Oslo detective Frølich searches for the mysterious sister of a young female asylum seeker, but when people start to die, everything points to an old case and a series of events that someone will do anything to hide…
Suspended from duty, Detective Frølich is working as a private investigator, when his girlfriend’s colleague asks for his help with a female asylum seeker, who the authorities are about to deport. She claims to have a sister in Norway, and fears that returning to her home country will mean instant death.
Frølich quickly discovers the whereabouts of the young woman’s sister, but things become increasingly complex when she denies having a sibling, and Frølich is threatened off the case by the police. As the body count rises, it becomes clear that the answers lie in an old investigation, and the mysterious sister, who is now on the run…
A dark, chilling and up-to-the-minute Nordic Noir thriller, Sister is also a tense and well-plotted murder mystery with a moving tragedy at its heart, cementing Kjell Ola Dahl as one of the greatest crime writers of our generation.
Hi and welcome to my review of Sister! Thanks to Anne Cater for the tour invite and to Orenda Books for the eARC!
Sister is the ninth instalment in the Oslo Detectives series, and it’s the third Oslo Detectives novel published by Orenda Books, after Faithless and The Ice Swimmer. I was planning on reading these last two before Sister, but life got in the way, so despite my need to read series in the right order, Sister was my first Oslo Detective novel. However, I experienced no problems with it at all. There were no continuing storylines to confuse me, and despite not knowing his history, I instantly liked protagonist Frølich, Oslo detective turned private investigator.
Sister is a detective story and a murder mystery and highly entertaining as such, but it also touches upon the heavier subject of the refugees debate: housing, support they should be given or denied, deportation, etc. It never gets overly political or controversial, but it does make for a very interesting backdrop to the story, which is actually exactly what I had expected from this author after reading his standalone historical thriller The Courier.
At first I thought that Sister would be a slow burner but then suddenly it took off at a speed that left me reeling! Off we went on an intricate investigation, a dozen seemingly loose threads dangling in front of my eyes, the bigger picture eluding me, leaving both Frølich and me desperately trying to connect the dots. Suffering from a bout of insomnia, I picked up Sister in the middle of the night, in the hopes of finding peace, of dozing off. I read until I was too tired to even hold my Kobo, it was drop the book or drop dead (I hesitated but in the end I chose to drop the book), but did I doze off? Of course I didn’t! Instead, I added Frølich’s investigations to my nighttime ponderings on a loop in a rather sad and completely pointless merry-go-round: coronavirus; work; Frølich; do I really trust her; what is he hiding; what is that bit all about; why do people not just say what they have to say over the phone, what’s with the whole “we need to meet in person” spiel, I mean it’s not even allowed now with the whole corona situation; work; Frølich; … Sigh. I should have chosen something silly and brainless instead of a riveting detective story, rookie mistake 😄
In the end I did manage to get some sleep, and I went back to Norway the next day, to continue my investigations. However involved I got, it was Frølich who figured it out, my muddled brain hadn’t seen the patterns at all, had missed the clues, had failed to connect any dots. Yet the finale made total sense, all the pieces of the puzzle slotted in their right place, I was looking on, saying “oh” and nodding, finally understanding.
Sister is a great read, one of those stories that makes me want to whip out a whiteboard, markers, magnets and red yarn and physically create a murder board. I’m very happy to have finally acquainted myself with the Oslo detectives and I can’t wait to go back to the earlier novels, and I am equally eager for the next one, bring it on! Recommended to lovers of Nordic Noir, detective stories and murder mysteries!