I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today for “Big Sister” by Gunnar Staalsen as part of the Blog Tour by Orenda Books. My thanks go to Anne Cater, Orenda and also the author for my spot on the tour and also my copy of Big Sister. This book is available in eBook and also paperback format and you can buy your copy from Amazon UK
PI Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office from a woman who introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a nineteen-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously. Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers and to a shadowy group, whose dark actions are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal… Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.
Private Investigator Varg Veum has more than the usual interest when taking on his new case. The woman who asks is his sister whom he has never met, so not only a chance to get to know her but also the possibility of finding out more about his family. His sister is concerned about the disappearance of her god-daughter.
This is yet another new to me author as I join in the Varg Veum series. Sometimes I think this is a good thing especially when the book works as a standalone, as this one does. It means I have no prior expectations. This is set Bergen Norway and one of the first things that struck me was the wonderful descriptions of the area the author describes, i was able to build a good picture of the area and also the climate brrr. It was a great stand alone book to read as I learnt some details about Varg at the same time he did from his sister. There are things in his past that I still want to know more about and reading the previous books will obviously fill in the stories.
This is a serious case for Varg as the disappearance of a young woman is not taken seriously by the police. The more he delves into he case the darker it gets, the more the plot twists and I was taken into a scenario I really didn’t expect.
This is a slower paced book and I thought it really did suit the story quite well, it gave me a chance to get to grips with the names of other characters and also place names. These I really did struggle with initially, taking me a few sentences to recognise which character was which. This is not anything to do with the author here and is no criticism with his writing, it is purely my lack of knowledge regarding Norway and not knowing any names. But it didn’t really distract from the story and this is where the slower pace really helped as I needed to pay extra attention.
So for a first time reader of this author I found the story addictive, interesting and as if I was being drawn down a tunnel that got darker the further I went. It had a good amount of suspense and kept me engrossed, I would have happily rad it in one sitting if I didn’t have to go to work. It has also left me wanting to know more about PI Varg Veum so I will be looking for other books by Gunnar Staalesen. I must also say that the translator Don Bartlett has done a fantastic job, the translation is seamless.
If you are after a gripping, slower paced Nordic Noir that is dark and full of suspense then this book really is worth reading. It works really well as a stand alone and I would definitely recommend it.
About the Author:
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 five million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is being filmed now. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives in Bergen with his wife.
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