“PI Varg Veum fights for his reputation, his freedom and his life, when child pornography is found on his computer and he is arrested and jailed. Worse still, his memory is a blank…
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 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.
Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Wolves in the Dark reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.”
I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the Wolves in the Dark blog tour alongside the lovely Caroline over at Bits About Books. Wolves in the Dark is the latest in this thrilling series which author, Gunnar Staalesen started writing 40 years ago this year. I read and reviewed Wolves in the Dark‘s predecessor, Where Roses Never Die a year ago (almost to the day) and I absolutely loved it. It was an easy five-star read for me and I am still recommending it to readers a year later. If you missed that review click here for a recap. So imagine how excited I was to hear Orenda Books was about to publish the latest instalment of the Varg Veum series.
And I was not disappointed. For those new to this series Varg Veum is a fairly recently bereaved Private Investigator who has fallen prey to the temptations of alcohol and lust. He certainly hasn’t been living a clean life of late but is determined to get a hold of himself and get back on track. Veum is shocked to discover the police knocking on his door in the early hours and even more aghast when he is arrested for sending and receiving child pornography. All the evidence points to Varg having some incredibly dark and sickening past times but he knows he’s innocent. Now all he had to do is prove that before he is charged with one of the most heinous crimes of all…
Varg Veum has such appeal for me. I do like my main protagonists a little battered and bruised around the edges so he ticks the boxes. I couldn’t, at the start of the novel, see how Veum was going to get himself out of the fix he was in. After all, how can he prove he’s innocent when all of the evidence says otherwise and he’s locked in a cell! I thought the author did an excellent job of working around this problem. The plot flowed well and didn’t feel at all forced. I enjoyed how many suspects Veum came up with, those looking for the ultimate revenge on our beleagured PI. As the list grew I became even more intrigued by Veum than I was previously. He’s certainly not one to tread lightly when on the hunt for a suspect!
I did, however feel a little confused at times as there are so many different threads within the investigation, and quite a few Norwegian names (as you would expect!). So I ended up re-reading several sections to make sure I knew the characters and how they connected to one another. Saying that, Staalesen is a master at what he does and, after reading Wolves in the Dark it reminded me exactly how much I want to read all of the other Veum novels (those which have been translated to English, of course! My Norwegian is still….let’s say rusty, lol).
This is a very dark novel and not one for the faint-hearted. If you’ve read the blurb you will know that there is mention of child abuse throughout the story but the author manages to steer clear of anything too graphic, most of the time. There is one scene which I found upsetting, but I can’t see how else this would be dealt with as it’s key to the plot. The scene in question is brief and referred to only a couple of times in passing throughout the remainder of book.
Would I recommend this book? I would but it’s a hard read in places due to the subject matter. Don’t let that put you off though as Veum is an addictive character and Staalesen is a master of the thriller. And aren’t books supposed to make us all feel a little uncomfortable at times? I, for one, am looking forward to the next instalment and meeting up with Veum once again. And this is a perfect opportunity to wish a very happy 40th anniversary to Gunnar Staalesen and Varg Veum, long may this excellent series continue.
Four out of five stars.
I chose to read and review an ARC of Wolves in the Dark. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
Wolves in the Dark by Gunnar Staalesen (translated by Don Bartlett) was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 15th June 2017 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |
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.