Book Review: Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalesen

Any Nordic noir lovers out there? I’ve the perfect book for you today.

Goodreads Blurb

Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalesen

When Bergen PI Varg Veum finds himself at the funeral of a former classmate on a sleet-grey December afternoon, he’s unexpectedly reunited with his old friend Jakob – the once-famous lead singer of 1960s rock band The Harpers – and his estranged wife, Rebecca, Veum’s first love.

Their rekindled friendship come to an abrupt end with a horrific murder, and Veum is forced to dig deep into his own adolescence and his darkest memories, to find a motive … and a killer.

Tense, vivid and deeply unsettling, Fallen Angels is the spellbinding, award-winning thriller that secured Gunnar Staalesen’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost crime writers.

Fallen Angels Book Cover


The first points I made in my notes when reading Fallen Angels is that it is a slow burn and that it wasn’t for me because I couldn’t get absorbed enough. Some of that still rings true. There seems to be a brick wall between me and Scandinavian literature. I’m not sure if it is that style that doesn’t sit will with my preferences of this genre just doesn’t translate to English well. Does anybody else have this problem?

However, by the time the book reached the 50% mark it took a turn and I began to appreciate the story. It still didn’t grab me but I became more involved in finding out who the killer was. So many suspects and no clear conclusion had me turning the pages more quickly to find out what happened next. In addition, I really enjoyed the nature scenes. I liked how the author described Bergen in a way that made me want to visit, but also presented it as a somewhat unsettling place, which fit in with the story he was telling. Bringing the theme of religion into the book was also a big positive for me in Fallen Angels and one which made the ending stronger.

I didn’t dislike Fallen Angels but it wasn’t a favourite for me. However, there are many great reviews of the book on Goodreads. I recommend giving them a read for a more well-rounded insight into the book.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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