Thursday 1 June 2017

Blog Tour ~ Wolves in the Dark by Gunnar Staalesen

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be one of the bloggers opening the Wolves in the Dark  Blog Tour

Orenda Books
15  June 2017

What's it all about...

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.

What did I think about it...

I'm always a little bit wary when I come into an established series so far down the line as sometimes it's impossible to truly gel with the story as so much history, both for the writer and his characters, have gone before. So I have to admit to a smidgen of trepidation in starting this, the 21st, book in the Varg Veum series of Scandi Noir novels.

There's obviously been a lot going on for the central character as we learn in this story that Varg Veum has experienced a great loss which is influencing the way in which he sees both his job as an investigator and also in his personal life. When Veum is arrested and his computer seized as part of an investigation into child pornography, he must do all he can to shield himself from a personal vendetta which seeks to destroy both his good name and reputation.

I must admit, on first acquaintance, to rather liking Varg Veum. He is a man of few words but powerful actions and it is obvious throughout the story that he doesn't suffer fools gladly. The author has created, in him, an honorable character, whose personality shines through with every well written word. I enjoyed the journey into the investigation and once I had, sort of, got my head around the Norwegian place names and people, I was able to relax into the story, which I thought was well written, perceptive and quite engrossing.

As an avid reader of psychological crime, there is a distinct difference between Scandi Noir and British Noir, both are thrillingly creative and edgy but there is something deliciously different about trying to piece together a mystery in a country,  and among people and places, which are unfamiliar to you.

If you are new to the series, as I was, then I suspect that there is, perhaps, a little something lost in the fact that this is book number 21 in the series, and it would have been better to have traveled the journey from the very start but on reflection, I don't really think that this story suffered anything for me not having read the previous 20. Wolves in the Dark can comfortably stand alone on its own merits as a self contained story.

I have really enjoyed my first foray into Varg Veum's complicated world, and if my reading time ever allows I would like to head back to the beginning and see where he started out.

It must also be mentioned that Jaffa was especially interested in the enigmatic,and rather haughty, Madonna.

Best Read with...a glass of aquavit and a delicious selection of sveler, Norwegian pancakes.. 

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.

Do check out these other stops on the Blog Tour which runs until the 3rd July

My thanks to Karen and Anne at Orenda Books for the opportunity to be part of this Blog Tour and for the discovery of  a new author and crime series


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