Today Mandie, my big sister, has a review of Gunnar Staalesen’s Big Sister. I reviewed it as part of the Year of Orenda Varg Veum week and you can find my review right here. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Varg Veum receives a surprise visit in his office. A woman introduces herself as his half-sister, and she has a job for him. Her god-daughter, a 19-year-old trainee nurse from Haugesund, moved from her bedsit in Bergen two weeks ago. Since then no one has heard anything from her. She didn’t leave an address. She doesn’t answer her phone. And the police refuse to take her case seriously.
Veum’s investigation uncovers a series of carefully covered-up crimes and pent-up hatreds, and the trail leads to a gang of extreme bikers on the hunt for a group of people whose dark deeds are hidden by the anonymity of the Internet. And then things get personal…
Chilling, shocking and exceptionally gripping, Big Sister reaffirms Gunnar Staalesen as one of the world’s foremost thriller writers.
I have really started to like the Varg Veum series as each book is different yet there is also something familiar about them. This latest case sees him contacted by Norma who wants to employ Varg to find her god daughter Emma. As an added twist Norma is his half-sister, someone he was vaguely aware existed but who he had never met.
The case is anything but easy as Emma just seems to have completely vanished without a trace and no one including her closest friend or flatmates have any idea where she may have gone to. What does become evident to him is that there are a lot of family issues that may have contributed to her disappearance. For every step forward Varg takes in the case he also seems to take two steps back as everyone he talks to seems to be unwilling to help and he gets the distinct feeling that they are hiding something, he is just not sure what it is exactly. One thing is certain though, no matter how small the clue he will keep digging until he gets to the truth and you just know that his investigations will get him into a lot of trouble along the way.
The case like families themselves is not straightforward and it does throw up some challenging subjects but as you turn each page you find yourself being drawn into the drama and the investigation and the ending is one you might not quite expect.
I think what I loved most about this book is that we also got to learn a little more about Varg’s past as he started to connect with his sister and parts of his family he had never met before. When his investigations into Emma’s disappearance stall, he takes a little time to delve into his own family history which gives him more questions than answers but hopefully he will find the truth eventually.
I may have started this series quite a way in but this has in no way spoiled my enjoyment and I may just find myself hunting down the earlier books so I can see what I have missed up to now, and how much more trouble this determined private detective can get himself into.
About the Author
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.
Books by Gunnar Staalesen