blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Little Drummer – Kjell Ola Dahl, translated by Don Bartlett

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… Exploding the confines of the Nordic Noir genre, Little Drummer is a sophisticated, fast-paced, international thriller with a searingly relevant, shocking premise that will keep you glued to the page.

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.

My thoughts: what starts off as a bit of paperwork following a suspected OD becomes a far more complicated beast, when the police discover the victim was murdered and CCTV shows a man fleeing the scene. He flees all the way back to his small village in Kenya, and detective Frølich follows him there, he doesn’t think the young scientist is a killer, but he’s definitely a witness.

Covering international relations, big business, fraud, murder, conspiracy and all sorts of other nefarious practices, this book unfolds a shocking tangle of bodies and lies that all ultimately link to the biggest evil of all – money.

Journalist Lise is personally involved from the start – she found Kristine’s body, but her own life is at risk when she starts digging into the case, hoping for a cracking story, she bites off a bit more than she can chew, but a partnership with Frølich means she’s not in too much danger as his instincts mean he’s watching out for her.

As the case unfolds and they start to connect the dots, one man is their suspect, but is he a red herring? Could another, rather more innocuous man, be the real mastermind and murderer?

Clever, twisting and turning, revealing some of the crimes of international development in the global South, this book takes you from Norway to Kenya and back, following the money and peeling back the layers of secrecy and control to find the killer at its heart.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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