I’m hosting a stop on the blog tour of Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen and all I can say is wow. Honestly. Wow. This was such a great book on every level. To be honest I knew it would be a good read from the synopsis alone but what unfolded was better than I could have imagined. Before I get on with my review, let me tell you what it’s about:
SEPTEMBER 1977. Mette Misvær, a three-year-old girl, disappears without trace from the sandpit outsider her home. Her tiny, close, middle-class community in the tranquil suburb of Nordås 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…
What I say:
I had a feeling this book would be different from the get-go and I was so right. We have Private Investigator Varg Veum on an assignment to figure out what really happened to Mette when she disappeared from the sandpit by her house all those years ago. The mother, Maja, wants some answers before the case is thrown out and she’s permanently left in the dark about Mette.
Veum’s an interesting character and not only because his life is a bit of a mess and he’s a bit of a loner. He seems to step on the other character’s toes during his investigation, and not the right type either. He has to question all those who once lived in the close-knit community, the officers on the case and anyone else who may have something to offer. When he begins, he suspects there’s something completely off about ‘The Mette Case’ but it’s not obvious what it is. (This is the part I’d love to scream and shout about what it really is, but that would be so mean of me.)
The lies, webs of lies, trails of lies and then the cover up of those lies are what make this novel a great read. The plot is intricately woven and there’s multiple things happening at once yet Staalesen finds a way to tell them all so effortlessly. I found myself reading with my mouth open as the immediate questions I had at the beginning of the novel were answered in the most shocking ways. And then there are other interesting things that happen (which I really should have seen coming) just to add extra suspense to this great book.
Staalesen set me up good and proper by making me think it was A and then B and then…D? I’m telling you, the back and forth, the unravelling, the ‘truth’ telling and then the other bits were wonderfully done. I was pleasantly surprised. I also loved Veum as a character, he knew exactly how to make them open up and say what they wouldn’t say to a police officer. And the way he handles himself when he’s in danger, absolutely stellar.
I enjoyed every single moment of reading this book. Even if I had tried to guess where it was going I know I would have been wrong on so many levels. Oh and I’m a huge fan of the way authors get the title in the novel and Staalesen won me over with his insertion of Where Roses Never Die. I’m very interested in reading more about PI Varg Veum.
Thanks to Karen Sullivan from Orenda Books for my ARC – it was a pleasure to read.
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the Where Roses Never Die blog tour.
Where to buy