Book Review: We Shall Inherit the Wind (Varg Veum #1) by Gunnar Staalesen

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1998. Varg Veum sits by the hospital bedside of his long-term girlfriend Karin, whose life-threatening injuries provide a deeply painful reminder of the mistakes he™s made. Investigating the seemingly innocent disappearance of a wind-farm inspector, Varg Veum is thrust into one of the most challenging cases of his career, riddled with conflicts, environmental terrorism, religious fanaticism, unsolved mysteries and dubious business ethics. Then, in one of the most heart-stopping scenes in crime fiction, the first body appears.

A chilling, timeless story of love, revenge, and desire, We Shall Inherit the Wind deftly weaves contemporary issues with a stunning plot that will leave you gripped to the final page. This is Staalesen at his most thrilling, thought-provoking best.

Not so long time ago, I watched tv series that I really liked with the main character, Varg Veum. I had no idea that those series were made after book series. I recently bought a book from the Nordic noir section, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the main character was a private investigator named Varg Veum.I am a great fan of Scandinavian crime noir and shame on me, I haven’t read anything from Gunnar Staalensen before. This is my first book from this author, but certainly won’t be the last.

On a small island in Norway, Mons Mæland has been reported missing. His second wife is an old friend of Veum’s long-term girlfriend and she asks her for a favor. Veum is a private investigator who can do some investigation and find out what might have happened to the old man who spends a lot of time away from home and might not be missing at all. The life of Mons Mæland is surrounded with mystery. His first wife also is missing. She disappeared many years ago, she was claimed dead after a while, even if the body was never found. In the present, there is a fight for the windmills on the island between the father and the son in the Mæland family. Mons wanted them away while the son thought that windmills were the future of the island. Could his disappearance has something to do with the wind?
There are not many people who live on the island. A small village full of ordinary people with ordinary problems. Gossips are definitely not lacking. Some people are too conservative, some are trying to escape from their ordinary life and live their dreams. Everything seems normal for a village full of fishermen, but under the surface, things are far from normal.
Varg Veum is true crime noir character. His name means „lone wolf“, it definitely suits him. He starts the story while sitting in the hospital next to the woman he loves who’s dying. Then he transfers the reader back to the time when it all started. He retells the things from his own point of view, to end the story back in the present, next to the bed of his loved one who is dying. He never uses weapon or violence, just his mind, a mind that never settles down even when things seem over. Because the detective inside knows when it’s over. He hardly shows his feelings, he looks solid as a rock, but he suffers from inside. His sense for justice is stronger than anything else, he is unstoppable until he collects all the pieces in the puzzle.
Gunnar Staalesen is a real storyteller and I’ll be in search of his other books in the future. His storytelling is slow but contagious and very, very unpredictable. Once you start, you can not put the book down. Perfect read for fans of old-fashioned whodunit!
My opinion: 5 / 5.

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