REVIEW: Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl (Oslo Detectives #5)

Series: Oslo Detectives

Book Number: 5

Read this book for: multiple investigations, multiple points of view, personal cases, Nordic noir, graphic violence and sexual violence

Quick Review: Best read as part of the series, and great for those who like multiple investigations and high-drama cases.


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.

FAITHLESS is the fifth of Kjell Ola Dahl’s Oslo Detectives to be translated into English. It follows the case of a missing international student, and the death of a woman who is known personally to one of the detectives, Frank Frolich. The novel does a good job of capturing a realistic range of different personalities working on a squad and uses an interesting method of following multiple cases to do so.

A note on continuity and this novel: I have not read any of the other Oslo Detective series novels prior to reading FAITHLESS. While I did feel like I eventually got an idea of all the different personalities and what was going on, it would have likely made more sense more quickly if I had read the other novels – for those of you who are familiar with TV shows like CSI, it’s something like that – you can jump in on any episode but the interpersonal dynamics on the team might be a bit of a mystery or take longer to figure out.

To be fair, this is fairly realistic, and there were several such elements in FAITHLESS. One that I particularly enjoyed was the varying personalities on the team, and their thoughts at different times; people are not always 100% focused on their jobs and the Oslo Detectives are no exception – most of them are dealing with some sort of personal issue. In an effort to add to the realism, there is a fair bit of graphic physical and sexual violence, so be warned! These elements attempt to ground the novel when it takes its more unrealistic turns – the coincidences in relationships and the showdowns with some of the perpetrators belong to the high-drama television school of crime fiction.

If you’re looking for a dramatic, fast-paced and character focused crime read, FAITHLESS is a good option for you, particularly if you have read others in the Oslo Detectives series!

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