Cover Image: Wolves in the Dark

Wolves in the Dark

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Member Reviews

At first, the reader may be confused on what all was going on with this novel....but STICK WITH IT! It gets so good. I loved it. So many paths and characters that wanted to do in the main character. The streets in Norway must be so long for the book was comprised of most of those, joking! Really good foreign thriller!
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Wolves in the Dark is an entry into one of my favorite categories: Nordic Noir. It takes place in Norway. Gunnar Staalesen protagonist, Varg Veum, is emerging from a fog of alcoholism and addiction, following the death of his lover. His new beginnings, however, are met with a charge of participating in an international child pornography internet ring.

The evidence is damning and no one, other than his new girlfriend, believes he is innocent. It is up to Veum to prove his innocence against all odds.

I found this thriller to be engrossing. Although this is part of a series, I had not read any of the other works. This did not seem to be a problem, if anything, it intensified the suspense over Veum's innocence or guilt.

The locations seems realistically shown. I felt as if I could actually see where I was and with whom I was dealing. The suspense was powerful and I could hardly bear to put the book down. Like any worthwhile thriller, I could hardly stand not knowing the ending and could not stop reading until I found out.

Atmospheric and dark, the book is a strong member of the Nordic Noir community.

I want to thank NetGalley, Gunnar Staalesen and Trafalgar Square Publishing for the opportunity of reading this terrific book. I will go quickly to read the rest of the series!
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Wolves in the Dark opens as Private Investigator, Varg Veum wakes to find a patrol car at his front door. Swept up in a wave of confusion and disbelief, he is accused of taking part in a child pornography ring. 

Having seized Vag's electronics, they take him into custody. In spite of how long those at Police Headquarters have known him, the evidence against Veum is seemingly undeniable, and his protests and attempts at reasoning are nothing new to them. 

As Varg sits in a basement holding cell he wracks his brain, thinking of past cases, lost love, and mistakes made, trying to decide who could possibly hate him enough to frame him, a man who was once a social worker, for such heinous crimes against children. 

When Varg spots the opportunity to flee, he acts quickly, knowing that this may be the only chance he has to clear his name and get back the recovery effort that his troubled life has become.

Wolves in the Dark offers a character that is both self-aware and deeply flawed. He's a traditional P.I. on a mission to clear his name. Readers will love his determination and hasty decision-making. Varg is the perfect detective for true fans of Nordic Noir.

Thanks to Orenda Books for allowing me to review this book.
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Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

	Varg Veum is a literary character that I first meet though television.  MHZ had the Varg Veum movies on, and I watched them.  So, I started reading the series in a haphazard fashion, or in other words, totally out of order.
	This installment finds Veum coming out of a drinking addiction fueled by depression after a death.  In part, some of his sobering comes from meeting a woman (who has a daughter) and part of it comes from being accused of child pedophilia.  
	The novel opens with the arrival of the police to arrest Veum and search his apartment, and the book stays to the break neck speed.  In a cell, Veum is forced to remember as much as his drunk years as he can because someone, he doesn’t know who, is setting him up. 
	Not many people believe him.  Strangely enough his new girlfriend is one of those who does.  	
	I guess he is lucky that way, for those that have known him the longest, by and large, view him as guilty.
	On one hand, the story is a non-stop thriller.  It starts with a bust and keeps going.  The pace never seems to slow, not surprising when Veum isn’t given the time to catch his breath.  The characters are well written, possibly not the girlfriend who seems a bit too trusting, yet she is not stupid.  Even though at times it seems like too much coincidental.  The ending too, is on level, a typical white male ending.  It is difficult to image an immigrant or even a woman, even in Norway, having the same reaction as Varg Veum to the final outcome.
	In part, that might be part of the problem with this book – Veum never seems quite aware of the societal pressures, norms, what have you, that contribute or allow the trafficking and abuse of children (and women) to occur.  On one hand, there are times when a reader wants to smack Veum for his cluelessness on the matter.  Doesn’t he realize, the reader might wonder under her breath, in particular when he is confronting woman.  Then one wonders if this genius on the part of Staalesen.  What better way to show a problem?  There is no preaching, no holier than though.  And this provokes more thought.
	This book will most likely get less attention then Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  A shame considering that it is better written and far more powerful for its subtlety.
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It starts out having Veum being arrested for pictures of child pornography on his computer.  It goes on to include people being killed for having child pornography on their computers, but being made into homosexuals instead and being eliminated as such.  It goes into Veum's life as his job as a child welfare agent.  As an agent he knows that many children get lost in the system.  He escapes from custody when he gets sick from seeing a picture of him on a girls body and has to go to the bathroom.  He left on his own and he escapes.

After being on his own he makes a visit to an orphanage and knows the resident in charge, he goes to a small location and see's several people and then visits it again and knows it as a fish farm.  He has several playbacks on his life and realizes he had several run ins with the same people.  He goes on to find them and talk to them.  Sølvi finds him housing for the time he need to gather evidence.  

It comes to a head when he visits Starnes with Svendsbø and then Hjalmar and Heimark show up.  Everyone is involved some how.  Solvi has the police to arrive by the plan Veum has but Svensbø leaves by the back door and Veum chases him down.  This was an interesting book to read and Gunnar leaves you hanging with the outcome.
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***I received a copy of this book for an honest review***

This book left me feeling very uneasy. It follows PI Varg Veum through a difficult time following the passing of his love interest. He turns to alcohol and is lost in a spiral of foggy nights and easy women. One morning he is woken to police at his door and is accused of being in a child pornography circle and started to stand trial. 

I think as a mother is was very hard to read an entire novel about child porn and abuse. It was so dark, and not typically something I would pick up to read. There were a few people in the book that were specifically supposed to be taking care of children and they were the worst abusers. It made my blood boil. 

However, it was written very well, and I definitely had to continue reading to find out what happened at the end. It was alway very well translated and I don't think any of the story was lost. I do wish that we found out more about what happen to the accused at the end, but that is more of my emotions and wouldn't really further the story at all. 

Overall it was a tantalizing crime novel. And if you can stomach the content very worth the read!
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Varg Veum is a private investigator whose last several years have been a total misery, after the death of his great love.  He's spent that time in a drunken stupor, barely remembering anything.  Taking on cases while hungover or still drunk, he has angered several clients, disgruntled to the point of payback.
When he is arrested for have a large cache of child pornography on his computer, he's stunned and panicked to the core.  He's barely computer literate, basically using it for emails and knows someone has set him up.  In his jail cell he goes over the last cases he handled over the past couple of years, but can't believe any of those clients had a reason to do something so horrific to him.  When he is presented with photographic evidence, he is physically ill, running to the bathroom, then running out of the police station, determined to prove his innocence.  He hides in an apartment with Madonna the cat, whose owner is on vacation.  His lawyer begs him to give himself up, but Varg is convinced only he can prove his innocence.  As he revisits his former cases and clients, he does have nightmarish thoughts:  with all his drunken blackouts, could he possibly have committed those horrendous acts?  But no, it's not possible, he will prove his innocence, come hell or high water.
This book clips along at breakneck speed, leaving me breathless and rooting for Varg all the way.  This was my first introduction to the series and I have some catching up to do...
Varg is very sympatico, I wanted him to be innocent so badly!
I can't wait for the next book, I want to know what happens next.  A great read for lovers of noir Scandi, or fans for dark mysteries.
Thank you Netgalley and Orenda Books for the eARC.
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