Dahl, content to go by his initials in the English translations of his earlier Norwegian procedurals (Lethal Investments, as K.O. Dahl, 2012, etc.), unfurls his full name in signing his seventh.
If only Inspector Frank Frølich enjoyed the same success with women that he does in his job on the Violent Crimes and Sexual Offenses squad of the Oslo Police. As it is, the man is as poisonous to women as they are to him. When he goes to the 40th birthday party of sewage engineer Karl Anders Fransgård, his happiness at meeting his old classmate’s fiancee is seriously muted by the fact that he’d just arrested Veronika Undset for cocaine possession the night before. Frølich is frustrated as well as taken aback, because he’d pulled in Veronika only as a way to put pressure on her to talk about her meeting with her own classmate Kadir Zahid, a person of interest. The attempt failed, and Veronika walked out of jail in plenty of time to attend her fiance’s party and then get murdered in an exceptionally brutal manner that casts suspicion on none other than Karl Anders. Her death puts the skids on whatever romantic relationship Frølich may have sought with her friend Janne Smith, the come-hither accountant who sat with him at the birthday party. Instead of making time with her, Frølich ends up joining his colleagues in nosing out possible links between Veronika’s murder and the disappearance of recently arrived Ugandan student Rosalind M’Taya; the death of Signe Strand, killed in similar fashion in 2006; and the much more recent murder of Sivert Almeli, a librarian who was evidently stalking and photographing Veronika with her knowledge and consent.
A glum, low-concept, diffusely plotted procedural that’s much more disturbing scene by scene than as the rather lumpy whole it appears to be in the rearview mirror.