Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What Never HappensWhat Never Happens by Anne Holt
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

"What Never Happens" is the second book by Norwegian Anne Holt that I read. I liked the first one, "What Is Mine" a lot and gave it four stars. I wish I could like this book too, but I cannot. Perhaps it is my fault. I can't stand the irritating manner of writing where almost throughout the entire book Adam Stubo, the police detective, and Johanne Vik, his wife and a "profiler", talk about the case in the middle of dealing with their children, their dog, their meals, and their domestic chores. Maybe this happens in real life, but I find it an extremely poor writing manner. Maybe if the details of their personal life were interesting, this would make sense. But it does not. Mr. Stubo and Ms. Vik are two of the least interesting people I have read about recently. They are just two very boring people.

The plot is potentially interesting and deals with serial murders of celebrities in Norway. There are some nice fragments of prose (for instance, between pages 100 and 101, where Ms. Holt describes an extremely painful event from Adam Stubo's life). There are some astute observations like the one about a certain nation that values "courage and strength more than truth and peace". Still, the writing mannerisms are so atrocious that I found the book hard to read.

I hope Ms. Holt performed better as the Minister of Justice in Norway than as a writer of this novel. I had to force myself to finish this book. The further it went, the more boring it got. The payback of the denouement was minimal.

Two stars. One and three quarters, in fact. Ms. Holt should take Ms. Fossum's class on writing. Or even Mr. Nesbo's class.

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