Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen

Review published on July 8, 2018.

Gunnar Staalesen is back and once again proving why he is regarded as one of the best Nordic Noir thriller writers on the scene. He is also is my favourite way of visiting Norway without having to put up with the cold weather and the darkness of a Norwegian winter. Big Sister is once again Staalesen at his sublime best, with all his darkness and throwing in a surprising twist when you think you have everything sorted out in your mind.

Varg Veum’s world has changed, well the world around him anyway, as his office has now been absorbed into a hotel, maybe even slightly improved. The rain in November provides all the gloom you need, or you think you need. Veum’s half sister employs him to find a girl in Bergen on a case the police have refused to take seriously.

Veum’s investigation takes on a direction all its own and turns in to a roller coaster ride in the gloom. Once Veum has picked at a scab that would probably been better off left alone, he discovers a world of crimes that have been covered up, some by blind faith and ignorance, and others because people did not want to take a closer look.

Whatever Veum seems to do, all roads lead towards a gang of bikers and the even scarier part of the modern world, the internet. When things turn personal, it is Veum who seems to be on the end of it, however painful it seems to get.

Big Sister will have you gripped from beginning to end, shocked but still entertained. Staalesen’s Varg Veum series gets better with every outing, and it is hard to believe that this series has been going for over forty years.

The translation, by Don Bartlett, is second to none as usual and well done to Karen Sullivan for bringing this series to the English reader through Orenda Books.

Paul Diggett 5/5

Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen
Orenda 9781912374199 pbk Jun 2018

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