Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Crime Fiction
Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg Veum’s life has descended into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol, lust, grief and blackouts. When traces of child pornography are found on his computer, he’s accused of being part of a pedophile ring and thrown into a prison cell. There, he struggles to sift through his past to work out who is responsible for planting the material . . . and who is seeking the ultimate revenge. When a chance to escape presents itself, Varg finds himself on the run in his hometown of Bergen. With the clock ticking and the police on his tail, Varg takes on his hardest—and most personal—case yet. Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Wolves in the Dark reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Wolves in the Dark!
I have to admit that I was pretty intimidated when I realized this book is the twenty first in a series, I mean there is just no way that I could possibly catch up at this point! But I had heard such great things about the author that I took a chance and just jumped in and man am I glad I did. I was needlessly worried as I had no problem reading this as a standalone and my fear would’ve made me miss out on a really gripping read.
I love being thrust right into action the moment I start a book and that’s just what happened here. Veum is arrested on suspicion of having child pornography on his computer and immediately you can feel his desperation and panic. He’s clearly kind of a mess, he’s spent the previous few years reeling from the death of his partner and had many drunken nights that ended in a blackout. I have a soft spot for tragic heroes and he quickly managed to get under my skin as I hoped he would be able to swiftly extract himself from this nightmare.
Following along as Veum pieced together fragments of his past was quite tricky, but really interesting to see how things eventually slotted together. This had a really tangled plot with a lot of separate threads, and as much as I struggled to figure out exactly what had happened, Staalesen masterfully joined things together in the end. His writing style was tight and sharp and so well intended, every word served a purpose and I was hanging off of each and every one of them.
I devoured this is one sitting despite the sometimes difficult subject matter at it’s heart. Child pornography is not something that’s easy to read about, but there was nothing overly gratuitous or overly descriptive in regards to that part of the storyline.
This is classic Nordic Noir with a subtle pace, but it did have several heart pounding moments. There were also some jaw dropping surprises that threw me for a loop. The ending was satisfying but still left things wide open for the next book and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Fans of this series will be pleased and new readers will be fans as well by the end.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.
About the Author:
Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies.
Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. When Prince Charles visited Bergen, Staalesen was appointed his official tour guide. There is a life-sized statue of Varg Veum in the centre of Bergen, and a host of Varg Veum memorabilia for sale. We Shall Inherit the Wind and Where Roses Never Die were both international bestsellers.
Don Bartlett is the foremost translator of Norwegian, responsible for the multaward- winning, bestselling books by Jo Nesbo, Karl Ove Knausgaard and Per Pettersen. It is rare to have a translator who is as well-known and highly regarded as the author.