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by K O Dahl and Don Bartlett, trans.
Minotaur Books, March 2011
375 pages
ISBN: 0312672527

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Katrine Bratterud is a recovering drug addict who is one of the rare rehabilitation success stories. Despite the fact that Katrine has led less than a stellar life, she is finally beginning to face a bright future when she is brutally murdered. There are any number of potential suspects; it's possible that someone from her past has targeted her, as she had a run-in with a dubious character while at work. She seemed to know the man but wasn't very forthcoming about explaining the relationship to her worried co-worker.

Oslo inspectors Frolich and Gunnarstranda are assigned to the case. Their investigation focuses on several areas: a close male friend who dropped her off a distance from her boyfriend's place on the night of the murder; the staff of the rehabilitation center; the boyfriend; and various individuals from her dark past.

The plot of the book is quite complex, but completely engaging. The fact that Katrine was turning her life around made her very sympathetic. Each of the possible suspects seems to be hiding something, and virtually no one tells the truth. It's a difficult job for the police in that there are very few leads. Dahl excels at upping the psychological suspense; it is almost impossible to determine who the murderer is. Unfortunately, that person's motive was the weakest part of the book for me.

THE LAST FIX is the second in the series and has been nominated for many awards, winning the Best Norwegian Crime Novel for 2000. There are seven books in the series, only three of which have been translated into English. Frolich and Gunnarstranda are an excellent duo, one which I plan to follow as the books are released in the US.

Formerly a training development manager for a large company, Maddy is now retired and continues to enable the addiction of crime fiction fans as owner of the online discussion group, 4 Mystery Addicts(4MA), while avidly reading in every possible free moment

Reviewed by Maddy Van Hertbruggen, June 2011

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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