The Consorts Of Death by Gunnar Staalesen
It is September 1995 and Veum is in his office when a telephone call takes him back 25 years, to a case where a small boy was separated from his mother under tragic circumstances. In the following decades, the same boy had surfaced in connection with several murder cases. Now, as an adult, he is determined to take revenge on those responsible for destroying his life – among them the former child protection officer who is now detective Veum.
I picked this one to read, as I was recently asked to take part in the blog tour for the authors latest book release ‘Wolves In The Dark’ via Orenda books. I immediately looked up the series/author/subject matter and became intrigued. I really wanted to read an earlier novel in the series and this led me to pick this one, being drawn to the theme of the young man’s life and repercussions his childhood may have had on his future.
The novel opens in 1995, Detective Varg Veum receives a call from, a blast from the past in Cecilie, who organises a meeting of severe importance, relating to a boy from their past, in child protection. The boy in question Johnny boy, has done a runner, leaving a death list! But who doe’s Johnny want to kill? And why?
We are then catapulted back to July 1970 when Veum first encounters the boy, then only a toddler. Entering an unclean flat, stinking of cigarettes and alcohol, Veum meets the vacant eyes of a child very much in need! There is further expansion on the background of the relationship between Veum and his in-depth history with Johnnny boy, also known as Jan Elvis. Jan’s childhood is one if suffering and misery. However, when it comes to foster/adoptive parents, death follows Jan elvis………..
The novel continues to unravel the relationship between the child protection officer, turned detective and the young vulnerable boy. Veum refuses to believe that Jan is involved in any form of a crime, yet evidence suggests otherwise. There is a definitive theme of, what makes a killer? Are they born or made? Traumatic childhood vs nature/genetics. One thing is for certain child protection cases are rarely black and white. This one proves to be exceptionally complex and in-depth. I really enjoyed this novel and really got a sense for the character of Detective Varg Veum. I sincerely look forward to reading Wolves In The Dark, and more within the series. 4*