A(nother) Year of Orenda – Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen

Today Mandie continues her series catch up with a review of Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen. The second of the Varg Veum series released by Orenda Books, I reviewed it last year and you can find my thoughts here. Here’s what the book is about:

Source: Amazon
Release Date: 01 June 2016
Publisher: Orenda Books

About the Book

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.

Mandie’s Thoughts

All I can say about this book is wow. Where Roses Never Die starts about 3 years after the events in We Shall Inherit the Wind. Varg Veum is still coming to terms with what happened to his partner Karin and the part he believes he had to play in it all. When he is approached by Maja Misvær to reinvestigate the case of her daughter Mette who went missing some 25 years earlier, Veum is not sure that he will be able to help, after all it happened such a long time ago and cold cases are never easy to solve. In order to get a sense of the case he contacted an old adversary who had worked on the original case. Although you know they don’t like each other, you do sense that at the end of the day they do want to once and for all put the case to bed and give Maja some kind of closure, whatever form that may take.

As Veum digs into the case, interviewing all the residents of the estate that are still around, he certainly uncovers some secrets that a lot of people have tried to keep hidden for a very long time. It also puts him in the firing line of some very violent people due to an initial case of mistaken beliefs but in a way does have some links to the case he is working on.

This is not a simple case of child abduction. What is uncovered shows that actions have consequences, sometimes in ways you could not imagine. At the start of the book you can’t help but feel sorry for Maja and what she has suffered, and that feeling doesn’t go away but the guilt she feels about that day no matter the outcome, should stay with her too. There were moments that I wondered where the story would lead as the psychological scars of the children on the estate where Mette went missing were uncovered and it certainly made me read on in the hope I would be proved wrong.

The more I read of this series, the more I am getting to like Varg Veum. He has many flaws and he is aware of them, but there is something about his nature that makes him good at what he does. He will go down every avenue, investigate every little bit of information he gets, no matter if at first glance it does not appear to be relevant, or if it will put him in danger. To a certain extent, you feel like he is hoping that solving this case one way or another will give him some sense of peace again in his life. And there is certainly a glimmer of that. Hopefully I will find out how it works out when I delve further into the series as I know I can’t wait to read about future cases.

About the Author

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty-three titles, which have been published in twenty-six countries and sold over five million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is currently being filmed. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives in Bergen with his wife.

Books by Gunnar Staalesen

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