Posted in Book Review, Crime, Murder Mystery, Noir, Nordic Noir

Fallen Angels Gunnar Staalesen 4* #Review @OrendaBooks #FallenAngels #NordicNoir #GunnarStaalesen Translator Don Bartlett #BlogTour #BookReview #VargVeum

Ever-dogged Bergen PI Varg Veum has to dig deep into his own past as he investigates the murder of a former classmate. Eighth in an international-bestselling series of Nordic-Noir thrillers

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.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I understand that this is the eight book in a long-running series, but this sees the private investigator Varg Veum as a younger man than some of the earlier books, in a story that delves into his past and shows how he became the man he is. So, in many ways, this is a good starting book for new readers like me. The story reads as a standalone and is true to the Nordic Noir genre.

The themes of good and evil and spirituality and sin underscore this story. It has noir themes which are disturbing to read but are essential to the character of the story. There is a murder mystery which has its roots in Varg’s past, which is described strikingly both in events and location.

The writing is immersive and vivid. The characters distinctive, but not likeable, which is often a given in this genre. It’s not an easy read, but it is insightful, and the Norwegian setting is of intrinsic interest too.

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 Nordic Crime Fiction and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019.

He lives with his wife in Bergen.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Folk Tales, Nordic Noir, Scandinavian Crime

The Seven Doors Agnes Ravatn 5*#Review #AgnesRavatn #Translator Rosie Hedger @rosie_hedger @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #NordicNoir #BlogTour #BookReview #TheSevenDoors

University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her adult daughter Ingeborg are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition.

When Ingeborg decides to move into another house they own, things take a very dark turn. The young woman who rents it disappears, leaving behind her son, the day after Nina and Ingeborg pay her a visit.

With few clues, the police enquiry soon grinds to a halt, but Nina has an inexplicable sense of guilt. Unable to rest, she begins her own investigation, but as she pulls on the threads of the case, it seems her discoveries may have very grave consequences for her and her family.

A dark, powerful and deeply disturbing psychological thriller about family, secrets and dangerous curiosity…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric, chilling Nordic noir story, which holds your attention from its ordinary beginning to its fast-paced, tragic conclusion.

Nina is facing the loss of her childhood home to the developers, and this crystallises the sense of unease and loss of identity she faces in her life. Her marriage is sedate and her relationship with her daughter difficult.

When her daughter needs to move house, they visit their rental property and bully their way inside, leaving the tenant unsettled. Nina regrets going along with her daughter’s actions and is guilt-ridden when she discovers the tenant is missing without trace days later.

Nina takes on an amateur investigative role as she realises the tenant’s true identity and finds tentative connections with her parents. What she discovers is increasingly sinister, as it appears Nina’s disappearance may not be voluntary, and everyone has a reason to remove her.

The folklore and literary references add authenticity and depth to this emotional family drama. It has relatable salient characters and a compelling investigation, which reveals a poignant web of deceit, obsession and saving face.

Agnes Ravatn

Agnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is a Norwegian author and columnist. She made her literary début with the novel Week 53 (Veke 53) in 2007. Since then she has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections: Standing still (Stillstand), 2011, Popular Reading (Folkelesnad), 2011, and Operation self-discipline (Operasjon sjøldisiplin), 2014.

In these works, Ravatn revealed a unique, witty voice and sharp eye for human fallibility.
Her second novel, The Bird Tribunal (Fugletribuanlet), was an international bestseller translated into fifteen languages, winning an English PEN Award, shortlisting for the Dublin Literary Award, a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick and a BBC Book at Bedtime. It was also made into a successful play, which premiered in Oslo in 2015.

Agnes lives with her family in the Norwegian countryside.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Noir, Scandinavian Crime, Suspense

Sister #OsloDetectives Kjell Ola Dahl 4*#Review #Translator Don Bartlett @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks #RandomThingsTours @annecater #CrimeFiction #NordicNoir #BookReview #BlogTour #Crime #Sister

Suspended from duty, Detective Frølich is working as a private investigator, when his girlfriend’s colleague asks for his help with a female asylum seeker, who the authorities are about to deport. She claims to have a sister in Norway, and fears that returning to her home country will mean instant death.

Frølich quickly discovers the whereabouts of the young woman’s sister, but things become increasingly complex when she denies having a sibling, and Frølich is threatened off the case by the police. As the body count rises, it becomes clear that the answers lie in an old investigation, and the mysterious sister, who is now on the run…

A dark, chilling and up-to-the-minute Nordic Noir thriller, Sister is also a tense and well-plotted murder mystery with a moving tragedy at its heart

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

‘Sister’ is atmospheric, complex and well-paced Nordic noir. Frølich, currently suspended from his detective role in Oslo, is making a living as a PI. Wondering where his next case will come from, a friend of a friend asks him to look for an asylum seeker’s sister. The search leads to connections with a cold case, a mystery woman who denies having a sister, and an increasing body count. The plot is multi-layered, with many twists and misinformation. The suspense builds with each connection and event. Frølich finds his skills much in demand, even though he’s warned against pursuing his investigation by the police.

Sister is addictive nordic noir, with a realistic investigation and insightful psychological suspense.

Kjell Ola Dahl

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in
1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo