cover image What Never Happens

What Never Happens

Anne Holt, , trans. from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson. . Grand Central, $24.99 (385pp) ISBN 978-0-446-57803-5

In this complex, at times slow-moving crime thriller from Norwegian author Holt, her second to appear in the U.S. (after What Is Mine ), Oslo husband-and-wife detectives Adam Stubo and Johanne Vik go up against an ingenious serial killer whose first victims are a talk show host whose tongue is cut out and a female politician crucified with a copy of the Koran placed in a delicate position. Despite the dramatic nature of the murders, Stubo finds few leads. It's not until Vik, trained as a profiler, uncovers a vital piece of information about the children of the talk show host that Stubo can begin to make headway. Are the killings random, part of a pattern or personal? As Stubo and Vik painstakingly work to uncover the truth, the author intersperses scenes from the viewpoints of the killer and potential victims. While this approach dilutes some of the suspense, it does mean readers get a rich picture of Norway's politics and culture on their way to a somewhat anticlimactic resolution. (Feb.)