Friday, January 30, 2009

What Never Happens by Anne Holt

Anne Holt is a well-known Norwegian author, writing mostly crime-fiction. I have read a couple of her books in the Hanne Wilhelmsen-series, but this one, What Never Happens, is number two book in what I think is going to be a series about psychologist Johanne Vik and her husband, detective Adam Stubo. I haven't read book number one, but I guess that the pair met each other in that one, as they are relatively newly-wed in this one. Not like they've JUST met each other, but they've both been married before.

Johanne is on maternity leave, having just given birth to their first child. She has an older daughter and the newborn girl is also Adam's, second child. On the day the daughter is born, Adam is called away from the maternity ward to have a look at a grisly murder comitted in one of Oslo's fancy neighborhoods. A talk-show star has been brutally killed and there are no clues at all. Or rather, there are a lot of clues, but the Olso murder squad cannot connect the dots and nothing seems to have been odd about this woman, who was killed.

As the trail gets colder, Adam persuades Johanne to have a look at the case-files. Long time ago she studied profiling with one of FBI's most famous behavioral experts, and she knows a thing or two. Johanne is both compulsed and attracted to case. But having a newborn, she is also tired and edgy and extremely jumpy.

She does manage to read some of the files, though, and pretty soon she is into the case big time, even seeing things the police had overlooked. When more murders are comitted, it looks like a serial killer is on the loose, but the things still doesn't add up. Something is off, and neither Johanne, nor the Oslo police can put their finger on it.

At the same time, the readers are following an anonymous woman, whom we know is behind the murders one way or the other from the beginning. But we don't know why and how and who she is, even though we are into her head from the beginning of the book.

The ending left me a bit annoyed as I think that it was too weak. It may lead to a number three book though, which will hopefully explain some of the things I didn't think were througly explained in this one.

All in all not a bad read, but not the best crime-fiction ever. The dialogue between Johanne, Adam and his colleague in the force, Sigmund, was not impressing. It kinda annoyed me a bit and felt forced at places. But again, it wasn't a bad read and I will try and find book number one and also see if there is a book number three.

Dorte from DJ's Krimiblog has also reviewed What Never Happens. Check her review here.
This is part of the Read and Review Challenge.


Krissi said...

Sounds interesting. I think I will add this to my TBR pile.

Beth F said...

I'm always on the look-out for a good series. I'll put this on my radar.

Louise said...

Thanks :-) I liked it, but as you can probably see, it wasn't book of the year ;o)

Bernadette said...

A good review Lou. I've not read any of Holt's although WHAT IS MINE is on my TBR pile somewhere.

Dorte H said...

You are absolutely right that if this book is not followed up, the ending is not satisfactory. What I did like, however, was Anne Holt playing with the author/narrator-role (a Danish reviewer called it ´metafiction´), and my misconceptions about the ´mass murderer´. To avoid spoilers I will not say more.

Anonymous said...

The cover of that book kind of creeps me out.

Louise said...

Well, the book itself aint that creepy, but I agree. The cover does look creepy :o)