Tove Altserdal’s You Will Never Be Found is the second book featuring her detective Eira Sjödin. As a sequel to We Know you Remember, this book has a lot to live up to given that volume’s slate of awards.
In a rapidly collapsing town, a pair of people enter a basement and find horrified man curled up there. Far away, Detective Sjödin is dealing desperately with a missing person case, the weight of her personal life pressing down on her as she does so. The discovery of a body with missing fingers, and the presence of an elusive woman in the narrative, quickly shape this up to be a case of disturbing action.
The personal relationships our author introduces becoming increasingly important as the plot continues, adding a very specific edge to Eira’s need to solve the case. They also help to justify the moves away from traditional police procedure, and as a result make them feel less like breaches that the author generally finds acceptable. This will please those who are familiar more with books in which police abuses are treated as a good thing – a not uncommon phenomenon in detective and crime fiction.
The crimes in this particular book span a lot of space and time. This often makes the investigation feel increasingly futile. The twists and turns in the case itself are more than believable, ranging from public attempts to string together a variety of crimes all the way to the simple desperate instincts of our lead detective.
The environment or setting of Nordic noir only adds to the level of bleakness in the story. The cold and frequent darkness are described more than once, and while they are treated with the matter of fact nature of the local residents, they nonetheless help to push the story further into the dark, strange world that serves noir best.
For those unfamiliar with Sweden and Nordic noir overall, getting used to what may be new names and locations can be difficult. They are put out in a matter of fact manner, quickly and with little explanation. This is noticeably different from the way fantasy, historical fiction, or science fiction typically find a way to insert explanations.
It is definitely better for a reader to have read We Know You Remember before starting this book. That said, it works more than an well enougb on its own, as a solid mystery and example of the genre. Curious parties should check it out, and anyone who enjoyed the first book should not miss it. Anyone looking to try Nordic noir for the first time would do well to go with this volume, which moves quicker and lighter than many others while maintaining the feeling of the genre.