Blog Tour Review: Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl


Synopsis:  Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich are back … and this time, it’s personal…

When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frølich is shocked to discover that he knows her … and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. As he begins to look deeper into the tragic events surrounding her death, Frølich’s colleague Gunnarstranda finds another body, and things take a more sinister turn. With a cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway casting a shadow, and an unsettling number of coincidences clouding the plot, Frølich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers –
and the killer – before he strikes again.

Dark, brooding and utterly chilling, Faithless is a breath-taking and atmospheric page-turner that marks the return of an internationally renowned and award-winning series, from one of the fathers of Nordic Noir.


Faithless cover

My Review:

I’m a bit late to the Scandi/Nordic Noir obsession.  I was aware of the television programmes but oddly, for a crime fiction fan, I didn’t watch any of them so the whole thing passed me by until I discovered Ragnar Jonasson’s books and decided to try them.  Once I did that I was in.  I’m slowly reading more of these books and trying new authors in this genre and this book is no exception.

While reading this book I struggled to work out what it was that I was enjoying about it.  Make no mistake I did enjoy it but it took a while for me to put my finger on why.  There are two reasons: one is the writing style.  I love the writing style that only writers of these books seem to have.  I’m not sure if it’s in part because it has been translated into English rather than written in English originally but whatever it is it is perfect.  This leads into the second reason which is the story, or rather the lack of the characters stories.  This, for me, was very much a plot driven book.  There was information about the police characters and obviously sufficient information about the victims, witnesses and other characters in the story but there was only as much information given as was needed.  There was no excessive background to anything and while I like background to characters, because of the way this book was written the little information that was supplied was enough, I didn’t want or feel I needed more.

When you look at this book, the print version, it doesn’t seem particularly large especially compared to some of the other books I have.  However, this comparison is misleading because for all that it appears to lack in size it makes up for in density.  This is not a hard read by any means but because the author has not wasted words on anything unnecessary he has been able to fit a lot of information, plot and description into fewer pages.  This makes the reading experience quite unique. There is enough description to get a feel for the building, room, street, wherever the character is but not so much that you’re still reading about it three lines later.  You get given what you need and that’s it and I find that quite impressive.  It’s the same with the characters, there are a lot of characters in this book but it never gets confusing as to who is who or what is happening next.

This is a skillfully written book that takes you on a journey with the characters and lets you see and feel exactly what they do without getting bogged down in extraneous information.  It’s almost as crisp and clear as I imagine the winters in Norway are and I think that is what makes it so good.  This is definitely a book that crime fiction fans, especially those who love police procedurals are likely to enjoy but I would also recommend it for anyone who wants something a little different, or perhaps wants to try a new author.  There are so many authors out there to choose from but you won’t go far wrong if you pick this one.



Author bio:  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.




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