Book Reviews

Book Tour: Wolves in the Dark, by Gunnar Stalesen

Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg Veum 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 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.

This book jumps straight into action in the opening paragraphs, and within pages we are pulled into a dark and disturbing tale of allegations against Varg Veum, private investigator and protagonist in our tale.

Wolves in the Dark deals with a dark, gruesome and violent subject matter – child pornography and paedophilia. Veum is accused of being part of a paedophilia ring and taken into custody for questioning. While in custody he begins going through old, unsolved cases from a dark and destructive part of his life. When he takes his chance and goes on the run, he follows all the leads he can think of to find the person responsible for framing him.

The book jumps between real-time events and Veum’s memories; as he works through potential leads – there are several, which results in a dizzying back-and-forth between historic cases and his life on the run. This is a perfect portrayal of the confusion and panic he feels following his arrest and eventual escape.

Because there was so much back and forth; I did find my attention wandering towards the middle of the book – you really do need to pay attention to keep track of everything that’s going on! At the end, there is a frantic finish as the pieces slot into place and we are able to step back to see the full picture.

I had conflicting feelings towards Varg Veum’s character – while I could understand his frustration, indignation and fear; I did also feel a dislike for him and the way he has lived his life over the last few years (although I don’t have the insight of previous books and what happened to Karin to cause that). I did find it a little unlikely that, at one point, three people were in contact with him while he’s on the run and none of them turn him in.

Wolves in the Dark is a sinister depiction of the criminal underworld and the inherent dangers and risks of internet hacking, but the incredibly heavy subject matter is lightened throughout the book with Veum’s dry sarcasm and witty reflections.

“… a façade of concrete down both sides, built at the end of the 1950s when the council authorities responsible must have been on a study tour of Murmansk to find some architectural inspiration. Here the Russians had definitely won the Cold War.”

Released on 15th June, Wolves in the Dark is an often uncomfortable, gritty read; which will appeal to those who like their crime more complicated than clean-cut.

Granite Noir Fest 2017


wolves blog tour poster


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