#RivetingReviews: Barry Forshaw reviews SISTER by Kjell Ola Dahl

The Norwegian writer Kjell Ola Dahl deserves attention – as strong novels such as The Last Fix (2000) have amply demonstrated. That book was the third Dahl novel to be translated into English (he had written eleven), and had British and American readers wondering why he was then the least known of the ocean of Scandinavian writers washing over the crime scene. We met Dahl’s protagonists, Oslo detectives Frank Frølich and Inspector Gunnarstranda, in The Fourth Man and The Man in the Window (2005 and 2001, but published in English out of sequence), and it was clear that the duo were among the most memorable foreign coppers in a now-crowded field. 

In Sister, Frølich has been suspended from duty and is working as a private investigator – a change of pace that makes this one of Dahl’s most energised and mesmeric novels. His girlfriend’s colleague seeks his help regarding a female asylum seeker, on the point of being deported. Fearing that she will be killed when she is returned home, she claims that she has a relative in Norway – but when the sister is tracked down by Frølich, he finds a problem: the Norway-dweller disputes the very existence of the relative who claims kinship. In the meantime, people have started to die. 

Kjell Ola Dahl has always been skilful at character and setting, but the particular defining characteristic of Sister is the steadily accelerating pace, handled with a sure touch. And Frølich remains a rounded and intriguing character, particularly in this latest iteration. 

Reviewed by Barry Forshaw

SISTER 

Written by Kjell Ola Dahl

Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett

Published by Orenda Books (2020)


Barry Forshaw’s books include Crime Fiction: A Reader’s Guide, the Keating Award-winning Brit Noir and Nordic Noir. Other work: Death in a Cold Climate, Sex and Film and the British Crime Writing encyclopedia (also a Keating Award winner). He edits Crime Time (www.crimetime.co.uk). 

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of VICTIM 2117 by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of LAZARUS by Lars Kepler

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of MEXICO STREET by Simone Buchholz

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of THE ROCK BLASTER by Henning Mankell

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of AFTER SHE’S GONE by Camilla Grebe

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of THE REUNION by Guillaume Musso

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of A NEARLY NORMAL FAMILY by M. T. Edvardsson

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of THE DANCE OF DEATH by Oliver Bottini

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of GRAB A SNAKE BY THE TAIL by Leonardo Padura

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of THE MONGOLIAN CONSPIRACY by Rafael Bernal

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of MAIGRET HESITATES by Georges Simenon

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of RESIN by Ane Riel

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of THE ABSOLUTION by Yrsa Sigurđardóttir

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of THE ISLAND by Ragnar Jónasson

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of CASANOVA AND THE FACELESS WOMAN by Olivier Barde-Cabuçon

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of MRS MOHR GOES MISSING by Maryla Szymiczkowa

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of INBORN by Thomas Enger

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of FLOWERS OVER THE INFERNO by Ilaria Tuti

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of THE WOLF AND THE WATCHMAN by Niklas Natt och Dag

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of NIGHT by Bernard Minier

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of THE ROOT OF EVIL by Håkan Nesser

Read Barry Forshaw’s #RivetingReview of KILL THE ANGEL by Sandrone Dazieri

Category: April 2020Reviews

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

X