I’m delighted to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for fantastic standalone Nordic Noir historical novel The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl. Thank you to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book.
About the book:
The award-winning Godfather of Nordic Noir returns with a fascinating and richly authentic portrait of Oslo’s interwar years, featuring Nazis operating secretly on Norwegian soil and militant socialists readying workers for war…
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.
A stunning, sophisticated, tension-packed thriller – the darkest of hardboiled Nordic Noir – from one of Norway’s most acclaimed crime writers.
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 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 (published in English by Orenda books in 2019).
His work has been published in fourteen countries. He lives in Oslo.
Follow him on Twitter @ko_dahl
Translated by Don Bartlett
The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl is yet another atmospheric novel by this talented and highly acclaimed Norwegian crime author. Skilfully translated by Don Bartlett this is historical Nordic Noir fiction at its very best. The writing is beautiful and I was instantly transported to 1930’s Oslo in the lead up to World War 2. I love immersing myself in an historical novel that shows history from a different point of view and The Assistant does just that, opening my eyes to a time in history that I knew very little about, taking the reader on a fascinating and tension filled journey that holds you in its thrall throughout.
Moving between two timelines, The Assistant is a stylish thriller that is as compelling as it is exciting. Private investigator Ludvig Paaske 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 and soon Jack finds himself accused of murder. As the trail leads back to the 1920’s and prohibition era Norway, is Jack’s criminal past about to come back to haunt him in the most unexpected of ways?
The Assistant, with its intricate plot and twists and turns that keep you guessing throughout, is a tale full of intrigue and suspense. The unlikely pairing of Ludwig Paaske and his one time nemesis Jack Rivers is fascinating and is one of the things I enjoyed the most about this book. Kjell Ola Dahl’s writing is as excellent as always and, together with Don Bartlett’s superb translation, brings the story vividly to life as the threads of the plot slowly begin to come together. As the past and present start to collide, the secrets of the past are revealed, leading to a thrilling conclusion that is as surprising as it is satisfying.
The Assistant is much more than just a stylish Nordic Noir thriller, it’s also a book that takes you on a journey through a time in history that I knew very little about. With larger than life characters and a compelling storyline that kept me reading long into the night, Kjell Ola Dahl has written yet another stunning thriller that I would highly recommend.
The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl is available to purchase now
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