Blog Tour/Review: Wolves in the Dark by Gunnar Staalesen

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I’m thrilled to co-host today’s stop on the blog tour for Gunnar Staalesen’s latest crime novel featuring Private Investigator Varg Veum, Wolves in the Dark. Be sure to check out the post by my co-host David at Blue Book Balloon as well. Orenda Books are becoming known for publishing the most amazing Scandinavian crime fiction and Wolves in the Dark will only add to that reputation.

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WolvesintheDarkAbout the Book

Publisher’s description: Private investigator, Varg Veum, fights for his reputation, his freedom and his life…Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg’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 paedophile 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.

Praise for Gunnar Staalesen and the Varg Veum series:

‘Gunnar Staalesen is one of my very favourite Scandinavian authors. Operating out of Bergen in Norway, his private eye, Varg Veum, is a complex but engaging anti-hero. Varg means ‘wolf’ in Norwegian, and this is a series with very sharp teeth’ (Ian Rankin)

‘A Norwegian Chandler’ (Jo Nesbo)

‘Gunnar Staalesen was writing suspenseful and socially conscious Nordic Noir long before any of today’s Swedish crime writers had managed to put together a single book page… one of Norway’s most skilful storytellers’ (Johan Theorin)

‘With its exploration of family dynamics and the complex web of human behaviour, Staalesen’s novel echoes the great California author Ross MacDonald’s Lew Archer mysteries… mature and captivating’ (Herald Scotland)

‘Norwegian master Staalesen is an author who eschews police procedural narratives for noirish private eye pieces… with some abrasive social commentary’ (Financial Times)

Format: ebook Publisher: Orenda Books Pages: 276
Publication: 15th June 2017 Genre: Crime    

Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk ǀ Amazon.com ǀ Barnes & Noble
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Wolves in the Dark on Goodreads


My Review

Wolves in the Dark is the latest outing for Varg Veum and, to be honest, things are not going well for him. He’s still recovering from the emotional aftermath of a tragic event in his personal life and the past few years have just about disappeared in a haze of booze. His bank account is all but empty, the new cases have dried up and it’s a struggle to keep off the bottle. Last, but definitely not least, he’s been arrested on a charge of participating in a child pornography ring on the basis of material found on his computer. Somehow you just know he wouldn’t be involved in anything as grotesque and evil as child pornography (not to mention that he and modern technology are pretty much strangers beyond the basics).

Varg knows he’s been set up and that the material found by the police has somehow been placed on his computer in order to discredit him as an act of revenge. The trouble is the number of people who believe him is small…and getting smaller.  Looking for the possible culprit means revisiting previous cases and confronting some shameful episodes from his alcohol-fuelled years. Forced to take proving his innocence into his own hands, Varg finds unexpected links and possible connections that throw up more questions than answers.  Eventually, the pieces of the jigsaw fall into place but a resolution?  Sometimes things in life don’t work out as neatly as that…

This was a great read containing everything you need for a satisfying crime mystery. I loved the character of Varg. He has many flaws but you have to admire his dogged determination and his relentless desire to search for the truth (not to mention a seemingly encyclopaedic knowledge of the back streets of Bergen and its one way systems). The book is full of twists and turns (not just in the streets of Bergen) and interrelated stories creating a complex web for Varg to untangle.  The author is clearly a master of his art because the story is set up perfectly for a next book (we hope!).

Despite being part of a long running series, Wolves in the Dark works perfectly well as a standalone read. I was intrigued by the hints of events in Varg’s past but not knowing didn’t affect my enjoyment, just added to the sense of mystery.  Having the opportunity to read Wolves in the Dark has made me keen to read the earlier books in the series that have been translated into English. Hopefully, the whole series will be translated eventually.

I received an advance reader copy courtesy of publishers, Orenda Books, in return for an honest review.

In three words: Gripping, compelling, atmospheric

Try something similar…Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl


Granite Noir Fest 2017About 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.

About the Translator

Don Bartlett is the foremost translator of Norwegian, responsible for the multi-award 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.

Connect with Gunnar

Website ǀ Goodreads

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