#BlogTour #Review : Little Drummer by Kjell Ola Dahl. @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks

Today I’m on the blog tour for an intriguing multi-continent read. Many thanks to Anne Cater for having me on the blog tour and sending me a copy of the book to review.

The Book: 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…

The Review: This is one of those books that gets you interested at the beginning and slowly draws you in as it progresses, and before you realise it you are fully immersed and there’s no way out other than reading the rest of the book.

As with most criminal investigations there is a lot of legwork and questions and this one is no different. Both main characters, Frølich and Gunnarstranda talk to witnesses and follow up queries in what initially seems like a straight forward case, until something pops up that suggests a connection to a much bigger issue, and turns what appeared to be an overdose into something much bigger. It’s quite clear from the start of this story that it’s not a simple open and shut case, but as always in crime fiction it takes time for the truth to come out and when it does things start falling into place and making much more sense.

Both detectives have their own styles, and this is supplemented by seeing their thoughts and feelings on their personal lives as well and how that impacts them. The different styles make a nice contrast and this works well with the investigation as it gives a different tone to their questioning of witnesses and their approach to the case. I’m not the best at explaining things at the moment, however despite having a lot going on personally, this book managed to drown out the noise of a busy train station recently and transport me to an underground car park, to a sweltering Norway in summer, and a puzzle that had so many layers to it it could be confused for an onion.

This story gives the impression of being simple and easy and I felt the detectives gave off an air of being competent but not necessarily the sharpest policemen. However this is all deceptive, the detectives are far better than they might appear and they story is tense and twisty. I started off reading feeling the same as the person driving in the dark car park (those can be creepy) and was soon sitting wondering how one event connected to something else that at first glance seemed entirely unrelated. This is a story that delves into places you didn’t expect and doesn’t shy away from telling the truth about the world.

Although this story is part of a series it can be read as a stand alone. It’s a brilliant book if you’re wanting to read something dark and twisty and are looking for something different. I find translated fiction is always a little different from books written in English and I think it’s the way the authors in other countries write and describe things, their viewpoints are just that little bit different from UK and US ones. It’s one thing that keeps me reading translated books because they have a unique feel to them, it’s refreshing and something I think we need more of.

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
thirteen 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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