book reviews · Bookish

The Coral Bride by Roxanne Bouchard (Review)

Ahoy! How is everyone doing? I’m a little worse for wear, but hanging in there. Books help! Though I’m sore from the dentist today… but in brighter news! Today I’m on another fantastic Orenda Books blog tour. Today I am on the tour for The Coral Bride by Roxanne Bouchard (Translated by David Warriner). Out now in both Kindle and Paperback formats. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

The Coral Bride is the sequel to We Were The Salt Of The Sea, book 2 in the Detective Moralès series, written by Roxanne Bouchard and translated to English by David Warriner.

Detective Moralès moved from Mexico to Canada several years prior. He took a job transfer and moved to Bonaventure in the Gaspé Peninsula. Awaiting his wife to join him… however, things didn’t go to plan and his son Sébastien turned up at his door instead with his own troubles, but unwilling to discuss them with his father.

Moralès wants to help his son, but gets assigned a new case. A missing fisher woman named Angel Roberts. A woman in a mans world.. or something. The industry is dominated by males and many are particularly thrilled to have her on their turf. When her lobster trawler is found but there is no sign of her, it’s down to Morales and his team to find her with the help of Fisheries officer Simone who provides a lot of insight on the fishing industry and is quite unlikable.

The author paints an absolutely picturesque image of the Gaspé, so much so you can almost smell the sea salt in the air. A beautiful backdrop while weaving threads of complicated family relationships both for Roberts and Moralès while he investigates her case and tries to make sense of his own life as he struggles with his relationship with his son.

The Coral Bride is charming and captivating. It’s beautifully written/translated and while a little lengthier at over 400 pages, it doesn’t feel it. It feels like a well paced journey with perfectly placed moments of intrigue throughout. It read perfectly well as a standalone and I really enjoyed it. This book has a significant… atmosphere about it. Even the choppiest waters have a weird serenity to them. It’s hard for me to really express it as it was just a feeling I experienced while reading and I can’t recapture it from just thinking back. You’ll have to give it a read and see if you experience it too.

book reviews · Bookish

Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalesen (Review)

Phew, we’re almost at the end of the week. Back in to lockdown. It’s pretty stressful. A good excuse to pick up some new books! So how about Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalesen (Translated by Don Bartlett). I’m really pleased to be on the Orenda tour for this latest piece of translated Nordic fiction. Did you know, there is even a statue of Varg Veum, the protaganist in Bergen, Norway where the books are set? Please be sure to check out the other stops on the tour and if it sounds like the kind of book you’ll enjoy, maybe you’d like to join for the virtual book launch! Details below. There’s also a way to get £3 off a signed copy at the end of the post. 😀

Fallen Angels (or Falne Engler in Norwegian) is the latest Nordic Noir translated work brought to us by the amazing Orenda Books and is the 18th installment overall in the Varg Veum series. It reads perfectly fine as a standalone which is good as not all of his prior works are available in English as far as I’m aware. One day I’ll read them in Norwegian. I was on the tour for the previous book Orenda brought to our lands and that combined with friends from Norway pushed me to learn the language! But anyway, let me tell you more about this book itself.

The death of a former classmate brings Varg together with his old friends. Friends may be a bit too strong of a word for some of them. One of these gents married Varg’s first love. This situation took Varg on a trip down memory lane, exploring his own past while feeling his age in the present. There is a lot of exploration and insight to Varg as a person and as a result, this book is quite the slow burn but it’s important that this is done for the plot to have the desired effect, in my opinion. I feel I have to note this as while I personally don’t mind it, I know some do and prefer a quicker build of the tensions and a bigger sense of urgency.

The action isn’t strictly said, but it’s obvious that is has a significant effect on Varg and it doesn’t feel like the focus of the book. It’s very much a foray in to the past with a murder thrown in for good measure. However, it lays a lot out, and while this book is in the 80’s, some of it is still relevant today. It feels very real and authentic and leaves a bad taste in the mouth with its believability. The characters are not a likeable bunch and their actions are oftentimes… well, unsavoury, but they’re very human and Staalesen doesn’t try to polish them and make them look like they’re better people than they are. I really enjoy that fact and find it only makes the tale more compelling. Are these people really who they seem? It’s quite an insight in to how dark human behaviours can be and left me feeling cautious and uneasy as I progressed through until I reached the conclusion alongside Varg (vague because.. spoilers!)

Fallen Angels is a well written, compelling read, and Don Bartlett did an excellent job with the translation of this work and keeping its heart. I feel like this book adds a lot to Varg’s character and while differently paced to the other works of Staalesen’s that I’ve read, it adds a lot of flavour – I half wish I had gotten to read it before his other works but then I wonder if I’d have picked up more if this was my first foray. I’m not sure! What I am sure of is that I enjoyed this read and was so excited to see another Gunnar Staalesen title brought to our shores!

About the Book

Exploring his own dark memories may be the only way to find a killer…

When Bergen PI Varg Veum finds himself at the funeral of a former classmate on a sleet-grey December afternoon, he’s unexpectedly reunited with his old friend Jakob – guitarist of the once-famous 1960s rock band The Harpers – and his estranged wife, Rebecca, Veum’s first love.

Their rekindled friendship is thrown into jeopardy by the discovery of a horrific murder, and Veum is forced to dig deep into his own adolescence and his darkest memories, to find a motive … and a killer.

Tense, vivid and deeply unsettling, Fallen Angels is the spellbinding, award-winning thriller that secured Gunnar Staalesen’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost crime writers.

Bookish

I Can’t Sleep by J.E Rowney

Hello! Today I’m bringing you a spotlight on I Can’t Sleep by JE Rowney! Please check it out!

About the Book

“I can’t sleep. Not since June 16th, 2018.Not since what happened…”

Traumatised by the events of her past, exhausted by insomnia, Becky Braithwaite believes that a new start will help her to recover. She leaves home to fulfil her brother’s dreams, and honour the life he never had but she soon finds that escaping from the past is not as easy as she imagined.

Is her fatigued mind playing tricks on her, or is danger really lurking in the shadows?

This unputdownable psychological thriller will keep you turning the pages to find out the truth.

book reviews · Bookish

Betrayal by Lilja Sigurðardóttir (Review)

Good afternoon everyone! Had some technical gremlins so it’s later in the day than I would have liked with this one – I ended up having to re-write it! But I am pleased to be bringing you a review of Betrayal by Lilja Sigurdardóttir, translated from Icelandic by Quentin Bates as part of another wonderful Orenda blog tour. Please be sure to check out the other awesome stops on the tour!

I received a copy of Betrayal for free for review purposes.

Betrayal is a standalone work of Icelandic Noir about corruption in politics as Úrsula, the newly promoted minister and former aid worker ends up unknowingly drawn in to a plot to benefit everyone aside from herself.

As soon as Úrsula is in office, she knows what she wants to get done in her year tenure at the ministry. Right off the bat, she makes a promise to a mother who is on tenterhooks about the progress of her daughters rape case, having no idea that there was far more to it than a police officer being the culprit as some of her colleagues attempt to hinder her at every juncture. She finds an unlikely acquaintance in Stella, whom shows Úrsula a place where she can smoke in private. A cleaner whom usually goes ignored.

I really liked the characters in Betrayal. Úrsula was so passionate and believable but also very human. Her driver, Gunnar who was very serious and clearly had far more to him than meets the eye – I’d have liked to have learned more about why he is the way he is. Stella. Rough around the edges. An alright sort whose done some bad things whom I couldn’t help but feel sympathetic towards.

Betrayal is well paced with short, punchy chapters that flip between the perspective of numerous characters as Úrsula works at the ministry to the best of her ability while receiving threats and tackling obstacles that are deliberately placed to hinder her. I felt really bad for Úrsula as it seemed she would not have an easy run. Often the point was made about having a woman as a minister and the portrayal of her in the media. It felt very believable. All in all, I really enjoyed Betrayal and following Úrsula on what turned out to be a very chaotic and short tenure as minister. I found it to be a compelling read.

About the Book

Burned out and traumatised by her horrifying experiences around the world, aid worker Úrsula has returned to Iceland. Unable to settle, she accepts a high-profile government role in which she hopes to make a difference again.

But on her first day in the post, Úrsula promises to help a mother seeking justice for her daughter, who had been raped by a policeman, and life in high office soon becomes much more harrowing than Úrsula could ever have imagined. A homeless man is stalking her – but is he hounding her, or warning her of some danger? And why has the death of her father in police custody so many years earlier reared its head again?

As Úrsula is drawn into dirty politics, facing increasingly deadly threats, the lives of her stalker, her bodyguard and even a witch-like cleaning lady intertwine. Small betrayals become large ones, and the stakes are raised ever higher…

book reviews · Bookish

A Song of Isolation by Michael J Malone (Review)

Hello! Today I am on the Orenda tour for A Song of Isolation by Michael J. Malone. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour. It is out on September 17th in Paperback format and available now in Kindle format. Please check out the other tour stops!

A Song of Isolation is a frustrating tale of greed. That’s what it boils down to in the end. Amelie once was the darling of the silver screen, however, an incident caused her to decide to give it all up. She was living a relatively normal life with her partner, Dave, when after Damaris, the next door neighbours child fell off her bike in the garden. Little did they know that this would turn their entire lives upside-down when Dave is accused of assaulting Damaris.

Tense and uneasy, this book takes you on a bit of a rollercoaster. We know a spade is a spade, but not everything is as it seems. The way the characters are written is incredibly important for a premise like this to be able to work and Michael J Malone really pulled it off. Right from the start, you get an impression about the main characters that will influence you later on. The characters develop well along side the story and the plot and as it unfolds, you can tell that something is not right. These are not the characters we know. Something is off.

Despite knowing something is right, nobody told the rest of the world as they’re easily influenced by the media and sent on a witch hunt against Dave and also Amelia who has chosen to stand by Dave when some serious accusations are thrown his way. They’re treated with nothing less than contempt and yet she stayed by his side until she was physically forced to leave, until another discovery led her to brave coming home. Little did she know, far more was waiting at home for her than she realised in time to come.

In the end, it all boils down to greed and a complete disregard for everyone else in order to get what one wants. This is tense and well paced, one of those books that carries you along and before you realise it, you’re over half way through and you’ve gotta see it through to the end. Or at least, that was the case for me. I felt angry and frustrated but also sympathetic to the cast of characters. I feel it important to note that this book is pretty dark, but not graphic, yet the tale still hits pretty hard. I had to take some time to process it once I had finished, rather than moving on to my next read. People can easily be led without them even realising it and some people will stop at nothing to achieve their own ends…

About the Book

Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job. The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went?

Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press witch hunt quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country.

While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world.

Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives … in an instant.

book reviews · Bookish

House of Straw by Marc Scott (Review)

Good afternoon! I hope everybody is keeping safe and well. Today I am pleased to be on the blog tour for House of Straw by Marc Scott. It’s available in Kindle and Papaerback formats. I received a paperback copy for free for review purposes.

Review

House of Straw follows two women, Bree and Poppy. Bree loses her brother in a tragic and brutal way, however, he becomes a hero in the process. The question is, was this tragedy truly an accident? People hound her about the possibility of a suicide note, but things really aren’t the situation they think it is. Bree ends up falling in to absolute despair and her friend Kayleigh tries her best to help her friend.

Meanwhile, Poppy is living in a flat, with an abusive, nasty piece of work that she calls her boyfriend, due to feelings of obligation. Poppy clearly has a lot of issues, however, she managed to get herself clean from drugs after some time at her majesty’s pleasure and manages to stay clean after that, despite her drug abusing boyfriend. It’s not surprising Poppy has a lot of problems. To say she was dealt a rough hand seems like an understatement.

It turns out, Bree and Poppy are half sisters. They share a parent. It turns out that they also share something else thanks to that parent. It’s clear the two of them are very troubled women. At first, it seems they are absolute polar opposites, Poppy having a rough upbringing and eventually going through the care system where Bree led a more privileged life. The book follows them through their current day struggles and tells us about their past. It feels wrong to say that their tales are fascinating but.. they are. Fascinating and disturbing.

Poppy had a horrible time. I found myself gasp out loud at one moment and wanting to cry because my heart hurt for her. This book is focused around the characters so it’s important that a good job is done with character building. Now, neither of these women are particularly likeable but I couldn’t help but root for them, even knowing what they’ve done, their characters and the bubbles they live in are incredibly well written and it makes their life stories enticing and interesting. I feel a bit like I was staring at a fish tank.

I think this is one of those stories that lingers in the mind, that will stay with you. I couldn’t often predict what would happen next, all I knew was “something bad is going to happen”, twists all over the place. The ending picked up pace and there were a lot of revelations in a short space of time, things I didn’t predict. When I finished, I had to sit for a moment and process what happened. The writing really evokes feelings for these two women, good and bad – or it did for me, personally. It feels wrong to say I enjoyed such a tragedy of a book, but it was a fantastic read and I’m interested to see what Marc Scott does next! House of Straw is a true psychological thriller that really hones in on the troubled minds of these women and I couldn’t put it down.

About the Book

Traumatised by the tragic death of her twin brother, Brianna falls into a state of deep depression, isolating herself from the world and all those that care about her. When a twist of fate reveals that she has a half-sister she finds a new purpose in her life and sets out to find her sibling, desperately hoping she can fill the void left in her world.

Poppy has not enjoyed the same privileged lifestyle as her sister while growing up. Abandoned into the care system at the age of eight, she has encountered both physical and sexual abuse for most of her life. Passing through the hands of more care homes and foster families than she can remember, the damaged product of a broken upbringing, Poppy has never found a place to feel truly safe. Kicking back at society, she turns to drug abuse and acts of extreme violence to escape from reality.

When the two siblings are finally united, they discover that they have much more in common than their DNA. Their paths are shrouded with sinister secrets of betrayal and regret and both girls share a deep-rooted hatred for one of their parents. As the dark truths of their lives are unveiled they realise that nothing can ever be the same again…  

book reviews · Bookish

Containment by Vanda Symon (Review)

Happy Friday! Today I’m pleased to be part of another fab Orenda blog tour, bringing you a review of Containment by Vanda Symon, book 3 in the Sam Shepard series. This is out now in both Kindle and Paperback formats. I was sent a copy of this book free for review purposes.

Containment is the third book in the Sam Shepard series. This book reads just fine if you’ve not read the previous installments. Sam(antha) has been promoted to Detective Constable in the Criminal Investigation Bureau in Dunedin. Sam’s life is a little chaotic and she has a lot of problems, but thankfully, her flatmate Maggie will pull her up on them and her colleague has her back at work.

The book immediately jumps in with the drama, when containers wash up on the shore along with the remains of a body. As first officer on scene, Sam gets to control the investigation and it’s her job to figure out just who, how and what the heck happened. The public are making things difficult as people are looting the containers that washed up. Unfortunately, one of the looters doesn’t respect Sam’s authority as an officer, but a member of the public has her back.

DI Johns uses that event as an excuse to try and sit her on the bench and assign her to more menial tasks, tasks that end up becoming quite relevant to the case. DI Johns is a wonderfully written unlikeable character and I found myself frustrated at him for his behavior. Meanwhile, Sam is clever, a little stubborn and pretty tough, but she’s also very human, very believable and has plenty of ups and downs along with the struggle of working in a team dominated by men.

Containment is incredibly immersive – as I have aphantasia, sadly, this level is description is a negative for me as I just can’t put my head in the environments no matter what, I just can’t *see* it (and with the current state of affairs, I struggle to get in to things a little more than usual in general, I’m noticing), but it is incredibly descriptive of New Zealand – I know for many people, this immersiveness is incredibly enjoyable. Combined with such a well written and balanced character, I think people could very easily get absorbed in to reading Containment and lets face it, that’s something a lot of people want from their reading material right now.

Containment is an excellent, dramatic police procedural that will hook you in, right from the start; with a strong, believable female lead who worries about her home life and her work life, this book is great for those who really like to get cozy and lose themselves in an atmospheric and well-paced procedural.

About the Book

Chaos reigns in the sleepy village of Aramoana on the New Zealand coast, when a series of shipping containers wash up on the beach and looting begins.

Detective Constable Sam Shephard experiences the desperation of the scavengers first-hand, and ends up in an ambulance, nursing her wounds and puzzling over an assault that left her assailant for dead.

What appears to be a clear-cut case of a cargo ship running aground soon takes a more sinister turn when a skull is found in the sand, and the body of a diver is pulled from the sea … a diver who didn’t die of drowning…

As first officer at the scene, Sam is handed the case, much to the displeasure of her superiors, and she must put together an increasingly confusing series of clues to get to the bottom of a mystery that may still have more victims…

book reviews · Bookish

Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb (Review)

Greetings! Today I am chuffed to be on the Orenda tour for Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb. Orenda just have so many awesome releases recently! This one is available in Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook formats. I was sent a copy for free for review purposes. Be sure to check out the other tour stops!

Deep Dark Night is the fourth installment in the award winning Lori Anderson series. I haven’t read the previous installments, but this reads perfectly fine as a standalone.

Lori is a single mother and bounty hunter, working for the FBI with her partner, JT. Specifically, an Agent Monroe, an absolute git of a bloke who really left a bad taste in my mouth. He’s a really well-written and unlikable character, especially compared to Lori, our protagonist, whose pretty awesome and relateably human. Her and JT have an excellent dynamic and you can’t help but cheer for the pair of them, both in their work and personal lives.

The book starts off as a fairly slow burn, luring you in as Lori prepares for a high stakes poker game in a penthouse at one of the cities tallest buildings; against a mob boss named Cabressa in a bid to entrap him for the FBI, using a very high valued chess set to lure him.

Things seem worrisome as Lori doesn’t seem to excel at poker, however, she walks in like she owns the place and seems to put on a convincing act. Things seem to go to plan until something entirely unexpected occurs. The entire city is plunged in to darkness, the penthouses panic room system is triggered and Lori, JT and the other players are locked inside. It turns out, they’re being held hostage by a voice over the speaker system. But who is it, and what’s their true agenda?

It turns out, none of the players are who they say they are, except for maybe Cabressa. They’re instructed to find out which one of them is Heron – someone who seems to be muscling in on Cabressa’s turf. The person over the speaker seems to already know, so why does he want them to find it out? The drama ramps up at a steady pace while the players and the reader, try to figure out what on earth is going on, while slowly, they get picked off and “Heron” is no closer to being found.

Perfectly balanced suspense, drama and action, Deep Dark Night is a tense ride with a perfect female protaganist whom I found myself really hoping came out on top of the whole situation. Realistic and relatable as opposed to some superhero that defies mortal limits; Lori Anderson is a believable and interesting character.

Far more complex than anticipated, this book really kept me on my toes and I couldn’t deduce the outcome until nearer it being revealed which was awesome. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

About the Book

A city in darkness. A building in lockdown. A score that can only be settled in blood…

Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.

An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand over the pieces. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.

When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.

And that’s just the beginning…

About the Author

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts.
My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym Stephanie Marland was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.
Follow Steph on Twitter @CrimeThrillGirl and on Facebook facebook.com/CrimeThrillerGirl or visit her website: crimerthrillergirl.com

book reviews · Bookish

The Serial Daters Shopping List by Morgen Bailey (Review)

Gooood afternoon! It’s the end of the week and I’m bringing you a review of The Serial Daters Shopping List by Morgen Bailey as part of the BOTBS tour. I was given a copy for free for my participation in the tour.

Izzy works at her local newspaper, usually writing about tech, she’s thrown in to the deep end when she is tasked with dating one guy a day for an entire month. 31 days and 31 dates. Poor Izzy!

She sets up her dating profile and comes up with a shopping list of what she does and doesn’t look for in a man. She states how everyone has their shopping list, whether they write it down or not, but some guys manage to break out of those check boxes – she’s not wrong!

Izzy’s first date was what one may deem as a success. Off to a good start! Admittedly a little disappointing. Girl, we want the tea! Okay, so there ended up being plenty of that later on – phew! Some of the guys are interesting, some are incredibly cringey, some great. There was quite a wide selection of guys in Izzy’s month and it made me laugh. While I’ve never signed up to a dating site before, I’ve had the ups and downs of online dating and tinder terrors relayed to me in technicolour detail on multiple occasions and I laughed how some of these stories echoe’d my friends’ experiences.

This was a really enjoyable, laid back and easy read for me. I found myself smiling on multiple occasions and appreciated the humour. I really liked the main character, Isobel, her best friend Donna and her boss, William. They all felt like really sweet people and it was nice to see their personal growth, even if at the end, I think Donna has made a few questionable decisions! Nothing to heavy and keeping it light hearted, I rather enjoyed this read.

About the Book

Are you looking for the perfect summer holiday read? Then you’ll love this laugh-out-loud comedy about the highs and lows of dating.

Izzy is a journalist who usually writes a technology column for a local newspaper. Her somewhat-intimidating boss William sets her the task of dating thirty-one men, via an internet dating site, all within a month, and writing about it for the paper.

Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend Donna, Izzy knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts and starts ticking them off as she meets the men.

Follow the ups and downs of the dating process including Tim ‘the Weeble’, whose date leads Izzy to see banoffee pie in a whole new light, Lawrence the super-skinny social worker, Felix with his bizarre penchant for Persian Piranhas, and ‘the music maestro but don’t talk about dead pets’ Jake.

By the end of the month, will Izzy have met Mr Right?

About the Author

Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey lives and breathes writing. ‘Morgen with an E’  is an author, speaker, tutor, editor, and podcaster. As well as being a competition judge, she is a columnist for Writers’ Forum magazine. 

Morgen’s fiction books include crime and mystery novels, and short story collections. They are mostly set against a Northamptonshire background, whether there is crime involved, a dog-detective that can talk, or a serial dater on a mission! 

Her non-fiction works are aimed at all levels of writers whether beginners or those who want to refresh their skills – Morgen also tutors in person and has several online writing courses available. She runs her own mentor group on Facebook, very much a collaboration, and she invites all authors to join. Her Writer’s Block Workbooks are a go-to for every author. 

When Morgen is not editing, speaking, reading, or writing, she’s walking her dog, out with friends or at literary festivals. The only time she sits down and does nothing is at the cinema but even then she’s making mental notes!

Morgen Bailey on Social Media:Author Website:        www.morgenbailey.com
Twitter & Instagram:        @morgenwriteruk
Facebook Page:        www.facebook.com/MorgenBaileyAuthor
GoodReads:             www.goodreads.com/morgen_bailey
Amazon Author Page:    https://author.to/MorgenBailey   

book reviews · Bookish

Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen (Review)

Hello! Today I am on the blog tour for Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen and I am bringing you a review! This book is out now and available in Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook editions. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Varg Veum is a private detective, operating out of Bergen, Norway. Previously accused of pedophilia, after images were planted on his computer, Varg has been trying to pick up the pieces after he was proven innocent, but his name still tainted.

One day, someone attempts to run Varg down. Around the same time, he has discovered that two people in the aforementioned pedophile case had died, but he senses something is amiss. Nobody has commissioned him to do so, but he decides to investigate their deaths and discovers the dark truth about the people involved in the case.

The books main theme is a case about the deaths of two pedophiles and mentions child abuse including that which occurs in a family setting. Some readers may find this triggering.

The book is translated from Norweigan, but it is well written and immersive. I found it to be suspenseful and really easy to settle in to and I guess that’s thanks to the author also being from Bergen. The nouns threw me off because I spent a while contemplating how they’d be pronounced, but that was all the more interesting to me and I was glad they didn’t anglicize the names. As an English reader, I really enjoyed the foreign setting.

The ending was punchy, hard hitting and satisfying and I was really pleased with the outcome and how the author wrapped the book up. It’s part of a series, but it read just fine as a standalone and I don’t feel overly baited to the next installment – although, I’d be interested to reading it, for sure!

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.

About the Author

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, 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 titles, which have been published in twenty-four 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 has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona Award for crime fiction. He lives with his wife in Bergen.