Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen (Varg Veum)

June 10, 2019





‘Gunnar Staalesen is one of my very favourite Scandinavian authors…this is a series with very sharp teeth’ Ian Rankin

 ‘A Norwegian Chandler’ Jo Nesbo 

‘With its exploration of family dynamics and the complex web of human behaviour, Staalesen’s novel echoes the great California author Ross MacDonald’s Lew Archer mysteries … mature and captivating’ Herald Scotland

‘Norwegian master Staalesen is an author who eschews police procedural narratives for noirish private eye pieces … with some abrasive social commentary’ Financial Times




One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing. While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large. Fearing for his life, Veum begins to investigate the old case, interviewing the victims of abuse and delving deeper into the brutal crimes, with shocking results. The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance.

My Review

After a near miss hit and run attempt in the dark of night, Private investigator Varg Veum reopens an old case he is inexplicably and very personally involved.

A case he was framed in, child pornography found in in his possesion,

Along with 3 others he was arrested but released without charge, now 18 months later 2 of the others , who were guilty but only given mild sentences have now turned up dead, deaths ruled accidents, Veum is not so sure,

After attempting to get assistance from the unhelpful police he takes the case up on his own as he believes he is a walking target .

Delving deep into the case he begins to unearth the true horrors of peadophiles and child pornography,

It’s quite a slow paced book, like the investigator himself. It begins to warm up and quicken in pace around half way, though it’s very methodical, almost a nice change from the thrill a minute books i've read recently.

Varg veum is an old school investigator, he is like a dog with a bone and will leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of the truth.

The writing is very descriptive, maybe it’s the translation, the locations in Norway’s are written so carefully and precisely.

With a dark, theme and a gloom throughout this is dark scandanvian crime, it’s sharp, interesting, intriguing and also chilling at times.

Gripping and intense, with a storyline that challenges a hard to read subject, this is a real old school P.I story.





One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, 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-three titles, which have been published in twenty-six 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 currently being filmed. 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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