I’m excited to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for brilliant Nordic Noir thriller Bitter Flowers (Varg Veum Series) by Gunnar Staalesen. Thank you to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book.
About the book:
About the author:
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) and 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.
Translated by Don Bartlett.
Don Bartlett completed an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia in 2000 and has since worked with a wide variety of Danish and Norwegian authors, including Jo Nesbø and Gunnar Staalesen’s Varg Veum series: We Shall Inherit the Wind, Wolves in the Dark and the Petrona award-winning Where Roses Never Die.
He also translated Faithless, the previous book in Kjell Ola Dahl’s Oslo Detective series for Orenda Books. He lives with his family in a village in Norfolk.
Available for the first time in English, Bitter Flowers by Gunnar Staalesen is the latest book in the long running series featuring the wonderful character of Varg Veum. Superbly translated by Don Bartlett, this book reads incredibly well as a standalone as it sees Varg fresh out of rehab and investigating not only a murder but also the disappearance of a woman and the reawakened case of a missing child.
Nordic Noir is fast becoming my go to genre to read and there is no one better at writing it than Gunnar Staaleson, who always somehow manages to set your pulse racing with his fast paced and intelligent thrillers. And Bitter Flowers is no different, with Don Bartlett’s stunning translation helping to bring this dark and compelling tale so vividly to life.
This time we catch up with Varg as he emerges from rehab about to start a new housesitting job that has been arranged for him by his therapist. But as usual for Varg, nothing goes according to plan as the discovery of a shocking murder sends his life spiralling out of control once again.
What follows is a brilliantly complex, dark and twisted tale that kept me turning pages long into the night. Tense and thrilling, Bitter Flowers is an outstanding addition to the series and is the perfect place to start if you haven’t had a chance to read any of the previous books featuring Varg Veum yet.
As this series of books is only just being translated into english and was written some time ago, there’s a retro feel to the story which is quite refreshing. Varg has to rely on old school detective work, with no modern technology or mobile phone to be seen, which adds an extra layer and element of danger to this crime thriller that I love.
Gunnar Staalesen is an author at the top of his game and Bitter Flowers is a beautifully written and stylish thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed from beginning to end. I love the complicated but likeable character of Varg Veum and hope to see even more of him in the future.
Bitter Flowers is Nordic Noir fiction at its very best! Highly recommended!
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