The Oslo Detectives are back in another slice of gripping, dark Nordic Noir, and their new colleague has more at stake than she’s prepared to reveal…
Oslo detective Frølich searches for the mysterious sister of a young female asylum seeker, but when people start to die, everything points to an old case and a series of events that someone will do anything to hide…
Suspended from duty, Detective Frølich is working as a private investigator, when his girlfriend’s colleague asks for his help with a female asylum seeker, who the authorities are about to deport. She claims to have a sister in Norway, and fears that returning to her home country will mean instant death. Frølich quickly discovers the whereabouts of the young woman’s sister, but things become increasingly complex when she denies having a sibling, and Frølich is threatened off the case by the police. As the body count rises, it becomes clear that the answers lie in an old investigation, and the mysterious sister, who is now on the run…
A dark, chilling and up-to-the-minute Nordic Noir thriller, Sister is also a tense and well-plotted murder mystery with a moving tragedy at its heart, cementing Kjell Ola Dahl as one of the greatest crime writers of our generation.
It started off with a simple quest, for Private Investigator Frolich to find a young asylum seekers sister. An almost impossible task but one that you knew Frolich would use all his guile, skill and determination to get that successful outcome. Dahl, as ever, had other ideas, he wanted the reader to get more than they bargained for, to take them on a journey that had more than its fair share of dead bodies and underhand dealings.
The myriad of themes Dahl dealt with were quite wide and varied, from the problems of immigration and asylum seekers to a shipping accident and it’s subsequent investigative cover ups.
He highlighted the awful plight many asylum seekers find themselves in, the brutality they faced from authority including the police. Perhaps this was Dahl’s opportunity to make a statement on his countries policies, in a subtle but effective way, that definitely made you stop and think.
Dahl didn’t stop there when he led Frolic down another dangerous path, as his investigation led him to a stricken ship, many of its passengers burnt to death. Who was hiding important details, why were the authorities so eager to cover it all up.
The two strands were somehow interlinked but how? My brain was very definitely taxed as I tried to work out the connections, to see a way forward and a resolution. I liked that Dahl kept us just as much in the dark as Frolich, that we discovered things together, a brilliant tool thattotally immerse the reader.
He didn’t allow us to relax, as Frolich found himself compromised from all angles, danger at every corner, the threat never clear. My thought process flitted from one character to another as I tried to decide if they were the perpetrator responsible for so much misery. Dahl made me wait, made me impatient until boom, all was revealed, the threads brought seamlessly together.
The one thing that did worry me slightly was Frolich’s personal life. Was he happy, would Matilde, the woman he had fallen for be his future partner in crime?
One thing I was very sure of was his love for his country, and Dahl did a perfect job, showcasing the city of Oslo, the good and the bad, the beauty of its countryside.
As to Frolich’s personal life, I guess and I hope that will become clearer in Dahl’s next novel.
I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Sister to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
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 seventeen novels, the most prominent of which form 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 (published in English by Orenda books in 2019). His work has been published in fourteen countries. He lives in Oslo. Follow him on Twitter @ko_dahl.