blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Bitter Flowers – Gunnar Staalesen, translated by Don Bartlett

Fresh from rehab, PI Varg Veum faces his most complex investigation yet, when a man is found drowned, a young woman disappears, and the case of a missing child is revived. The classic Nordic Noir series continues…

PI Varg Veum has returned to duty following a stint in rehab, but his new composure and resolution are soon threatened when three complex crimes land on his desk. A man is found dead in an elite swimming pool. A young woman has gone missing. Most chillingly, Veum is asked to investigate the ‘Camilla Case’: an eight-year-old cold case involving the disappearance of a little girl, who was never found. As the threads of these three apparently unrelated cases come together, against the backdrop of a series of shocking environmental crimes, Veum faces the most challenging, traumatic investigation of his career.

A stunning, sophisticated, tension-packed thriller – the darkest of hardboiled Nordic Noir – from one of Norway’s most acclaimed crime writers.

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); 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.

My thoughts: this was really good. After a stint in rehab Varg Veum is back on form and tracking down a killer after literally finding a dead body. This case seems to be connected to several tragedies from some years before – a missing child and the accident that returned a young woman to a childlike state.

As he digs in, more and more details come to light, and could these tragic events be connected by more than just the date?

Gritty, clever and with echoes of today’s climate crisis, this is a compelling and gripping read and one where for once I couldn’t figure out whodunit in the first few pages. Masterly work.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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