shocking end. And I mean it, shocking end. Where Roses Never Die is a Classic Crime story with a big C: a story that plays with your mind in the best way possible! I know I often make classic rhyme with boring but this time I mean it as a compliment: every key element of the true crime book is here, ready to satisfy even the most seasoned crime readers!
I would like to thank Karen Sullivan for providing me with a copy of this book. This review is my unbiased thank you to her and the author.
You can get the book in your favorite bookstore, on Amazon, or on the Orenda Books’ ebookstore