You Will Never Be Found by Tove Alsterdal

In my never ending quest to find something interesting to read I picked up You Will Never Be Found from NetGalley. I even went back and read the first book in the High Coast series, We Know You Remember. I am usually a fan of “noir” but this series just didn’t quite work for me.

Publisher

In the small mining town of Malmberget, north of the Arctic Circle, residents and their houses are being relocated. As the mine that built the town slowly swallows it street by street, building by building, the memories of the community have collapsed into the huge pit they call “the hole.” Only a few stubborn souls cling to their homes, refusing to leave. When two workers making their final preparations hear a sound coming from a basement, they break a cellar window and find a terrified man curled up in a corner.

In Ådalen, 700 kilometers away, police officer Eira Sjödin is investigating the disappearance of a man reported missing by his ex-wife. Eira and her colleagues search his apartment, contact his friends and relatives, and query local hospitals, but the man has vanished without a trace.

Eira knows the pain of loss—she mourns for her mother, whose mind has been stolen by dementia. To escape her loneliness and her memories, Eira loses herself in a casual affair. But she’s wholly unprepared when her feelings deepen for GG, who is twenty years her senior–and her boss.

When the diligent GG doesn’t show up for work two days in a row, Eira and her colleagues quickly realize that something is wrong—their boss has gone missing. In the dramatic second installment of the High Coast Series, Eira Sjödin finds herself at the mercy of an elusive perpetrator—and of a love she can no longer deny.

My Take

In a way very similar to the first book in this series, I enjoyed the underlying mystery but not the relationship aspects of the lead character; the background details.

I just don’t think I made a connection with Eira and so her relationships and emotions didn’t move me. To use a cliché, it felt like Alsterdal told me what Eira felt but didn’t show me in a compelling way.

Granted we live in very different worlds but isn’t that what great fiction does, overcome that gap? She sleeps with two different men in such proximity that when she becomes pregnant she doesn’t know who is the father. And yet she is really in love with a third guy? There is a sense of depression or mental health issues in the background, is this part of that? Is it a sort of PTSD from the job?

It didn’t really come together for me in a way that fit.

I wonder if the lack of a moral center that matches my own, or that I could relate to, influenced my reaction?

All the praise this author and series have received made me think maybe I just don’t enjoy crime fiction or noir of this sort.

Kirkus: “American readers will enjoy this dark, tightly plotted, and satisfying thriller.”

Tightly plotted?

Having read Publishers Weekly, I feel a little validated:

A strong sense of place—in particular, the remote, sparsely populated north of Sweden—helps compensate for the meandering narrative and the author’s sometimes clumsy efforts to impose profundity and unearth big themes about societal change (for example, a mining company’s expansion becomes a seismic metaphor about dislocating communities). Scandi noir fans will hope for a tighter plot next time.

 

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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