#BlogTour The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl, translated by Don Bartlett.

About the Author

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 eighteen novels, the most prominent of which form a series of police proceduralscum-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 (published in English by Orenda books in 2019). His work has been published in fourteen countries. He lives in Oslo. 

Follow @ko_dahl on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit kjelloladahl.no

About the book

Oslo, 1938. War is in the air and Europe is in turmoil. Hitler ’s Germany has occupied Austria and is threatening Czechoslovakia; civil war rages in Spain and Mussolini reigns in Italy.

When a woman turns up at the office of police-turned-private investigator Ludvig Paaske, he and his assistant – his one-time nemesis and former drug-smuggler, Jack Rivers – begin a seemingly straightforward investigation into marital infidelity.

But all is not what it seems. Soon, Jack is accused of murder, sending them on a trail which leads back to the 1920s, to prohibition-era Norway, to the smugglers, sex workers and hoodlums of his criminal past … and an extraordinary secret. 

Review

Ex-police now private investigator Ludvig Paaske takes on what appears to be a simple case of marital infidelity, but when he stakes out said husband something just doesn’t seem right. Set in pre Second World War, when tensions are about to culminate in complete destruction and a legacy that will shatter the lives of millions – a simple cheating spouse is such a trivial matter.

In a mystery come crime plot that moves from the 1920s to the late 1930s, this is a twisted game of deception, betrayal and people playing games with the truth.

Given the time periods this is set in I think the author kind of uses that to throw readers off a bit, so when the noir comes along you’re just like – oh wait I forgot it’s a Dahl. With that being said I also forgot to trust my first instincts when it comes to characters, so I guess I deserved the wet kipper in the face at the end.

I actually thought this was a bit darker and more ruthless than previous books. The writing wasn’t as tight or perhaps the style was slightly different – it felt like a different reading experience. The insidious plot more than makes up for it though.

As per usual the author delivers an intriguing read, in fact I had to go back and read the last chapter again just to be sure I got it right. 

Buy The Assistant at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; Publication Date: 13 May 2021 | Orenda Books | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon comAt Orenda.

#BlogTour Sister by Kjell Ola Dahl

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Sister by Kjell Ola Dahl, translated by Don Bartlett.

About the Author

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.

Follow @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon,Visit  kjelloladahl.noBuy Sister

About the Translator

Don Bartlett completed an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia in 2000 and has since worked with a wide variety of Danish and Norwegian authors, including Jo Nesbo and Karl Ove Knausgard. For Orenda he has translated several titles in Gunnar Staalesen’s Varg Veum series: We Shall Inherit the Wind, Wolves in the Dark and the Petrona award-winning Where Roses Never Die. He has also translated two books in Kjell Ola Dahl’s Oslo Detectives Series for Orenda – Faithless and The Ice Swimmer.

About the book

Oslo detective Frølich searches for the mysterious sister of a young female asylum seeker, but when people start to die, everything points to an old case and a series of events that someone will do anything to hide…

Suspended from duty, Detective Frølich is working as a private investigator, when his girlfriend’s colleague asks for his help with a female asylum seeker, who the authorities are about to deport. She claims to have a sister in Norway, and fears that returning to her home country will mean instant death.

Frølich quickly discovers the whereabouts of the young woman’s sister, but things become increasingly complex when she denies having a sibling, and Frølich is threatened off the case by the police. As the body count rises, it becomes clear that the answers lie in an old investigation, and the mysterious sister, who is now on the run…

A dark, chilling and up-to-the-minute Nordic Noir thriller, Sister is also a tense and well-plotted murder mystery with a moving tragedy at its heart, cementing Kjell Ola Dahl as one of the greatest crime writers of our generation.

Review

I enjoyed the fact this wasn’t just a crime read. In this journey of a story the author brings in politics, cultural dynamics and the eternal conflict of loss and grief. It’s meticulously plotted, even if it often seems as if the reader is just along on the ride with Frølich as he tries to navigate a new relationship.

His new love interest asks him to do a friend of hers a favour, whether he can look for the sister of an asylum seeker, a sister who has changed her name and disappeared into the folds of Norway. At the time Frølich thinks there is something off about the way the young woman is unable to answer the majority of his questions, but when his search rattles some cages and has people knocking on his door he is certain there is more to the story.

It’s Nordic noir, a subtle mystery and a scathing critique at times. It points a huge finger right at the inadequacies of asylum systems and the fraudulent practices supported by the complacency and indifference in our societies.

Can I just add, as a side-note, that the chapter with the gynaecologist or indeed that character in particular has left an impression. I wouldn’t necessarily say a good one – more like a creepy uncomfortable experience with a deviant, who has no clue he is on the cusp of deviancy and yet firmly believes he is the overlord of female genitalia.

The author creates this plot within a plot, which doesn’t necessarily bring the reader close to the solution per se, because Dahl is far too wily for that, but it is one heck of a read.

Buy Sister (Oslo Detectives #8) at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; pub date 29 Feb. 2020. Buy at Orendabooks.co.uk.

Read my review of The CourierThe Ice Swimmer and Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl.

#BlogTour The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl, (Translator: Don Bartlett). It’s a driven, enthralling combination of crime, spy, political and historical fiction with skewed lines of betrayal, truth and justice.

About the Author

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.

Follow @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks #TheCourier on Twitter, Visit  kjelloladahl.no

Buy The Courier

About the book

In Oslo in 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In great haste, she escapes to Sweden whilst the rest of her family is deported to Auschwitz.

In Stockholm, Ester meets the resistance hero, Gerhard Falkum, who has left his little daughter and fled both the Germans and allegations that he murdered his wife, Åse, Ester ’s childhood best friend.

A relationship develops between them, but ends abruptly when Falkum dies in a fire. And yet, twenty-five years later, Falkum shows up in Oslo. He wants to reconnect with his daughter Turid. But where has he been, and what is the real reason for his return? Ester stumbles across information that forces her to look closely at her past, and to revisit her war-time training to stay alive…

Review

Nicely done! This author plans with such meticulous accuracy it’s a pleasure to read how the crime, the solution and whole premise comes full circle from start to fruition. At times the reader is left wondering how on earth all the threads are going to be pulled together successfully or indeed at all.

The author takes the reader back and forth through three timelines. It starts in 2015 when Turid recognises a stolen family heirloom on an auction site and she sets out to retrieve what is rightfully hers. Then we are taken into the year 1942 and the world of the Holocaust, occupied Finland and the men and women of the resistance.

Some of those characters reunite again in the 1960s, when a former resistance hero, Gerhard Falkum, rises from the dead to return to his daughter. A young woman orphaned as a baby when both parents are killed in the midst of a brutal war.

I was sure of the whodunnit from the get-go, but the author made me doubt the why and often even if I was right about the culprit. For me, although it is at the core a story about one murder hidden in a decade full of murderous atrocities, it’s also about the circumstances which lead to the crime. The attempt to let the past and the dead rest in peace, and understanding that sometimes the truth is best left buried.

It’s also about whether a leopard changes its spots, especially when it is given the opportunity to prey on more vulnerable targets than ever before. Does fighting against an evil regime, a sense of righteous indignation and need for vengeance give certain people a false sense of brotherhood and trust? The kind of misplaced trust that can kill people perhaps.

It’s a driven, enthralling combination of crime, spy, political and historical fiction with skewed lines of betrayal, truth and justice. Kjell Ola Dahl is a scribe who writes with conviction and a simmering passion for the written word.

Buy The Courier at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books: pub date 21 Mar. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl,  Read my review of Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl.

#BlogTour The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl

Today it is my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl. He is certainly a master of his craft, which is evident in this moving and yet equally captivating crime read.

About the Author

One of the godfathers 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 sold over two million copies. He lives in Oslo.

Follow @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks #TheIceSwimmer

Visit  kjelloladahl.no

Buy The Ice Swimmer

About the book

When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated. Not only is she dealing with a cancer scare, a stalker and an untrustworthy boyfriend, but it seems both a politician and Norway’s security services might be involved in the murder.

With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side, Lena digs deep into the case and finds that it not only goes to the heart of the Norwegian establishment, but it might be rather to close to her personal life for comfort.

Dark, complex and nail-bitingly tense, The Ice Swimmer is the latest and most unforgettable instalment in the critically acclaimed Oslo Detective series, by the godfather of Nordic Noir

Review

The focus is on Detective Lena Stigersand in this book, and I have to say her reactions and inner dialogues are quite interesting. Watching Lena struggle with the separation of private and professional problems, whilst the intricate plot unfolds around her is a fascinating juxtaposition. Illness vs danger, worry vs brainstorming; Lena spends her entire time walking the lines between her inner fears and her professional instincts.

The author approaches the issue of cancer with sensitivity, although the same can’t be said for Lena. She fights against the idea, ignores the reality and keeps shoving it into the recesses of her mind. Her body becomes the hidden enemy. What is riveting and heartbreaking is the way she tries to tell the people around her, and yet doesn’t because she feels it may be perceived as weakness.

The Ice Swimmer combines various elements of crime. The political scenario with the secret intelligence service poking fingers in the murky pot, and the simple wrong place at the wrong time extra victim. To top it off Lena finds herself being drawn into a romantic relationship with someone she has started to have doubts about.

Overall it is a fast-paced, well-plotted story with Gunnarstranda and Frølich taking more of a supportive back seat role, as the strong impulsive Oslo detective, Lena Stigersand, takes more of a one-man team approach to solving the crimes.

Kjell Ola Dahl likes to create the crime with a focus on the intricacies of his characters and their personal lives. This atmosphere allows for the reader to feel empathy with the characters without losing sight of the unfolding crime scenario. It is a balancing act, but one that serves up a great read.

The author moves his characters across the chess board with a tactical efficiency. It gives the Ice Swimmer the feel of a modern crime with a flair of Nordic Noir, and the overall sense of ultimate command over everything. Each move is planned, no loose ends are left to ponder over, and the intimacy between the characters and the reader makes you want to come back for more.

Buy The Ice Swimmer at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Kindle Pub date 28 Feb 2018, Paperback Pub date 30th April 2018

Published by orendabooks.co.uk

Blog-Tour: Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl

Today I am excited to take part in the Blog-Tour for Faithless by Kjell Ola Dahl. 

Faithless is part of a police procedural series featuring the #Oslodetectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich.

About the Author

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.

About the book

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, atmospheric page-turner marks the return of an internationally renowned and award-winning series, from one of the fathers of Nordic Noir.

Buy Faithless

Review

Faithless is a psychological thriller done Dahl-style. The author captures the noirish witty quality of Scandinavian banter, especially between the police officers or detectives.

I think at one point I actually gawped at the pages, due to the amount of rubbish Frølich had to put up with. The sheer audacity of Janne and Karl, but especially Janne. She gives off a Children of the Corn crazy cult chick vibe. All wagging fingers and lectures. Kudos to Frølich for keeping his cool in the face of her cray cray logic.

Multiple crimes and story-lines are woven seamlessly into the story, which sounds easy, however it does take skill to do so without one being detrimental to the other. The author does this in such a subtle way that the reader just goes along with the flow of it.

Dahl has created strong memorable characters with quirky personalities. They think nothing of taking the proverbial urine out of each other, then seconds later they maintain the face of pure professionalism. Saying that, certain members of the team have the tendency to go all lone wolf in their investigations, and one of them ends up in mortal danger.

The author delivers a captivating read and mixes his specific panache with a Nordic Noir style. He pulls the reader along for a wild ride of suspicions, accusations and rash decisions. The Gunnarstranda and Frølich books can be read as stand-alone novels. You don’t really need the back-story to get the gist of it. Either way you’re in for a great read.

Buy Faithless at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

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