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What Never Happens Hardcover – February 13, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
First, the two protagonists are not very likeable characters, especially the wife Johanne. They both keep interrupting one another in their conversations, which makes the dialogue often very jarring and disjointed.
Second, the author often writes what the characters are thinking, but it appears as if it were dialogue because their thoughts are always in quotation marks and sound like someone speaking, because they are articulated in complete sentences. This is, at best, a questionable literary device and, at worst, distracting.
Third, the nine-year-old daughter who has an undiagnosed psychological/developmental problem is another irritating distraction from the flow of the novel. Nothing is resolved about her. She's simply a peculiar, unpredictable interference.
The author has taken the police detective/researcher team of the last book and married them, bestowing upon them an infant and a dedicated family life, as well as a tight emotional bond that is frequently tested by the nefarious deeds it is their lot to unravel. Briefly put, the ghosts of profiler Vik's past return to haunt her as an ongoing series of celebrity murders seem to emulate a very specific group of cases she studied at the FBI Academy when she lived in the United States. The logical outcome points directly at her and her new husband as being the final victims in this gory reconstruction. The killer in this case is a hardened professional, who is literally paid to kill - but in what way she has committed her previous murders, and how she gets paid is a twist that is strikingly original for a novel like this, and makes an ironic connection to the unholy lure of the TV crime commentator's instant celebrity.
In short, I was impressed as well as relieved to know that the off-taste of the first book had been largely left behind, though there were still a few false notes. Vik's daughter from her first marriage is developmentally disabled - as a fictional character, an autistic or mentally retarded person's speech is one of the hardest things to capture convincingly, and I felt that Holt still has far to go on that path.Read more ›
Anyway Johanne Vik and Adam Stubo are now together and have an infant of their own. As celebrities are murdered in very peculiar ways - Johanne begins to see a pattern that connects to her past training. Adam is the Inspector on the case. Between them they begin to connect the dots - in spite of all of Johannes fears and breakdowns
I have ordered the 4th in the series - Fear Not
Adam Stubo is a homicide detective and his wife, Vik, a retired profiler. They have an infant daughter together, and Vik's 10-year-old girl, Kristiane, is from a prior marriage. Kristiane has a behavioral disorder that doesn't fit neatly into any particular diagnosis. Stubo provides a nice balance, being almost unflappable from a domestic standpoint. However, he is obsessed with police work and finds it difficult to leave his cases in his office desk drawer. Vik, for her part, hates being described as a profiler, even if it's what she does. The two somehow make their personal and quasi-professional relationships work, if not always well.
Which brings us to WHAT NEVER HAPPENS, in which Stubo is brought in to investigate a series of bizarre murders. The victims are all celebrities and theatrically posed. A talk show hostess is found with her tongue cut out, mutilated and lovingly arranged; the head of a political party is crucified, with a copy of the Koran inserted in her nether regions; and an acerbic literary and political critic is bludgeoned and stabbed in the eye.Read more ›
In a short period of time, four 'celebrity murders' are committed. A talk show host is found with her tongue cut out, a politician is found crucified to her bed, a critic/essayist is found with his pen in his eye, and a biathelete is found with a bullet hole in a target pinned to his chest. Vik ties these back to a symposium at the FBI where the same types of murders were 'profiled' and the last was the burning down of the house of the detective (with him in it) that investigated the murders.
How do you protect yourself from someone who has committed the perfect murder? Though the crime scenes are painstakingly gone over, not one clue as to the identity of the murderer is ever found. We know that the murderer will be coming after Stubo, but when and how is anybody's guess.
To tell anymore about the mystery would give away too much of the plot but it does seem to do what all second books do, slowly lead us into book three.
That is actually my only complaint about this book, and that is, it is really slow at some points. Now I don't know if this is just the problem of all 'second acts' or of this writer. I've read other Norwegian writers, specifically Jo Nesbo, and his books NEVER flag, but he is exceptional.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hard to follow the stories and the twist and turns. Really enjoyed the first one in the series. Hope the third is more like the first.Published 16 months ago by Brfree
Holt's books lull you into all sorts of preconceived ideas about the plot, the killer and the detective involved . Read morePublished on April 29, 2014 by N Sperry
What Never Happens is the second offering in Anne Holt's series featuring Johanne Vik, a former profiler trained by the FBI, and Adam Sturbo with Norway's NCIS Unit. Read morePublished on August 15, 2010 by Librarian