A seemingly straightforward investigation into marital infidelity leads a PI and his ex-con assistant on a murderous trail, in a sophisticated, riveting, cunningly plotted historical Nordic Noir thriller set in interwar and prohibition-era Norway.
‘An expertly crafted unravelling of mixed loyalties, love, lust, lies and trust, set against the background of a world increasingly on the edge of all-out war’ John Harvey
‘A stylish standalone thriller … Dahl ratchets up the tension from the first pages and never lets go’ Sunday Times
‘Cleverly braiding together past and present, the who and why of murder and betrayal are unpicked. The detail is impressive’ Daily Mail
Oslo, 1938. War is in the air and Europe is in turmoil. Hitler’s Germany has occupied Austria and is threatening Czechoslovakia; there’s a civil war 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, and when Jack is accused of murder, the trail leads back to the 1920s, to prohibition-era Norway, to the smugglers, sex workers and hoodlums of his criminal past ... and an extraordinary secret.
Both a fascinating portrait of Oslo’s interwar years, with Nazis operating secretly on Norwegian soil and militant socialists readying workers for war, The Assistant is also a stunningly sophisticated, tension-packed thriller – the darkest of hard-boiled Nordic Noir – from one of Norway’s most acclaimed crime writers.
‘Kjell Ola Dahl doesn’t write novels; he creates experiences by executing a strong sense of place of a spellbinding period that leaves its readers craving more' Books Technica
Praise for Kjell Ola Dahl’s The Courier
‘Absorbing, heart-rending and perfectly plotted …’ Denzil Meyrick
‘A dark but richly described backdrop and a relentless, underlying tension drive this sad story. Fans of Nordic Noir will be satisfied’ Publishers Weekly
‘Skilfully juggles three Oslo timelines … simply superb plotting and essential reading’ The Times
‘A truly eloquent and rewarding tale’ LoveReading
‘This stunning and compelling wartime thriller is reminiscent of the writing of John Le Carré and William Boyd’ NB Magazine
‘Masterful, detailed plotting… Dahl has given a complex, human face to such an inhuman tragedy’ Crime Fiction Lover
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.
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