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Where Roses Never Die

Published Date: 2nd November 2015

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EBook
9781910633106
£5.99
May 2016
Paperback
9781910633090
£8.99
June 2016
Audiobook
B01F7R99EI
£14.99
1st June 2016

Description

 

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.

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‘Gunnar Staalesen is one of my very favourite Scandinavian authors. Operating out of Bergen in Norway, his private eye, Varg Veum, is a complex but engaging anti-hero. Varg means “wolf” in Norwegian, and this is a series with very sharp teeth’ Ian Rankin

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‘A Norwegian Chandler’ Jo Nesbo

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‘Gunnar Staalesen was writing suspenseful and socially conscious Nordic Noir long before any of today’s Swedish crime writers had managed to put together a single book page … one of Norway’s most skillful storytellers’

Johan Theorin

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‘Razor-edged Scandinavian crime fiction at its finest’ Quentin Bates 

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Not many books hook you in the first chapter – this one did, and never let go!’ Mari Hannah

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With its exploration of family dynamics and the complex web of human behaviour, Staalesen’s novel echoes the great California author Ross MacDonald’s Lew Archer mysteries … mature and captivating’ Herald Scotland

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 Norwegian master Staalesen is an author who eschews police procedural narratives for noirish private eye pieces … with some abrasive social commentary’ Barry Forshaw, Financial Times

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‘Staalesen shares a similar style and concerns with Fossum, and there is a world-weary existential sadness that hangs over his central detective. The prose is stripped back and simple, and both writers like to leave the deep emotion bubbling under the surface – the real turmoil of their characters’ lives just under the surface for the reader to intuit, rather than have it spelled out for them’ Doug Johnstone, The Big Issue.

Author

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947.  He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series.  He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. We Shall Inherit the Wind was published in 2015  and the next in the series, No One Is So Safe in Danger, will be published by Orenda Books in 2017.

Website (in Norwegian): www.vargveum.no

Translator

Don Bartlett lives with his family in a village in Norfolk. He completed an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia in 2000 and has since worked with a wide variety of Danish and Norwegian authors, including Jo Nesbø and Karl Ove Knausgård. He has previously translated The Consorts of Death, Cold Hearts and We Shall Inherit the Wind in the Varg Veum series.

Online Reviews

‘Where Roses Never Die is a wonderfully written novel that shows that what goes on behind closed doors is rarely how you would imagine. As long-buried secrets are unearthed, Staalesen takes his time to prolong the suspense in what has happened to this little girl, resulting in an enticing, gripping read. Although this is the first Varg Veum novel I’ve read, I’m very keen to read others. What is even more apparent is that Orenda Books have published yet another fantastic book’ Segnalibro

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‘One thing I will say, this is not a ‘fast paced, thrill-a-second’ book.  More of a slow build to a blistering conclusion (which is superb).  There are unexpected twists throughout the story which are cleverly placed to make sure you keep turning the pages.  It’s a very enjoyable read about a group of people who aren’t necessarily what they seem. Would I recommend this book?  Definitely!’ Damp Pebbles

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‘I loved Varg’s character. He was a morally strong, often cynical person who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind even if it meant getting hurt. All sides of society were present, the ones who were down on their luck and wanted to stay invisible and the ones who had no regard for anybody else.  And all felt very believable’ Steph’s Book Blog

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‘Once again fluently translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett, Staalesen’s first person prose is so meticulous, it could have been sculpted out of ice. There’s not a superfluous word as Veum edges closer to the frozen core of a truth buried away for decades, revealing as he does so dark and shocking tensions that have split apart the couples living near little Mette’s family. Superbly paced, taut and atmospheric, this is a beautifully-crafted crime thriller that’s always full of humanity’ Claire Thinking

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‘This is the sort of crime novel to go for, if you like brooding rough round the edges heroes. The mystery itself takes us down a few misdirected paths, til eventually we see the shocking and sad hidden truth. Staalesen is critiquing the selfish human condition and how it brings about its own downfall. This is a fabulous and very accessible Nordic thriller, with a dark satisfying side’ Northern Crime

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Guest Post by Gunnar Staalesen: Welcome to Bergen at Shots Magazine

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‘Where Roses Never Die is an exceptionally plotted, well written and hauntingly evocative lesson in Norwegian crime writing. I experienced a wide range of emotions while reading it, and in the interest of full disclosure, this Ice Queen shed some tears reading it! I cannot recommend this book highly enough, and I am definitely going to be following Gunnar Staalesen’s writing after this!’ Bibliophile Bookclub

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‘Characterisation within the book is very interesting. Varg Veum is a great reminiscent protagonist. Like of a lot of his fellow detectives/PI’s – he is flawed but likable. It is made clear from the story that he has suffered a significant loss in the recent past and is struggling to recover emotionally from that trauma, turning to alcohol in a bid to cope. He faces a daily struggle between giving in to the bottle or staying sufficiently sober to allow him a real chance of uncovering what really happened to Mette before the statute of limitation expires. Veum certainly has his shortcomings, yet he throws himself into the investigation and I had little doubt that he would succeed in his endeavours. I found Where Roses Never Die to be a tense, dark and engrossing tale. Staalesen certainly has a talent for weaving a story! It was an absorbing and unsettling read and one which I thoroughly enjoyed. A fantastic example of ‘Nordic Noir’.  I am now keen to read more of Staalesen’s back catalogue. Highly recommended for fans of Scandinavian crime fiction’ Curious Ginger Cat

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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’ Off-the-Shelf Books

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‘It’s a suspenseful tale, and Staalesen cleverly constructs it through a series of interviews Veum conducts with the tightly-defined cast of characters and suspects, all with their own personal demons. He unearths secrets that had lain buried for decades – some more scandalous than others. Just how close-knit were the five families living at Nordås? Why did four of the five marriages end in divorce? What drove Joachim – eight years old at the time of Mette’s disappearance – to drug abuse in a rat-infested hostel? And can suspected paedophile Jesper Janeivik be connected to the crime? Staalesen is always one step ahead of the reader, mixing in plenty of misdirections and red herrings’ Turnaround, Books We Love

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Guest Post by Gunnar Staalesen on the meaning of the title of his new thriller: Where Roses Never Die at Never Imitate

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‘Where Roses Never Die is a brilliant crime thriller which I absolutely loved. It reminded me slightly of an Agatha Christie novel, not with the main character but with the brilliance of how the whole plot had been written and how it had me totally clueless as to how everything fits together and to who is behind the disappearance of the young girl. Can’t recommend highly enough and this is one author whose books I will certainly be checking out and reading more of’ By the Letter Book Reviews

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‘Averse as I am to gushing, with some authors it’s difficult to remain completely objective when you have genuinely loved every single book that they have ever produced. Such is my problem- but a nice problem- with the venerable Mr Staalesen, and Where Roses Never Die, which merely compounds my adoration of this series to date’

Raven Crime Reads

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‘This felt like a proper detective story. The mystery of a missing child was presented.  No clues over where she may have gone (she is likely to be dead) and we have a harrowing read for any parent.  A seemingly impossible challenge for a PI who is facing his own personal demons – a battle against the bottle which is brilliantly depicted by the author.   The need for me to know what happened to Mette kicked in – would Veum be able to close out a cold case? Is there even the slightest chance that this will have a happy ending?  The ‘need to know’ factor keeps me reading – it’s great when it grabs hold of me early in a book’ Grab This Book

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‘The events shocked and surprised me. There is a claustrophobic feeling to the story, a sense of unease surrounding this seemingly tranquil suburb. Whilst everything may have appeared normal on the surface, there were secrets just waiting to emerge. This is a well paced, suspenseful book that keeps you guessing until the very end’

The Owl on the Bookshelf

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Fabulous Book Trail

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‘Staalesen writes with a clipped, matter of fact style, the sharp delivery in the first person really sets Veum centre stage. There are an awful lot of characters to get to grips with and it’s worth getting them straight in your mind, right at the beginning of the novel. With plenty of surprises in store and an intriguing case, ‘Where Roses Never Die’ sets your mind working overtime and is a gripping read’ Liz Robinson, LoveReading

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‘This is the second Varg Veum novel from Orenda books and already he has established himself as a favourite leading character. Staalesen has created a sharp and intelligent but also vulnerable PI with whom the reader builds a strong rapport. The end of We Shall Inherit the Wind was a devastating blow to both parties and Where Roses Never Die is a shared recovery. Whilst many of the authors in the Orenda stable are embarking on relatively new careers Staalesen is an expert of his craft and once again he has delivered an absorbing mystery expertly solved by his endearing PI, Varg Veum’ Live Many Lives

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‘In a book of interconnecting crimes, Veum also assists a woman with an old case that has a neat race-against-time twist. Like Veum, this client has known deep suffering and it’s interesting to see him relate to this women who is also of similar age to him. The different investigations converge on Veum and it’s not long before he’s in the firing line. The plot grips and the PI’s dogged efforts make for a winning novel’ Crime Thriller Hound

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Extract on Chillers, Killer and Thrillers

Guest post on Crime Thriller Girl ‘A Game Is Afoot’

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‘If this is your first time reading a book in this series, some of which are yet to be translated, you’ll find yourself instantly warming to the strong yet sensitive Veum and the vivid self reflections that punctuate his perambulations. His ongoing bouts with the tyrannies of alcoholism which threaten to thwart his investigative efforts are poignant, and the primal scene that forms the core of the mystery is equal parts shocking and ingenious. Almost 40 years into the Varg Veum odyssey, Staalesen is at the height of his storytelling powers’ Crime Fiction Lover

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‘At points I felt the book was reminiscent of Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama; this could possibly down to the similar story of a historic child disappearance, or that’s because it’s translated it’s in a more “proper” version of English than I normally read. The author definitely keeps you guessing; what does an armed robbery linked with the old case of the disappearance of a young girl?? Veum is drawn into both investigations unable to separate off the armed robbery from his mission of uncovering the truth about the disappearance’ Claire Knight at CrimeBookJunkie

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Guest post at Espresso Coco

Guest post at Portobello Book Blog

Giveaway at Reviewed the Book

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Where Roses Never Die is superbly paced and with a story so intricately weaved together and with so many dark secrets pulled into the light you find yourself wondering what’s going on behind every drawn curtain. Characters are pulled from all shades of society and the moral spectrum and all believable – there are some for whose fate the reader can’t help but become invested in…There’s no question that if I were to put stars here there’d be five of them for Where Roses Never Die and, while we’re only just at the halfway mark for the year, it’s easily one of – if not the – best books of 2016’ Mumbling About Music

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‘Descriptions which make the reader chuckle provide a humorous balance to the darker side of life that crime fiction explores and it is a talented writer that can work these laughs into a seriously dark tale which highlights the awful underbelly of human existence’ Nordic Noir

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the book was compelling reading. And this, of course, is where Scandinavian crime writing trumps over it’s standard UK and US counterparts. Because it isn’t just (or even primarily) a case of finding out ‘whodunit’. It’s not simply a ‘Where’s Wally’ exercise in recognising the clues and putting them together with a ‘Hey, presto – he’s the murderer’ outcome. The Scandinavian approach also focuses on the aftershocks. The sundering judders, shudders, waves and even ripples that spread out into the lives of people affected by the trauma of the central event. It’s at this that Staalesen really excels. The Library Door

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‘This is gripping stuff. I had a real sense of foreboding as I read through this outstanding book. This is really Scandinavian crime writing at its very best. There is something dark and haunting about this novel that will test every sinew of your emotions as the truth emerges and the shocking truth at the end. At 260 pages this is the ideal book to slip into your bag if you are jetting off on your summer holidays. If you have not discovered Nordic crime novels before now you will not be disappointed in the crime writing of Gunnar Staalesen.’ Lastwordbookreview

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‘This book is right up my street, It is intriguing with lots of twists and turns…. The descriptive writing allows the reader to experience the depressive winter time in Bergen, Norway. I am a big fan of Jo Nesbo and whilst this book is reminiscent of the Harry Hole series, there is enough of a difference to encourage me to read all the books in this series to date. So, if you are a fan of Nordic crime books, then I would recommend this one. I read it in two sittings. The tension builds gradually and it kept me guessing to the end. The author is a talented storyteller and I am always quick to applaud the lack of strong language and unnecessary sexual scenes. Brilliant read! Nudge reviews

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‘Quite simply, Where Roses Never Die is an exquisite work of crime fiction and Staalesen’s eye for characters is as finely honed as his readers have come to expect. Beautifully paced and making some wider statements on the repercussions of behaviour on impressionable youths and morality, this is the literary equivalent of manna from heaven! Staalesen’s prose is consistently on point; one moment stricken by grief and the next catching readers off guard with his rapier sharp wit reminiscent of Ian Rankin. Staalesen leaves his readers hanging off his every word, aching to discover the truth as he finally brings a sense of closure for Maja Misvær and simultaneously solves another crime en route. Hopefully, there could will be one last chance at romance for Varg Veum, and certainly plenty more outings in his private investigative capacity! Exceptional stuff!’ Rachel Hall

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‘Where Roses Never Die is somewhat lighter in tone than previous installments in Staalesen’s series. It even hints that Varg Veum’s lengthy romantic dry spell might be coming to an end. The author also does a superior job of building suspense in regards to both the kidnapping and robbery cases, stitching clues into his plot that leave one wondering about the crimes’ connections. His portrayals of the players involved in these puzzles benefit from multiple, gradually unfolding dimensions.’ Kirkus Reviews

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Where Roses Never Die is a new and excellent entry to an already extraordinary series. Particularly, in this novel Staalesen shows us all that is concealed behind a seemingly perfect society. The novel is populated by credible characters, has a well-developed storyline, and I consider it to be very interesting. The writing, judging by the remarkable translation by Don Bartlett, is excellent. And, as Barry Forshaw has pointed out, this book is an example of the writer at the top of his game. (The rise in ‘literary’ crime novels by Barry Forshaw at The Independent). I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment in the series.’ A Crime is Afoot

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‘I relish a new Gunnar Staalesen book & Varg Veum. It’s like that comforting feeling you get. This is a brilliant and classic crime novel. As usual, an outstanding plot which flows all the way through. Very suspenseful and full of intrigue rolls you through this captivating story. Brilliant characters and dialogue, and a fantastic translation from Don Bartlett – a job that must be very hard to do!! Very impressed and highly recommended.’ Goodreads

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‘This goes back to the very start of the great Scandinavian detectives, and Staalesen works very comfortably within it. There are moments which sometimes stretch credibility, of coincidence and of violence, but there are also a number of moments that are moving, and the story underneath unveils itself with a few surprises. Staalesen remains relatively unknown and hugely undervalued here; he deserves more attention.’ Crime Time

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‘Staalesen’s expert storytelling tested and tasted the forms of love and commitment, along with what can go wrong inside well-meaning families. I enjoyed it a lot — and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who enjoys a moderately dark but very humane mystery. Not for kids, but a thoughtful book that probes what it is to be an adult in a close community, and the value of trust.’ Kingdom Books

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‘To say that Gunnar Staalesen is the master of Nordic Noir is an understatement. He is one of the finest storytellers, his prose elegant and restrained yet raw, powerful and totally heart-wrenching. This complex stunning and emotionally-charged novel (in Don Bartlett’s perfect translation) ends with a touch of hope and optimism not just for Mette’s mother but also for Varg Veum: ‘The choice was mine. The rest of my life was mine. All I had to do was choose.’ Crime Review

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‘The ‘hook’ of the child’s disappearance keeps you reading on, and the opening scene, an apparently unconnected jewel robbery, is skilfully woven into the main plot. There’s an unexpected twist in the end, and a moving finish. This is the sixth of the Varg series to be translated, so if you enjoy Scandis with a strong male protagonist and a real sense of place and society, you might like to start earlier – the first book is Yours until Death. A PI quest for the truth about a missing child with a strong hook and unexpected ending. Recommended.’ Promoting Crime

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‘What I enjoyed most was the sense of place and the detailed descriptions of people and settings that really made the location come alive. A rather formulaic private eye novel, then, but made fresh by its setting and kept alive by its characters.’ Shiny New Books

Reviews