Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalesen, published by Orenda Books @OrendaBooks @annecater #GunnarStaalesen #review #blog

I was so lucky to receive an advance copy of Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalesen. A credible and dark page-turner with a relentless pace. Vivid, taut and evocative, this book had my pulse racing from start to finish.

Description:

Ever-dogged Bergen PI Varg Veum has to dig deep into his own past as he investigates the murder of a former classmate. Vintage, classic Nordic Noir from international bestselling author Gunnar Staalesen.

Description: 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 – the once-famous lead singer of 1960s rock band The Harpers – and his estranged wife, Rebecca, Veum’s first love.

Their rekindled friendship come to an abrupt end with 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.

  • Paperback : 276 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1913193063
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1913193065
  • Publisher : Orenda Books (March 1, 2021)

PI Varg Veum reunites with a former friend Jakob at the funeral of Jan Petter in Bergen. The reunion brings back old memories of former classmates, some of whom have already died, but none, as it turns out, from old age.

Deciding to go for a pub crawl with their friend Paul Finckel, they reminisce about the past. There’s a melancholy mood to the opening chapters as if the ‘group’ are trying to reclaim their youth, trapped in an eddy of musical memories of The Harpers for which Veum was a roadie. They drink and carouse the night away, while ‘valleslette’ – sleet and biting winds and a few degrees above zero – sets the tone. Even though there is no life on the fjord there is always the Beetles…

Jakob asks Veum to search for his wife, Rebecca, a girl who grew up with Veum in Nordnes in the 60s. Thinking she may have run off with Johnny Solheim, Veum makes inquiries. But Johnny has a wife and claims he hasn’t seen Rebecca.

A few hours in another Sodom and Gomorrah type watering hole ‘where Caligula would have felt at home,’ Veum finds a heap of bad news outside. Holed up in a tight space and dreaming of the Rebecca he once knew, he is forced to answer a few questions. As another picture of an angel surfaces, Veum’s sharp instincts recognise the deaths may be connected. What did happened after the dissolution of the band? Someone is carrying around an awful secret and with Staalesen’s great sense of pacing, the reveal was phenomenal.

Fallen Angels is a remarkable example of its genre. The religious and psychological aspects bring deeper layers to the novel as told in powerful prose. It’s an elegant and complex thriller, meticulously laid out with a corkscrewing plot. The characters are well-drawn and mysterious, and the protagonist takes us on a wild ride with vivid scenes of Norway in December and its snowy, sleet-grey skies. There’s no doubt about it: Staalesen belongs on every crime fiction reader’s bookshelf.

My thanks to the publisher, Orenda Books, the author, Gunnar Staalesen and Anne Cater, blog tour organiser for the privilege of reading an advance copy of this book.

Image

Praise for Gunnar Staalesen

‘Gunnar Staalesen is one of my very favourite Scandinavian authors. Operating out of Bergen in Norway, his private eye, Varg Veum, is a complex but engaging anti-hero. Varg means “wolf ” in Norwegian, and this is a series with very sharp teeth’ Ian Rankin

‘The Norwegian Chandler’ Jo Nesbø

‘Not many books hook you in the first chapter – this one did, and never let go!’ Mari Hannah

‘Staalesen continually reminds us he is one of the finest of Nordic novelists’ Financial Times

‘Chilling and perilous results — all told in a pleasingly dry style’ Sunday Times

‘Staalesen does a masterful job of exposing the worst of Norwegian society in this highly disturbing entry’ Publishers Weekly

‘The Varg Veum series is more concerned with character and motivation than spectacle, and it’s in the quieter scenes that the real drama lies’ Herald Scotland

‘Every inch the equal of his Nordic confreres Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo’ Independent

‘Mature and captivating’ Herald Scotland

‘One of the finest Nordic novelists – in the tradition of Henning Menkell’ Barry Forshaw, Independent

‘Masterful pacing’ Publishers Weekly

About the Author

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen published the first book in the Varg Veum series in 1977. He is now the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007. 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. 

Granite Noir fest 2017. Gunnar Staalesen.

Other Books by Gunnar Staalesen

Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver @OrendaBooks @will_carver #blog #review #Contemporary #Urban #Fiction

This HAS to be one of the most memorable books I’ve ever read. But it’s also one of the hardest. Extraordinarily well written and typical of the high standards we’ve come to expect from Orenda Books. I couldn’t wait to dive in and I don’t believe I came up for air until the very end.

Book description:

When strangers take part in a series of group suicides, everything suggests that a cult is to blame. But how do you stop a cult when no one knows they are members? A shocking, mesmerisingly original and pitch-black thriller from the critically acclaimed Will Carver.

Nine suicides
One Cult
No leader

Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.

That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of The People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.

Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe: a decapitation in Germany, a public shooting at a university in Bordeaux; in Illinois, a sports team stands around the centre circle of the football pitch and pulls the trigger of the gun pressed to the temple of the person on their right. It becomes a movement.

 

 

Paperback: 276 pages

Publisher: Orenda Books (November 14, 2019)

ISBN-10: 1912374838

ISBN-13: 978-1912374830

Links US and UK

Review

The saying ‘you never really know what goes on behind closed doors’ is true in the case of Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver. Because something very important did happen to 9 people, nine very unsuspecting, seemingly unhappy people but with one thing in common. A drive to end it all and in a way that will shock thousands.

What really happened forced me out one rainy day to a coffee shop, where I could read this book in the safety of a crowded room. To say the writing style is addictive would be an understatement. I had to know what happened at the end. It’s not often I find the subject matter of a tale unforgiving, and sometimes a little uncomfortable. But this is a train-wreck of a book where you can’t look away. One that talks of ‘nobodies’ — dissatisfied and directionless, all running away from something. Shockingly, even DS Pace is trying to escape from something, and what makes it psychologically realistic is that we all are. Let’s not forget, this is not Pace’s case. He is merely drawn to it — as I was drawn to him to solve these bizarre and chilling deaths.

The writing is tense, dark and broody, and whenever someone new comes on scene, there is a high probability he/she will buckle under this terrifying ‘thing’ that has blighted the 9. All over the world people have been selected, ripping themselves from their families and we are left wondering how children, husbands, wives and dogs will cope without them. How many more will die in horrific self-inflicted deaths and in public places to an audience of horrified onlookers? Because any one of them could be next.

But who is behind The People Of Choice? Or The People Of No Choice. And how are these victims linked?

This is one of the most twisted stories I’ve ever read and probably one of the darkest. Too many scenes to count that are heinously graphic, namely the car and the rope, although there are a few others that made me want to stop, drop and roll.

The thing about this book is that it’s memorable. The residue sits with you for days and you’ll go over it in your mind, especially the final words that bring a high-five moment at the end of a very depraved few hours of reading. Definitely one of a kind, brutal, thought provoking and with a pace that leaves you breathless.

A brilliantly, twisted story that will make your toes curl!

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for allowing me a place on this blog tour, Orenda Books and the lovely Will Carver for a copy of this brilliant book. Many apologies for missing my stop! But here it is.

About the Author

Will Carver pic

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

More books by Will Carver

will carver

Praise for his books:

‘Will Carver has taken the rules of a serial killer novel and ignored every single one of them … A twisted and twisty thriller. This book will mess with your head’ Michael Wood

‘A literary thriller with the darkest storyline and the most ingenious execution I’ve ever read. If you think you know what’s going on in this book, you’re wrong; and when it all unfolds, your jaw will drop. This book is incredible, and Will Carver one of a kind’ SJI Holliday

‘I’ve never read such an original, stunning, clever, literary thriller. I’m absolutely blown away. This deserves so much success’ Sarah Pinborough

‘Will Carver redefines crime fiction with a twisted slice of literary noir that breaks all the rules. This is a gloriously melancholy, twisted and twisty, with so much to say on modern lives it’ll stay with me for a very long time. Wow’ Tom Wood

‘It’s darkly twisted and deliciously distorted, shocking and completely mind warping!’ Book Obsessed

‘It’s beautifully written. The writing is staccato – quick, fast-paced and compelling’ Off-the-Shelf Books

‘This is stylish and extraordinary writing. It’s puzzling and perplexing but so damn good. There is something quite mesmerising about this story that defies genre and quite frankly, logic. Stunning … this will linger in my mind forever’ Random Things through My letterbox