Review of Cold Hearts by Gunnar Staalesen


On a frosty January day in Bergen, Private Detective Varg Veum is visited by a prostitute. Her friend Margrethe has disappeared and hasn’t been seen for days. Before her disappearance, something had unsettled her: she’d turned away a customer and returned to the neighbourhood in terror. Shortly after taking the case, Veum is confronted with a brutal, uneasy reality. He soon finds the first body – and it won’t be the last either. His investigation leads him into a dark subculture where corrupted idealism has had deadly consequences.


In January, the lovely Arcadia Books sent me a HUGE package filled with books and this was one of them. As all of the books have been published in 2013, I’m going to take my time with the collection and read them in between review copies.

As most of you will know, I’m more of a Fiction/Romance/Chick-Lit reader but every now and then, I like a good crime book, after all, I am a fan of Pretty Little Liars. It allows me to step away from the regular and change it up a little bit.

The opening chapter introduces the private investigator Varg Veum to the readers in the future whilst he’s at his son’s wedding. I found that this opening was a little bit pointless and didn’t lack any particular purpose but once I was half way through the book, it all made sense.

As a man in general, Varg is well aware of his surroundings and describes them in great detail to the reader. What he sees – we see. However, the narrative lacked detail on Varg’s features. For me, he’s bald with a bit of a tummy. To the author, he could look completely different, but I’ll never know because there was no description.

The narrative did take a while to kick in but in the middle, the pace really picked up and I raced through the book. My cup of tea went cold – that’s how you know I was hooked!

I have another of Gunnar Staalesen’s novels to read so stay tuned for that.

Twitter: @ArcadiaBooks1