When a woman is found dead in her car in a Norwegian parking garage, everyone suspects an overdose … until a forensics report indicates that she was murdered. Oslo Detectives Frølich and Gunnarstranda discover that the victim’s Kenyan scientist boyfriend has disappeared, and their investigations soon lead them into the shady world of international pharmaceutical deals.
While Gunnarstranda closes in on the killers in Norway, Frølich and Lise, his new journalist ally, travel to Africa, where they make a series of shocking discoveries about exploitation and corruption in the distribution of foreign aid and essential HIV medications.
When tragedy unexpectedly strikes, all three investigators face incalculable danger, spanning two continents. And not everyone will make it out alive…
Exploding the confines of the Nordic Noir genre, Little Drummer is a sophisticated, fast-paced, international thriller with a searingly relevant, shocking premise that will keep you glued to the page.
The one thing you can always guarantee from Dahl are the wonderful descriptions of his beloved Oslo, the streets, the sea and its coastline and in this one a multi storey car park. Not what you would expect but then this is a crime novel and it wouldn’t be that without a starting point and indeed a body.
There was never going to be a simple explanation as to it being there, but then Dahl has never made it easy for the reader or his two detectives, Gunnarstranda and Frolich. Gunnarstranda in particular was dogged and pedantic, his gut and instinct knew the cause of death wasn’t suicide, his innate need to ferret out the truth, to discover the culprits evident from beginning to end.
Frolich, was not entirely Gunnarstranda’s opposite but altogether more easy going, the one most likely to kick back, relax and have some fun. I reckon Dahl gave him the job as gopher, the one able to do the more practical and indeed more energetic elements of the investigation.
In Dahl’s narrative they were obviously the perfect couple and as the investigation intensified, as the leads and clues became more complex it was Frolich that was packaged off to Africa to find the dead woman’s boyfriend.
What Frolich did not expect was journalist, Lise hot on the trail and I thoroughly enjoyed the cat and mouse game Dahl played with them.
It was also where Dahl’s narrative came to life, the heat, the dust, the bustling streets, the chaotic roads, the run down buildings hiding those who did not what to be found.
Those that were found and the truths uncovered were deeper than the detectives could ever have imagined. Drugs that promised everything but did nothing, dodgy financial transactions, innocents caught in the cross fire.
As always Dahl got our detectives to the end, to the truth but also he also gave them something more personal. For Gunnarstranda the realisation that his lifestyle was not perhaps conducive to longevity and an acceptance that changes would have to be made. For Frolich a little romance, perhaps a way forward in his own personal issues.
It was that human touch merged with all the classic Scandi Noir hallmarks that makes Dahl’s novels so damn good.
Roll on the next instalment.
I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Little Drummer to read and review and to 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 eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers (Oslo Detectives series) 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.