Friday 21 April 2017

Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl #BlogTour @OrendaBooks #NordicNoir #MyLifeInBooks #OsloDetectives

Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich are back... and this time, it's personal... 

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. 

Dark, brooding and utterly chilling, Faithless is a breath-taking and atmospheric page-turner that marks the return of an internationally renowned and award-winning series, from one of the fathers of Nordic Noir.

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl, published in paperback by Orenda Books on 15 April 2017.

I'm delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today, he's sharing with us the books that have inspired him and made a difference to his life in My Life In Books.

When I was a boy our family moved around a lot, because my father was a journalist, working for various papers around the country. Most of my friends didn’t like books, but when I started school, one of my best friends did share my literary interests. He introduced me to The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, which was one of the best reading experiences of my childhood. I think this was not only because of the musketeers’ adventures, but also because it gave me a peek into an exotic period of French history. In return, I introduced my friend to another great read – Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I loved Huck’s attitudes and the warm friendship with Jim. I’ve had a weakness for stories about travelling ever since.

My father loved literature, and I started reading our family collection of books from a young age. I think I have inherited my taste for pulp and crime fiction from my father, but one of the more ‘decent’ authors represented on our shelves was Knut Hamsun, a Norwegian writer still discussed in Norway because of his membership of the Norwegian Nazi party and his actions during World War Two. Despite his political attitudes, he is a wonderful writer. As a teenager I loved his novels about the north of Norway, the way he writes about the life and intrigues of small villages: their social structure; the conflicts between the poor and the bourgeoisie; the various stock characters; and the landscapes – all of it portrayed with love and a great sense of humour. I don’t know which of these novels are translated into English, but I think some of his outstanding novels, such as Hunger and Mysteries, can easily be found in the UK.

As I’ve already mentioned, there was a lot of pulp fiction on my father’s bookshelves. It was there I met Chandler and Hammett for the first time (and of course Mickey Spillane, Peter Cheyney and others). In my teens I discovered how some crime fiction attempts to mirror the complexity of modern society. My favourites in this line were The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key, Farewell My Lovely and The Long Goodbye.

In my twenties I read every book I could find written by Honoré de Balzac. At that time there was only one of his novels translated into Norwegian: Father Goriot. So I read up about him: about his Comédie humaine and how he wrote series about various characters in Paris. I started to buy Swedish and English editions of his books. There are so many to chose from, but I some of my favourties include Lost Illusions and Splendeurset miseres des courtisanes (I think the English title is ‘The Harlot High and Low’.) Both novels are about the anti-hero Lucien de Rubempré, a dandy who could easily be transfered into the society of today. These novels are about art, literature, journalism, illusions, ideals being lost and found, fraud, finance and crime. Both novels would pass as crime fiction, I suppose.

Crime fiction has always been prominent in my reading. In my thirties I enjoyed the books of Elmore Leonard. I loved the pace and rhythm of his writing and his inner monologue technique. I also read James Crumley’s novels (such as The Last Good Kiss) with great pleasure. In his books, Crumley comes close to Chandler, in my opinion, taking the American Noir genre one step further. I was also fascinated by James Ellroy’s writing, how he uses his affection for the fifties and Noir in books such as White Jazz and American Tabloid.
I like to read contemporary Norwegian fiction, especially debuts. There are a huge number of good books in Norwegian, but sadly most of them are not translated.

Some of the best reading experiences I have had lately are the novels by the Chilean, Roberto Bolaño, especially The Savage Detectives. In my opinion, this book has it all: poetic language and wonderful characters in an almost anarchistic but organised story. I’m already looking forward to reading it again. 

Kjell Ola Dahl ~ April 2017 

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 eleven 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.

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