Cold Hearts is an excellent crime read featuring Norwegian private investigator Varg Veum looking into the case of a missing woman in Bergen, and uncovering crimes as well as a dark history of sadness and a web of lies as his search develops.
I liked the opening chapter which gave a little background to Veum's life. Then we are taken back six months to a case involving a missing woman. Her friend Hege comes to him to ask him to help find her. Margrethe was a prostitute and, after turning away from a car one night, she was evidently very frightened. The woman who went in the car in her place returned injured. Margrethe's whereabouts are now unknown, and then shortly afterwards it is discovered that her brother Karl, who was in prison, is also missing.
This is a well-plotted page-turner of a crime story with a firm sense of place. I really enjoyed the first-person narration by Veum; I liked getting to know his ways of thinking and his methods; when it comes to the investigation, he 'was impatient to get started. I knew from bitter experience that time was a thief. When you arrived where you wanted to go it was often too late.'
There's a dark tone to the tale, there is brutality, and there is a real feeling of sadness about the lives that some people endure and the bleaker aspects of society. Veum ponders '...what was it that caused lives to veer off in different directions? Was it possible to predict, or was it simply woven into your destiny from a very young age? Such fragile boundaries,...'
I am sometimes a little hesitant to read a novel that's part of a series when I haven't read the previous books. I found that despite not having read any other books in this series, I didn't have any problems enjoying this one or understanding anything.
Thank you to the publisher for kindly sending me a copy of this novel for an honest review.
Published by Arcadia Books
Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett