Anne Holt: Fear Not (2011)

Oslo fjord

This novel is the fourth in the Norwegian series with Johanne Vik and Adam Stubø as the husband and wife team, with Adam being the ‘gentle giant’ detective and Johanne, his wife who is an ex profiler with a nose for investigative leads.

Very soon in the novel, we are introduced to several different story threads:

Johanne´s vulnerable daughter, Kristiane, gets lost when the family participates in a wedding in Oslo, and if a mysterious stranger had not saved her, she might have been killed in front of the tram.

Bishop Eva Karin Lysgaard is found murdered on Christmas Eve in Bergen. She is a popular person, well known for her struggle to keep the church united despite the question of marriage of homosexuals.

The body of a seventeen-year-old asylum seeker is found in the harbour of Oslo. The young man was a prostitute, and soon after a homosexual woman disappears from a happy relationship.

Marcus Koll, affluent businessman, lives together with his partner Rolf and his son, Little Marcus. Beautiful and safe on the facade, but apparently Marcus fears he will be the next victim.

What do the crimes have in common? Are old family secrets behind all these crimes, or is the common denominator homosexuality? Johanne Vik is engaged in researching hate crime, and via her research she can point out the connection among the seemingly isolated events to the police.

There are many things to like in this series, but it seems to me that Holt has this tendency to involve Johanne and her children every time. Exciting for the characters, and fundamental to the storyline perhaps, but not very credible. But then it is fiction, isn’t it? So why quibble?

I guess that whilst I enjoyed this Anne Holt story, it does lack a little of the intensity I feel when I read the Hanne Wilhemson’s series. Perhaps I feel more for the character of Hanne, for her keen detective sense and her stoic, rigid and sometimes arrogant manner, than I do for Johanne Vik and Adam Stubo who seem to be awfully familiar to another couple in a similar detective series written by a Swedish crime writer.

If you are a Nordic crime fiction fan, you won’t be disappointed, but the bar is getting ever higherin the realms of Mordic crime fiction with many more excellent writers, emerging from the colder regions of the world, each year.

Rating: 7/10

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Something to Ponder About

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About Forestwoodfolk

Scandinavian culture, literature and traditions are close to my heart, even though I am Australian. I have Scandinavian, Frisian and Prussian/Silesian ancestry and for that reason, I feel a connection with that part of the world. I am an avid Nordic Crime fiction reader, and enjoy photography, writing and a variety of cooking and crafts, and traditional decorative art forms. Politically aware and egalitarian by nature, I have a strong environmental bent.
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22 Responses to Anne Holt: Fear Not (2011)

  1. Sounds good. I had a look at the other books of Anne Holt. I think I might get one and try it. I am a detective/murder reader.

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  2. I do love the movies made from Nordic Crime but haven’t really read many crime books. The last one I read was very good. The draw -back was that there were so many people involved I had trouble with who is who? Even so, Scandinavia generally keep things fairly simple. The ‘Bridge’ an example. Opposite that are the English crime TV shows that often become so complicated in plots diverging at so may tangents, I give up totally and read a good book instead.

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    • I do agree Gerard. Sometimes it is all too complicated to follow and that diminshes the enjoment. Nordic crime: books or TV is great. They have the right mix of entertainment, twists and turns, dead bodies without gratuitous violence, mysteries, and detectives with personality. I think you would also like Håkan Nesser. He doesn’t have too many characters like Nesbø sometimes does, or the new book in the Millenium series. Nesser is a Swedish detective who has a hilarious dry humour that I think you would enjoy. Have you read any of Karin Fossum or Camilla Lackberg? If so, what did you think of them?

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  3. Brilliant synopsis Amanda, I’ll certainly give it a go, once I get the time to do a wee bit of reading 🙂

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  4. H,i Amanda. There were at least 5 books on the shelf even 2 in large print. I took out 1222. One can also read on line, they gave me the information. It stays on the devise for two weeks before it cancellce on its own.

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