Kjell Ola Dahl: The Courier

 

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Courier today. My review is written with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to join the blog tour and to Orenda Books for my copy of the book.

 

Blurb:

The international bestselling godfather of Nordic Noir takes on one of the most horrific periods of modern history, in a stunning standalone thriller…

 

‘A masterclass in plotting, atmosphere and character that finely balances shocking twists’ The Times

 

In 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In a great haste, she escapes to Sweden, saving herself. Her family in Oslo, however, 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, who helped Ester get to Sweden. Their burgeoning relationship 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. 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…

Written with Dahl’s trademark characterization and elegant plotting, The Courier sees the hugely respected godfather of Nordic Noir at his best, as he takes on one of the most horrific periods of modern history, in a exceptional, shocking thriller.

Review:

Having read The Ice Swimmer last year, I was keen to read more of Kjell Ola Dahl’s work, and was interested to see how he would tackle a standalone novel. I was not disappointed. The Courier is beautifully written, and the translator has done a magnificent job of making sure the words have their full effect on the reader. The short, sharp sentences provide a wonderful undercurrent of tension, and I was always eager to discover what would happen next. Although I quickly came to like the character of Ester, some of the other characters were a little more difficult to trust, and I enjoyed the task of trying to work out their true intentions!

The story is set over multiple timelines: there are sections set in 1942, 1967 and 2015. This did mean that I had to pay attention as I was reading, but I found it an effective way of building intrigue and allowing the reader insight into the characters’ lives.

I have read quite a lot of novels set during World War II recently, but The Courier is different in that it is set in Norway. I was unaware how the war had affected this part of Europe, and I enjoyed learning more about it. The research that Dahl has done is very thorough and meaningful and adds authenticity and emotion to the novel.

The Courier is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the tour here:

 

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