Faithless is a newly translated book in the Oslo Detectives series featuring Frank Frølich and Inspector Gunnarstranda. Frølich has been invited to a school friend’s 40th birthday party. He has not seen his friend for some twenty years, but he goes anyway and discovers his old friend’s fiancée Veronika is the woman he just arrested for cocaine possession. The party is great fun, but when he is called out to his next murder case, the fiancée is the murder victim. Clearly he must tread carefully in this investigation.

There are too many connections on this case. Veronika is suspected of working with their original investigative target, Kadir Zahid who they wish was the murdered, too bad he has their own investigators for an alibi. Then there is the possible gang of thieves who seem to be robbing Veronika’s clients. There is a stalker, her fiancé of course, and then to complicate everything, a possible serial killer connection is made with a similar murder of a victim who resembled Veronika.

They manage to rule out the stalker when Gunnarstranda finds him dead. But they still have far too many suspects, including a psychologist who connects to all three victims. Team member Lena Stigersand risks far too much pursuing a private investigation and Frølich reaches too far when he finally figures out the last piece of the puzzle. These are detectives who care deeply and risk much while Gunnarstranda struggles to provide inspiration, mentorship, and restraint.

I liked Faithless a lot. It’s fair, we learn what the detectives learn when they learn it and yet it’s complex enough we aren’t rolling our eyes, begging them to put two and two together. Their leaps of logic happen in time with or even before my own. That makes me happy. The characters are complex individuals, but they are not filled out with the kinds of quirks that become tedious when repeated in book after book.

This is a Scandinavian mystery in the best sense, with professional cops who  don’t fantasize about being Dirty Harry. Even when the detective color outside the lines, there is a respect for the lines and they suffer consequences and disapproval rather than glad-handed praise from people who think bullying is bravery and brutality is strength. Folks who like law-breaking, violent thugs for their police will be disappointed, even though there is some extrajudicial action.

I admire K. O. Dahl and look forward to more in the series.

Faithless will be released September 1st. I received an e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley.

Other English translations of books by K. O. Dahl are The Fourth ManThe Man in the Window, The Last Fix, and Lethal Investments.

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