I’m absolutely delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen today, alongside my awesome fellow blog tour buddy Jen!
My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my review copy and to Anne Cater for inviting me to join the tour!
Author : Gunnar Staalesen (translated by Don Bartlett)
Title : Big Sister
Series : Varg Veum
Pages : 259
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : June 20, 2018 (UK Paperback)
Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office. A woman introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a 19-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her apartment in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously.
Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers on the hunt for a group of people whose dark deeds are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal.
Varg Veum is back and hoo boy, what a return it is!
Varg Veum is surprised when a half-sister he’s never met shows up in his office. She needs his help in finding her goddaughter, Emma, who disappeared without a trace. Since Emma is nineteen and took personal belongings with her, the police don’t take her case seriously and aren’t looking for her. Varg Veum promises to investigate but he has no idea what he’s getting himself in to.
The investigation leads him to uncover a horrific crime, while also making the acquaintance of a gang of bikers. Now, I watched Sons of Anarchy. I know all about these types of bikers, the things they get up to and none of it is good. Soon things get personal and Varg may have just bitten off more than he can chew.
There are various threads to sink your teeth into in Big Sister and Varg Veum is kept incredibly busy. Not only is there his investigation into the missing teenager, but he might find himself inclined to dig a little deeper into his own family.
Once again, Gunnar Staalesen delivers with his crisp writing and a scenario that is current and feels incredibly realistic. There’s a delicious depth to his characters and it feels as if you’re there with them in the moment, as you become invested in them and their emotions. This is only the second book I’ve read by Staalesen but I already expect nothing less than an intricately plotted story. There are a few magnificent twists I didn’t see coming at all and it kept me utterly hooked from start to finish.
When I reviewed Wolves in the Dark last year, I mentioned I felt a little lost as I hadn’t read any of the previous books in this long-running series but I’m happy to say that this time around I had no problems whatsoever getting behind Varg Veum and I feel Big Sister reads perfectly well as a stand-alone. It is intriguing, full of suspense and another fantastic example of Scandi-Noir at its best!
Finally, shout-out to Don Bartlett for another seamless translation!
Big Sister is available to buy in ebook. The UK paperback will be published on June 20th.
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 five million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is being filmed now. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives in Bergen with his wife.