Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl, available now and published by the wonderful Orenda Books
Faithless is the fifth book in the Oslo detectives series and yes, I’ve once again jumped into a series mid-way. If I didn’t know it was a series though I’m not sure I would’ve realized it because it very much reads as a standalone. I’m sure there are character threads woven throughout but I can’t say I noticed that I was missing anything.
The story begins with a stakeout and right away we meet Frank Frolich who’s staking out the house of a suspected robber. When a lady (Veronika Undset) leaves the house and he’s sent to follow and subsequently question her, several plot pieces are set in motion. It’s not long before Frank realizes his past seems to have firmly planted itself in his present, making him somewhat uncomfortable and on guard. Then a murder is committed leaving Frank stunned and searching for answers.
Frank’s comrade and fellow Oslo detective, Gunnarstranda, is investigating the disappearance of a University student so we are privy to 2 separate investigations which may or may not have connections. I found Gunnarstranda to be an interesting character as he sought to solve his case using old-fashioned detective work. His disdain for all the modern technology like CCTV’s was apparent and amusing. Then there’s Lena, a female colleague, who I have to say I never quite decided if I liked or not and then later in the story when she goes rogue and puts herself in a very precarious situation, I really thought that perhaps she wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.
Faithless is classic Nordic Noir in that the pace is slow, the clues are layed out gradually, and the detectives work fairly methodically. The sentence structure was often short and choppy which did take some getting used to on my part. One thing I really appreciated, however, was the linear timeline. The story progresses in a straightforward manner…no flashbacks! Something that was missing for me in this book though was a sense of place. I never felt like I could picture the surroundings and the atmospheric details I’ve come to enjoy in other Nordic Noir novels weren’t there for me in this one. I did find the characterization to be strong and while the resolution of one of the mysteries seemed to be pretty lackluster, the other one was a surprise. I always love to be fooled and the author managed to pull one over on me in terms of the murder.
Many thanks to Karen Sullivan for my copy of Faithless and Anne Cater for inviting me to be on the blog tour. I’m happy to provide an honest review.
About the author
One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.