It is a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Wolves At The Door by Gunnar Staalesen today! My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invitation to join and to the publisher for my review copy!
Author : Gunnar Staalesen (trs Don Bartlett)
Title : Wolves At The Door
Series : Varg Veum
Pages : 260
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : June 13, 2019
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing.
While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.
Fearing for his life, Veum begins to investigate the old case, interviewing the victims of abuse and delving deeper into the brutal crimes, with shocking results. The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance.
| MY THOUGHTS |
Norway’s favourite private investigator returns but Varg Veum’s day quickly gets off to a bad start when a car drives at him at high speed and comes very close to running him over. Varg Veum is convinced someone meant to kill him. Especially after the deaths of two men who were convicted of crimes Varg Veum himself had stood wrongly accused of once. The police are not treating these deaths as suspicious. As far as they’re concerned, their cases are closed. But Varg Veum is worried he might be next and sets out to investigate on his own, bringing danger right to his door.
Dealing with a topic like child abuse makes Wolves at the Door an extremely uncomfortable read at times. Yet it also oozes atmosphere, which is what a great Scandi-Noir should do and Gunnar Staalesen knows exactly how to achieve that. The exquisite investigative skills Varg Veum has always remind me of the PI’s from the old days with their raincoat and hat, lurking in the shadows, like a black and white movie. No bells or whistles, no spending hours trawling databases, just good old-fashioned pounding the pavement and talking to people. This allows the reader to follow along quite nicely to try and put the pieces of the puzzle together right alongside Varg Veum.
I didn’t fit any pieces together at all, however. Varg Veum meets quite a few characters and they all quite obviously have something to hide, secrets they are desperate to protect. And just like him, I couldn’t at all figure out who was lying or if anyone could be trusted which often made me feel pretty frustrated. But if there is one thing to admire about Varg Veum, it is his sheer determination to get to the truth and somehow I’m always left with the feeling that he will accomplish exactly what he sets out to do.
Wolves at the Door may be slow paced but it’s also incredibly gripping and full of suspense. It’s dark, gritty and sadly also all too realistic and believable. All the while, it shines a spotlight on the failings of the criminal justice system, highlighting modern day issues like sex trafficking and the effects of abuse. Not an easy read, like I said, but with Varg Veum at the helm it is a fascinating investigation. Gunnar Staalesen’s well-developed character undoubtedly has many more investigations ahead of him and will keep fans coming back for more. As always, I mustn’t forget to mention the seamless translation by Don Bartlett, whose hard work allows the masses to enjoy top-of-the-shelf Scandi-Noir too.
Wolves at the Door will be published in paperback format next week and can be pre-ordered. The Kindle version is available to buy!
| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |
One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947.
He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty-three titles, which have been published in twenty-six 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 currently being filmed.
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