Book Reviews

Promenons nous dans les bois: Wolves in the Dark by Gunnar Staalesen @OrendaBooks #BlogTour

Afraid to jump in a series at the 21st book? Don’t be, with a master such as Gunnar Staalesen, you won’t be confused or lost. You’re in very good hands! Forget the numbers and explore a world and a main character you’ll fall for!

I’m really pleased to be sharing the blog tour stop today with the fantastic Kate from Bibliophile Book Club !

wolves in the darkTitle: Wolves in the Dark
Author: Gunnar Staalesen
Translator: Don Bartlett
Publisher: Orenda Books
Date of publication: 2017
Format: Physical Review Copy
Source: Publisher
Number of pages: 276
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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.


When your favorite genre is crime, you slowly start to believe you have read the darkest and most twisted stories. But some authors fish their ideas from Hell’s pit, and Gunnar Staalesen proved he knows where to find the blackest and most horrific material to work with.

Being waken up by the police for an interview can’t and is never a good sign. It’s a Monday kind of life joke. Like our favorite Norwegian private investigator, the nasty surprise was a cold shower and neither of us had a chance to make sense of what was happening before he was already at the precinct! One page in and the worry turned into real panic as gruesome accusations were made and my poor Varg Veum was taken into custody! I loved diving into the action right from the beginning, or rather letting the action drive us right into a cell, with only so few elements that there’s nothing much to do.

Four walls, four years, a man with a broken heart and bad habits. There is definitely something about Varg Veum that is captivating and this book gives you the chance to explore parts of this man you’d only suspected or seen from afar. Taking a look in the mirror and digging into the past is difficult for everyone, but with a guy like Veum, the mud and fog are so thick you easily get lost in the process. Only with this story did I fully understand the hell he had been through. The author hands you a key to a cell that even Veum wasn’t aware he was in, or maybe did not want to face. Reading about him reminiscing, probing his memories, poking where it hurts, putting all cards on the table was painful. The honesty with which he looked back into his past actions without any hesitation is what I like the most about the character. He has his flaws, but he doesn’t hide from them. He lives with them. He knows himself enough not to let the shame pull him deeper into the hole he already has a feet in. Varg Veum is such a strong character that he takes the cliché of the old alcoholic investigator and crushes it with bare hands. Oh, he is not in touch with is feminine side and chatting about his feelings, but the narration makes him different, the author puts a real man at the heart of this series and deals with the consequences, pushing him over and over in a way that cannot leave you cold. Did I say I loved the character of Varg Veum? Now, it must be pretty clear!

The investigation was like a Christmas morning, except that instead of having one gift after another, you’re given one twist after the other. Don’t count on a respite with Gunnar Staalesen, he has a giant sleeve with plenty of red herrings to throw at you, and a completely and intensely intricate plot that draws you in and opens the door to places you would rather never go. Never ever never. We all know the danger, but what happens when it’s lurking close to home?

‘See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil, or at least nothing that can affect the image of the idyll.’

The Internet is a wonderful invention that has brought people together as well as making knowledge accessible, but it has also offered a way for bad guys to happily and freely play. Play with lives, often anonymously. We used to say “don’t talk to strangers on the street”, well, the strangers are in our houses now, places that are supposed to be shelters from the world. Wolves in the Dark reminded me that behind every door is a danger, and while most of us will never have to face it, it can be right under our nose, taking the most shocking and unforgivable forms. Some parts were difficult to face, and I shared Veum’s disgust, with every piece of information spurring us to fight harder to get to the bottom of the story, and secondarily, save him! The striking events, the silence that seems to be the “normal” way of operating for so many people disgusted me, I couldn’t help feeling the unfairness and helplessness that came with the plans individuals can make up to get a revenge, or keep a nice business running…

Despite the heaviness of the events, the author managed to keep the right balance so I wouldn’t have to put down the book to take a break. There are too many chases that keep you hooked: people, recollections, information. Your hands are full and time go by. The fear of the dark and the creatures of the night is dwarfed by the need to clear a name and clear the city of its wolves.

I need to mention the fantastic and spot-on translation by Don Bartlett, I never felt I was reading a translation.

This was only my second encounter with Varg Veum. I was greeted by an amazingly descriptive and powerful writing, a revolting and riveting plot masterfully weaved, and the ticking of the clock to save a man from his past and his present.

I would like to thank Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for bringing me along in such a fantastic blog tour. 

You can find Wolves of the Dark in all good bookstores, on Amazon, or on the Orenda Books’ ebookstore


Granite Noir fest 2017. Gunnar Staalesen.

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, 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 Espen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. The next instalments in the Varg Veum series – Where Roses Never Die and Wolves in the Dark – will be published by Orenda Books in 2016 and 2017.

I was lucky to see the author accept to be a part of my Orenda Month back in March so here are five facts you might now know about Gunnar Staalesen!

5 things about Gunnar Staalesen

about the translator

Don Bartlett lives with his family in a village in Norfolk. He completed an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia in 2000 and has since worked with a wide variety of Danish and Norwegian authors, including Jo Nesbø and Karl Ove Knausgård. He has previously translated The Consorts of Death and Cold Hearts in the Varg Veum series.

Don Bartlett finished

 Don’t forget to check the rest of the blog tour!!

blog tour poster.jpg

21 thoughts on “Promenons nous dans les bois: Wolves in the Dark by Gunnar Staalesen @OrendaBooks #BlogTour”

    1. This series is AMAZING! I love order, but it doesn’t matter here, the cases and the main character are strong enough to carry an entire series without needing to be read from book 1 to 21! It’s immensely impressive, and so good! I’d love to hear what you think of Varg Veum!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Book 21? Blimey! Now there’s a role model of an author! 🙂
    Superb review, Meggy! Really enjoyed your take on the book and I keep hearing about Varg Veum so much I think I need to check this guy out! 😀


  2. I’m on the tour tomorrow but I also really enjoyed my second Varg Veum! He’s such an interesting character and I’m excited to see what the next installment has in store for him! Great review as always!!


  3. Such a wonderful review! ❤ You've definitely further convinced me to not worry about this being so far along in the series… Both the main character and the story itself sound like true winners.


  4. 21 and going strong! This must be one hell of a series. I will have to place it right on the radar. That synopsis stresses me out haha. It sounds so tense but like it has been executed brilliantly. Fab review Twin Pea ❤


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