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.
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.
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 com. At Orenda.