Pan Macmillan sent me a preview copy of this book, I was very excited! I love a good detective story, and this tale does not disappoint.
First published in Norwegian in 2010 and now translated into English for publication in 2014, The Human Flies by Hans Olav Lahlum is the first in a series of books featuring Detective Inspector Kolbjorn Kristiansen. Known as K2, Kristiansen finds himself in charge of a murder investigation when the body of Harald Olesen, a hero of the Resistance, is found dead in his apartment. It quickly becomes clear that the murderer must have been one of his neighbours, but they all seem to have dark tales and secrets from their pasts to hide.
Set in 1968, this book explores the intertwined histories of the neighbours, with the motive for the murder somehow linked to the war and Olesen's involvement in it. K2 is assisted by the most unlikely of helpers called Patricia, who has gleaned her knowledge of crime fighting through studying historical tales and the works of Agatha Christie. Initially I found his precocious assistant incredibly annoying and frustrating - she was always several steps ahead of him (and us!) and seemed to enjoy talking down to him. But, as the potential suspects become less likeable and generally more suspicious, Patricia becomes more likeable, more genuine and more human.
Carefully detailing K2's investigation day by day, I found this book very hard to put down. As the investigation gradually closes in, K2 and Patricia find themselves in genuine danger and the end of the book is hard to predict.
I was very pleased with myself to have correctly identified the murderer half a chapter before K2 did, but then realised that I had thought it was each one of Olesen's neighbours at some point!
This book is a must read, and really keeps you on your toes. I'm really looking forward to the next installment in the series.
The Human Flies, by Hans Olav Lahlum and translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson, is published in the UK by Pan Macmillan and available to purchase from their website.
Reviewed by Richard Beesley
Disclosure: Pan Macmillan sent me this book to keep for the purposes of review. All opinions are our own.