K. O. Dahl is an acclaimed Norwegian crime fiction author. He has written eleven novels since 1993, mostly crime novels with a psychological interest. So far, four of his novels have been published in English. They feature the Oslo detectives Frank Frølich and Inspector Gunnarstranda.
In The Fourth Man, during a routine police raid, Oslo Detective Inspector Frank Frolich sees a woman walking the aisles of a shop where no customers should be. He jumps in and saves Elizabeth Faremo from getting inadvertently caught in the crossfire. This is the event which leads Frank to believe that he has met the love, or at least the obsession, of his life. He begins seeing her but soon finds out that apparently he is being used by Elisabeth as an alibi for her brother Jonny, a gang member. Already upset with Elisabeth for using him, he also learns that she has another lover. Confused with emotional pressure caused by these revelations, something else happens: His rival, university advisor Reidun Vestli and Faremo siblings are suddenly murdered and he becomes the prime suspect. If he doesn’t do something soon, it will be over for him…
The book has a clear writing, good plot and is very fast-paced. This mix has resulted in an enjoyable page-turning psychological thriller. True: The plot is very predictable, but the author uses several well-crafted twists in the story to keep the reader interested. Dahl also uses sex effectively both to make the story more attractive and also as a lever to analyze the character of Frank. He is kind of similar to Wallander: Depressed, workaholic and constantly on the run to unlock bizarre homicide cases.
If you like Wallander novels, you will enjoy this one; definitely a good read. I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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