Hello, Book Dragons! Today I would like to welcome you all on my stop of the Blog Tour for Fallen Angels by Gunnar Staalesen and I would like to share an exclusive extract from the book, with all of you. Thank you very much to Anne from Random Things Tours for the invitation. Please do show some love to all the wonderful book bloggers on this blog tour by following and sharing their work. 🙂
Publisher: Orenda Books
Release date: 12 11 2020
Price*: Kindle £3.79 (GBP)/ Paperback £7.31 (GBP)
Kindle $6.15 (USD)/ Paperback $15.95 (USD)
Pages: ~ 276
You can get this book here:
Description of the book: 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 guitarist of the once-famous 1960s rock band The Harpers and his estranged wife, Rebecca, Veum’s first love.
Their rekindled friendship is thrown into jeopardy by the discovery of 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.
The performance was in full flow when we arrived. The dance floor was packed, and we struggled to force our way along the wall to a tiny table squeezed between a pillar and a swing door to the kitchen. Waiters came and went like the figures you shoot at in fun fairs. Perhaps we should have taken an air rifle with us.
The interior was fitted out in brown teak, with potted palm trees, burgundy, brothel-style furniture fabrics and a general air of poor taste. The room was filled with smoke, as if a volcano had erupted, and if that was not enough, smoke machines were spewing a thick fog across the stage, where a lurid smoke and light show and four background musicians framed the female vocalist, who constituted a magnetic field of her own.
I almost dislocated my neck trying to keep her in sight as we found the way to our small table. ‘I thought you said this was supposed to be an oldies’ show,’ I shouted over to Jakob, who was leading the way.
‘No, no, no,’ he shouted back. ‘Never on Fridays. Johnny’ll have his own “blast from the past” spot. They choose a seasoned performer every Friday. The younger singers do the main show. But the musicians are the same.’
‘You can’t even see them – not without a fog lamp.’
We pulled in our stomachs and wedged ourselves in, either side of the table.
The young vocalist was electrifying. She moved as though she were balancing on the edge of a non-stop orgasm and she handled the mike in a way that made Tina Turner seem like a girl guide. Her lips were full and moist and the round microphone head was almost in her mouth. Her tousled blonde hair was wet with gel and her face was round and robust in a girlish way. She was wearing a loose-fitting, black leather jacket and tight, black leather trousers, so tight you felt you might have been able to see what she had for lunch. Under the jacket she wore a grey T-shirt that was already soaked in sweat.
‘Who’s that?’ I asked, and could hear my voice jar.
‘Bella Bruflåt, a new rising star. I’ve heard rumours she’s already made a demo for her first LP.’
‘I can imagine. Except that on an LP you miss all this.’ I nodded to the stage where Bella had tellingly placed her left hand against the inside of one black leather thigh – her hand looked almost indecently white – while thrusting the mike back and forth to her mouth in even more unambiguous movements than before and emitting a primal scream, all underpinned by a piercing riff on the guitar, which caused a sensual groan to run through the whole crowd. For a few seconds the room was totally silent. The music had died, no one was eating or drinking, everyone just sat gaping with whatever orifices they possessed.
Then Bella laughed with pleasure, a rasping, provocative gurgle, and tossed her head as the applause rippled over her. She turned her back on us and stepped into the fog. And stopped.
The spotlights fell onto her back, bottom and thighs. Electricity began to build in the room; the tension was at breaking point.
Slowly she began to wiggle her backside, in time to the drummer’s first, cautious whisks of the brushes. Then the bass came in: a slow, sensual beat. One dissonant, quivering note from a guitar cut through everything and was gone as Bella ground her hips in a slowly increasing rhythm.
Jakob muttered beside me: ‘This is what I’ve always said. Religion is rhythm. Rise up and shout hallelujah, and the cry will spread through the audience without—’
He broke off and swallowed because Bella had placed one hand on her shoulder and was beginning to peel off her jacket. It slid down her bare upper arms as if she were skinning a slaughtered animal, while all the instruments converged on a single rhythm – a tap dripping through our veins from a distant kitchen.
Now her jacket was hanging loosely from one shoulder. With slow, studied movements she shifted the mike from one hand to the other and raised it to her mouth. Through the sound of the instruments you could hear a slow, crystal-clear human voice. No words, only a long, vibrating tone, a ray of golden sunshine breaking into a pitch-black room.
Then everything happened in a few short seconds. Her jacket fell to the floor. She turned round abruptly, arms in the air, and might just as well have been naked, so tight was the grey T-shirt against her body. The mike glittered between her fingers. The music rose to a rousing crescendo. In a split-second she lowered the mike again and began to sing, thrusting her crotch in rhythm: ‘Meet me in the middle of the night – Baby – Meet me when the moon has gone away – Baby…’
And we didn’t say no, not one of us. We would meet her there, all of us, in the middle of the night, when even the moon had gone to bed. And it would be just us and Bella and we would wake the dawn with our cries, we would make the dead rise and dance and the living turn to ashes around us.
‘Meet me in the shimmer of the morning – Baby – Meet me when the sun is coming up – Baby…’
Oh, yes! We would meet her in the hot glow of the morning sun and there wouldn’t be a stitch of clothing – not a fibre – between her skin and ours and the sun itself would turn to hide its face when it saw what we were doing.
A waitress with broad hips and dark-brown, curler-rolled hair took our order while Bella’s performance was still pulsating in our blood, but the food went cold before we could taste it and the atmosphere around us made the beer steam in our glasses.
We almost felt liberated when Bella took a break, allowing the banks of fog to dissipate and the band to run through a sequence of more subdued dance numbers. Hundreds of eyes followed her through the door behind the stage, hundreds of wild fantasies even further.
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 crime fiction. He lives with his wife in Bergen.
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.
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