The Cato Isaksen Success

Unni Lindell's big breakthrough in the genre came with her 1996 novel The Snake Bearer, featuring police investigator Cato Isaksen of the Oslo Homicide Department.
Her follow-up novel,
Dreamcatcher in 1999, won Norway’s most prestigious award for crime fiction, the Riverton Crime Prize.
Later came
Mourning Cloak (2000) and Night Sister (2002). These first four books were later made into TV films.
The next book in the Cato Isaksen series, Orchestra Pit, came in 2005.
The Honey Trap (2007) introduced readers to a new character when Cato got a new female colleague, Marian Dahle. She offers support but also poses problems for Cato in the books that follow – especially in the 10th Cato Isaksen book, The Bridal Coffin (2014).

I know where you live (2016), Marian, takes over as the protagonist, and is given the job of looking into a cold case by Cato Isaksen. The reopening of the case sets powerful forces in motion, and Lindell’s first Marian Dahle book gives the investigator more than enough to get stuck into.
Several of Lindell’s books deal with current social problems, and the investigators’ private lives are an important part of the story, although the police work always takes centre stage. 

1996 – The Snake Bearer
1999 – The Dream Catcher
2000 – The Mourning Cloak
2002 – The Night Sister
2005 – The Orchestra Pit
2007 – The Honey Trap
20008 – The Dark Man
2010 – Sugar Death
2012 – The Devil’s Kiss
2014 – The Bridal Coffin


Oslo, 1988: 12-year old Maike Hagg, the daughter of a psychiatric patient, meets her death in the basement of Gaustad Psychiatric Hospital. The police conclude that her death was an accident, that the girl fell down a ladder and cracked her head on the stone floor.
Twenty-five years later Emmy Hammer and Aud Johnsen, who also attended the open days for children of psychiatric patients, meet up to talk about what really happened. The statute of limitations for murder is coming up. The meeting proves fatal for one of the women who knows too much when fear and hatred draw a cold-blooded killer out from the shadows.
At Halloween Aud Johnsen is murdered, and her death is investigated by Cato Isaksen and Marian Dahle. Slowly the culture of Gaustad Hospital is revealed –something lurks in its past, obscured by other issues. When the mental health policy was changed and patients were returned to the community Gaustad was vacated. But one resident never left.

Nominated for Book Sellers´ Award

… a novel that will reach a wide variety of crime readers!
Torbjørn Ekelund
, Dagbladet.

Lindell masters the craft of telling an exciting story!
Sindre Hovdenakk
, VG

Unni Lindell meets every criteria of the crime writing genre, and has mastered a smart storytelling technique which completely fools the reader. Indeed, the great art of illusion.
Geir Rakvaag, Dagsavisen

Lindell has a special way of connecting the reader to story content. 
Helge Kjøniksen
, Moss Avis (5 stars)

The Angel is a Devil is a real page-turner, I read the final hundred pages straight through. The flow of language together with changes in locations and perspectives are impeccable.
Book Blogger
, Berit

Solid and well composed… she is a master in finding her characters and bringing them to life (…) Unni Lindell delivers. Again.  
Gunn Mango Galaaen
, Trønder-Avisa (5 stars)


Vivian Glenne who works at the local dry cleaner lives with a taxi driver and has three sons. One evening she goes out into the wooded area behind the row houses carrying a shovel. She doesn´t return alive.

Dan, her 15 year old son and his friend Jonas begin to investigate. Layer upon layer is uncovered, and everything is woven together into a viscous network of suspicion drawing the two boys into dark and sinister labyrinths. One of the customers at the dry cleaners who is a high level intelligence official becomes central to the story, as well the victim´s ex-husband Arne Colin Andersen who lives at a nursery outside of Drammen. And the neighbours Birgit and Frank Willmann also have something to hide. When the murder victim´s youngest son is picked up at daycare by his grandmother the story takes a chilling turn. Sebastian doesn´t have grandmother! Unpleasant family relations, neighbourly claustrophobia and secret relationships come to light, focusing on both the vulnerable and the dangerous.

Cato Isaksen and his irrational colleague, Marian Dahle have a new murder to solve. And if not solved quickly, more will die. Friction grows between them in a race to find the killer which drives them toward disaster, ending in an intense hunt in a swampy woodland on a rainy summer night. Yet even in this wild drama things are not as they seem.

Unni Lindell is among the most accomplished plot carpenters in Norwegian crime.
Torbjørn Ekelund, Dagbladet

Lindell is true to form. The Devil´s Kiss underscores and reinforces Unni Lindell´s position as a superb crime writer.
Turid Larsen, Dagsavisen

Don´t wait until holiday to read The Devil´s Kiss bring it to work!”
Knut Holt, Fæderlandsvennen (5 stars)

She has a contagious energy in her approach and a page-turner instinct which immediately hooks the reader. 
Ole Jacob Hoel, Adresseavisen

 … breathless tempo!
Pål Gerhard Olsen, Aftenposten

Good flow - exciting and entertaining.
Sindre Hovdenakk, VG (4 stars)

A sharp curve of excitement. 
Leif Ekle, NRK

…frightening on several levels.!
Gunn Magni Galaaen, Tronderavisa (5 stars)

Unni Lindell has done it again! She has written a brilliant novel in the series about police inspector Cato Isaksen. The Devil´s Kiss is the best crime novel she has written to date!
Sven Gjeruldsen, Tvedestrandposten

Brutally exciting!
Ann Kristin Ødegård, Bergensavisen (5 stars)

Unni Lindell is still able to write stories that whirls you around!
Arne Guttormsen, Vårt Land

Hate as a motive in a well-crafted story… in this way Unni Lindall creates yet again an exciting novel which is dynamic and logical, in realistic settings.
Jon Terje Grønli, Gjengangeren

… I will never again go to bed with one of your books - without having off work the following day!
Magne Olav Aarsand Brevik, Ytringen


In a confectionary shop the rather over weight Kari Helene Bieler suddenly remembers what actually happened the day her baby brother died 16 years ago. This knowledge pits her parents John Gusta and Greta against each other and creates a spiral of horrors, including the murder of NCIS Director Martin Egge and several innocent women. The secret surrounding the baby's death provides an unusual cover-up for a psychopath who has lived a perfect double life for many years. The aspects of these events trigger a cold-blooded killer to initiate a deadly revenge. Police are faced with an unusually demanding case to solve. The 32-year-old constable Marian Dahle's past is drawn into the case in a most unsuspected manner putting her colleagues and her professional relationship to chief investigator Cato Isaksen and the entire police force to the test.

Crime with the Lindell stamp of quality
Terje Stemland, Aftenposten

Unni Lindell has written a heavy crime novel 
Kurt Hanssen, Dagbladet

More cunning than ever (…) Not only surface suspense, but character traits that penetrate deeper than usual in this type of literature. This is how she manages to renew herself and one of the most read crime series in Norway.
Finn Stenstad, Tønsbergs Blad

Unni Lindell just gets better in the art of creating convoluted crime stories for her dedicated readers. (…) a particularly finely crafted thriller.
Turid Larsen, Dagsavisen

Unni Lindell never bores her readers And she manages to give her characters flesh and blood, and intensity.
Svein Harald Moe, Fædrelandsvennen


Fifty-seven year old Britt Else Buberg is murdered in a high-rise in Stovner outside of Oslo. She had no family, lived alone and her only contact was an old women in a nearby nursing home. About that time, 19 year old Lilly Rudeck goes missing from a camping park in Østfold.

Cato Isaksen has a difficult case to solve. And his new colleague Marian Dahle and her dog are intense and irritating companions. They soon discover that the owner of the camping park lives in the same high-rise as Buberg. Yet again, things are not as they seem. The police are about to give up when treacherous secrets come to light revealing a frightening picture.

The past catches up with each and everyone in this compelling story. A dreadful lie starts a sequence of events and several destinies are woven together in an uncanny way. The Dark Man is the seventh book in the extremely popular series about police inspector Cato Isaksen - which has also been adapted to a popular TV-series.

The Dark Man was nominated for the Book Sellers´Award in 2008. 

A luminous Dark Man from Lindell. This autumn´s crime novel from Unni Lindell lives up to its title and to the author´s reputation. It is dark, anguished, complex and exciting!
Sindre Hovdenakk, VG

Ghastly good. Strong Lindell crime with a cunning ending!
Kurt Hanssen, Dagbladet

Here are many sordid, unpleasant and dark settings with the good, solid Lindell signature. 
Turid Larsen, Dagsavisen

Unni Lindell keeps it moving. It´s downright exciting.
Ingrid Brekke, Aftenposten

An absolute highlight in the series to date, a real page-turner in which Lindell demonstrates that she is at her best when she releases all inhibitions.
Lars Helge Nilsen, Bergens Tidene.

Unni Lindell comes through once again!
Ann Kristin Ødegård, Bergensavisen.


Elna Druzika works overtime in a catering kitchen at Alnabru. That same evening she is run down and killed. She was dating Ice Lorry driver Wiggo Nyman who drove in the Høvik district where seven year old Patrick Øye went missing the previous week. The last person to have seen the boy was an older woman in the brown house at the end of the road. What did Vera Mattson see? And how are these two cases tied together?

The Honey Trap which was first published in 2007 is the seventh book in the series about police inspector Cato Isaksen - and the first book with Marian Dahle as Cato´s new colleague.

Six Stars, Berit Kobro, VG
“ … compelling reading!”


On a cold winter night Siv Ellen Blad was murdered on the way home from a concert. She was found dead in a ditch on the side of the road in Vinderen in Oslo.
Inspector Cato Isaksen soon realises that several men could have reason to murder Siv Ellen: her ex husband Axel Bland or his stepson, the musician Pavel Pletanek, the tenant´s friend, a retired lawyer or a young mail office customer. Just who killed her and why?
The case takes a dramatic turn when the killer who truly despises Inspector Cato Isaksen employs sinister and devious ways to invade his private life.
The Orchestra Pit which was first published in 2005 is the fifth book in the series about police inspector Cato Isaksen.

A masterpiece!
Berit Kobro, VG

Unni Lindell manipulates her readers in a skilful maner 
Maya Trobeg Djuve, Dagbladet

Few in Norway master the craft of writing a crime novel, and Unni Lindell one of them. 
Bjørn Gabrielsen, Dagens Næringsliv


Late one February evening four year old Kathrine Bjerke goes missing without a trace. A woman in a car is the last to have seen her. A teenage girl stands in the entrance to the Oslo Fjord Tunnel. A few days later her grandmother is killed in Ullevål Hageby
Cato Isaksen and his team are on the case, and it stands to reason that there is a connection between these two events. With The Night Sister Unni Lindell has once again written an exciting Cato Isaksen novel. Slowly but surely the shadows dissolve in the light. Humanity´s dark side, betrayal, injustice and intrigue are the ingredients in this unsettling story with an extremely surprising ending. 

… a brilliant read … 
Berit Kobro, VG


Five little girls in a photograph. Twenty years later one of them is murdered and another goes missing without a trace. Lise Sommer is afraid! Her best friend Ester Sunnøve Lønn is found murdered, her throat cut. Several days later her young son goes missing as well, and as the police begin to chip away at the surface they find that a third friend of Lise and Ester Synnøve has been missing for two years. The relationship between the friends has murky undercurrents. What really happened when the girls were young? And the mothers, what are the mothers hiding? Dark bands between these characters are woven together into a sinister pattern. Someone is seeking revenge, but who and why? Police Inspector Cato Isaksen has a new and grim murder to solve. 

… no one in today´s Norwegian crime literature manages to write so intensely …
Terje Stemland, Aftenposten (6 stars)

Masterly crafted suspense from Lindell.

“Another success for Lindell!”
Berit Kobro, VG (6 stars)


Who is the voyeur standing in the window observing the young women in the opposite flat? Might he be involved in the murder of nineteen year old Therese Beber? Once again Cato Isaksen finds his private life entangled with an unknown murderer´s deadly psyche.
Dream Catcher is an unrelentingly suspenseful crime novel in which psychological undertones propel the action forward, ending in a dramatic race with a cold-blooded murderer.

Unni Lindell received the Riverton Award 1999 for The Dream Catcher 

... an intense, exciting and brilliantly well-written thriller… 
Turid Larsen, Dagsavisen

Outstanding and truly a rarity in the genre. 
Terje Stemland, Aftenposten

Unni Lindell´s characters live, love and kill with fantastic precision and subtlety. 
Liza Marklund


A serial killer is on the loose in Oslo and the police fight a battle against time. Recently divorced Police Inspector Cato Isaksen has fallen in love and finds himself personally involved in the case.
From the very first moment Snake Bearer hooks the reader in a riveting psychological drama where madness drives the story forward towards an inevitable climax.
This is Unni Lindell´s first crime novel, and first in the series about Cato Isaksen. The book has been sold to several countries and has also been adapted into a popular television series.

Lindell has created a work that will remain as one of the highlights of Norwegian crime literature.
Odd Magnar, Aftenposten

…literate and masterful … most surely qualifies her for membership in the master crime writers´society!
Øystein Rottem, Dagbladet

With this book Unni Lindell steps up into Norw
egian literature´s elite league. 
Berit Kobro, VG

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