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by Asle Skredderberget and Paul Norlen, trans.
Thomas Dunne Books, January 2016
368 pages
ISBN: 125004961X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

When rich, handsome Milo Cavalli is called upon to use his Italian connection (he's half-Norwegian, half-Italian) to help bring the body of a murdered Norwegian scientist home to her family in Oslo, there only seem to be more questions than answers. Most important on both Italian and Norwegian authorities' minds is who committed this crime and why? For Norwegians, there's also the issue of her brother's death, a murder than happened years ago. Could the two incidents be connected?

Asle Skredderberget adds plenty more mysterious storylines to these two central murders. There's the question of Milo's half-sister, only recently was revealed to him by his father. There's a mysterious woman in New York who has died and left an inheritance to Milo and his cousin. There's even an Italian naval vessel that was sunk years ago, but somehow echoes throughout the storyline and is part of Milo's history.

Add to these, storylines about the black market in steroids, abused illegal immigrants, and giant pharmaceutical multinationals that don't play fair. Had enough? Wait, there's Milo's very complicated romantic life, his dialogue with the local priest in a confessional, and his relationship to his Financial Crimes partner, Sorenson. It's all part of a very complex story that, surprisingly, wraps up pretty abruptly, but not necessarily in a satisfying conclusion.

Then there is the situation in which Milo has made his fortune as a financial analyst, as well as coming from family money. This allows him to make decisions and take actions that other detectives wouldn't be afforded in real life, like flying business class on last minute notice to help get answers to the case or replacing one damaged car for another even more luxurious after having a confrontation with one group of bad guys.

On the plus side, the book is easy enough to read, and Milo is a likeable character with a good heart. While some have suggested he's a James Bond-like character for the new millenium, he doesn't really have the suave swagger or sophisticated tech tools of Bond; he does, however, appear to have the ladies' attention.

THE OSLO CONSPIRACY is an entertaining read, but there's not much to keep readers anchored to or invested in what happens next to Milo.

Christine Zibas is a freelance writer and former director of publications for a Chicago nonprofit.

Reviewed by Christine Zibas, December 2016

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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