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The Courier

Published Date: 27th September 2018

Available in

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EBook
9781912374441
£5.99
21 January 2019
Paperback
9781912374434
£8.99
21 March 2019

Description

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

In 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In a abeat 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.

 

The Courier is a stylish stand-alone thriller from the godfather of Scandi noir … Ola Dahl ratchets up the tension from the first pages and never lets go’ Antonia Senior, The Times

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‘Cleverly braiding together past and present, the who and why of murder and betrayal are unpicked. The detail is impressive’

Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail

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‘Kjell Ola Dahl’s novels are superb. If you haven’t read one, you need to – right now’ William Ryan

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 ‘If you want your worst fears about what goes on inside a cop’s mind confirmed, meet K.O. Dahl’s Oslo sleuths, Gunnarstranda and Frølich … impossible to put down’ Guardian

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A masterclass in plotting, atmosphere and character that finely balances shocking twists with the coppers’ complicated personal lives.’

Sunday Times Crime Club

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‘Dark, stylish and suspenseful, Faithless is the perfect example of why Nordic Noir has become such a popular genre.’ Reader’s Digest

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Absorbing, heart-rending and perfectly plotted. Kjell Ola Dahl’s The Courier passes seamlessly from the present to the dark past of WWII. Fabulous!’ Denzil Meyrick

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‘Skilfully juggling three Oslo timelines — in 1942, 1967 and 2015 — Dahl starts his story with Germany’s occupation of Norway and the work of those who tried to resist, then brings his characters forward to a post-war unravelling of what really happened in those dangerous days — and the traumatic rewriting of personal stories’ The Times Crime Club

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‘A fascinating, intricate, provocative read, set in motion by events in 1942, and brilliantly highlighting human need and emotions. Ester escapes from Norway to Sweden after her family are deported to Auschwitz, involved in the resistance she is part of a plot that rears again 25 years later, and then in 2015 a link to the past finally begins to answer questions decades old. As I began to read, the words so clear, stark and powerful, painted an immediate moving picture in my mind. I’ve previously read and adored crime fiction by Kjell Ola Dahl, you are expected to keep up as he drives the plot forward and this is no different. Three time spans and intrigue galore could create an incredibly knotted labyrinth of a tale, yet this is told and translated so beautifully, each moment opens into the other as a series of doors that you just need to open and walk through. ‘The Courier’ sent a shiver coursing through me, it is a truly eloquent and rewarding tale, and oh that ending!’ LoveReading

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‘Written with Dahl’s trademark characterisation and clever plotting, The Courier sees one of Norway’s most critically acclaimed authors at his best, as he takes on one of the most horrifying periods of modern history. With its sophisticated storytelling and elegant prose, this stunning and compelling wartime thriller is reminiscent of the writing of John Le Carré and William Boyd’ Kjell Ola Dahl is interviewed at New Books Magazine

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‘There has always been a strong vein of realism in Dahl’s writing, it’s one of the things that makes him a leading exponent of Nordic Noir and an inspiration to other crime writers. It’s also part of the reason this novel is so relatable, it feels like the experience of real people going through war and it’s aftermath. The Courier is possessed of something more though, there’s an indefinable special quality here, something to do with the alchemical reaction of the component parts, this feels like a labour of love … Dahl makes the personal trauma of a murder amidst the tragedy of war with so many deaths stand out, this is a fine murder mystery. The characters are rounded and complex and, as we meet them at three separate times in their lives, the story has to reflect their changing attitudes as tempered by age and experience. The background of shifting social attitudes and mores is also reflected in the three timelines. This is a tale of life under the occupation and how that affects a nation, during and after the war is over. The Courier is very good on the socio-political situation of the time, the relationship between Norway and neutral neighbour Sweden. This is a gritty but ultimately uplifting story. Superbly translated by Don Bartlett’ NB Magazine

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‘It all comes together, of course, in the kind of masterful, detailed plotting that Dahl is known for. The events are shocking, but familiar given the number of novels set in and around World War II, but the power of The Courieris how Dahl has given a complex, human face to such an inhuman tragedy. Like the other Kjell Ola Dahl novels to appear in English, The Courierhas been translated by Don Bartlett, and it proves the value of sticking with a good translator. This book is rich in information about the Norwegian Resistance, which requires a fair number of Wikipedia searches if you want to understand the full significance of the historical events, however this never gets in the way of the plot. The main source of excitement comes through the tension between the characters, and the arc it forms over the three periods in which the novel is set’ Crime Fiction Lover

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‘Atmospheric thriller with lots of great twists and loved the scandi wartime story in particular. Gripping will be recommending to readers’ Edgy Books

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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.

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 Nesbø and Gunnar Staalesen’s Varg Veum series: We Shall Inherit the WindWolves in the Darkand the Petrona award-winning Where Roses Never Die. He also translated Faithless, the previous book in Kjell Ola Dahl’s Oslo Detective series for Orenda Books. He lives with his family in a village in Norfolk

Online Reviews

‘An instant classic, The Courier contains everything I look for in a book – it’s set in WW2 and uses that time period’s underlying menace and drama, it’s got a deep, involved plot that spans across different periods in time, there’s mystery and espionage everywhere, it’s populated by great characters that you actually care about and it’s written in the formidable style of the master that is Kjell Ola Dahl. It almost feels like it was tailor made for my bookshelves … Kjell Ola Dahl is an exceptionally talented writer and manages to set a gripping story against a backdrop of global menace and terror that perfectly blends the historical with the thrill of fiction in an authoritative manner.  The Courier sits up there with my favourites of the historical fiction genre like Fatherland and Gorky Park and the aforementioned All The Light We Cannot See. The Courier is peopled with characters that really hook you in and a mystery that will keep you glued until its, frankly, shocking reveal. Kjell Ola Dahl, best known for his Oslo Detectives novels, has here created a deep, slow-burning thriller that’s not only one of the best reads of the year but one of the best reads of the genre’ Mumbling About

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The Courier is a literary spy thriller, perfect for John Le Carré fans, and a very welcome addition to the Nordic Noir genre. The book is steeped in history – Norway in World War 2 and the plight of its Jewish people during the Holocaust – with roots in espionage and wartime resistance … The writing is excellent (translated by Don Bartlett) – sparse where it needs to be, to move the story along at a fast pace, but highly descriptive elsewhere, with acute observations that paint a vivid picture of people and places. So much tension bubbles away under the surface. But this is far more than just a thriller and a murder mystery. It’s also a heartbreaking read, as Ester learns more about what happened to her family and her childhood friend. The ending brought tears to my eyes but also a strong sense of resolution. Highly recommended!’ Off-the-shelf Books

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‘This tension runs throughout the novel like a river. It is an undercurrent which taints every sentence and character and I didn’t know quite who to trust. This is a brilliant thriller wrapped up in a piece of exquisite historical fiction with meticulous plotting and great characterisation. I loved the multiple timelines which allowed the mysteries (and boy are there a few!) to develop … Kjell Ola Dahl writes women so well, they are not just ‘the wife’, or ‘the mother’ or ‘the pretty dead girl’ and the plot of The Courier is driven by women. It is women who hide Ester from the Gestapo, women who carry messages for the resistance and a woman who is unafraid to go against powerful and menacing men to right wrongs. I loved the people in this book, but most of all I loved Ester and her strength. If brilliantly plotted novels with strong female leads and a stack of social and political history is your thing then The Courier could be for you. Wonderfully translated by Don Bartlett it is Nordic Noir at its best’ Beverley Has Read

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‘Dahl does a fantastic job of keeping the tension up as the narrative threads become increasingly intertwined and the truth begins to come out at last. The jumps in time feel extremely natural, as the characters are well developed both in physical appearance and the way they change (or don’t change) as people over the years. In this way, Dahl ensures that the narrative is never difficult to follow. In fact, the pace only picks up as the story goes on and becomes more and more gripping … this is a fantastic crime novel, excellently plotted and with plenty of action, intriguing characters and historical detail that really takes you on a journey to Oslo and Stockholm during the Second World War, the Cold War, and back to the present day. I highly recommend it to fans of Scandi crime and translated fiction – The Courier is another absolute triumph for Orenda, and one that I’m sure I’ll be coming back to read again in the future!’ From Cover to Cover

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‘This is an intriguing read and the characterisation is told deftly. It drills down into a murky period of history in which there are tragedies and mysteries, not a few people would rather remain hidden. Recently I was listening to a BBC World true-crime/mystery podcast about the Isdal woman – a woman who’s indentity remains unknown whos charred corpse was found in the Isdalen valley in Norway in 1970. Many theories surround her – was she a spy?, was her death linked to Norway’s wartime past? While fictional, the plot of The Courier deals with similar themes, for there were and are events which remain unexplained from the war and the decades after. Indeed, as Gerhard tries to uncover the truth his very presence in Norway is unwelcome to many of the other characters and this keeps the reader guessing as what they have to hide. The author handles the plot deftly and both timelines work well with each other making this a very satisfying historical mystery’

The Crime Novel Reader 

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‘The entire book is so beautifully constructed that you cannot see, Wizard of Oz-like, the curtained creator’s hands behind it ;as a result the characters spring larger than life from the page. And oh, that ending…. It is a work par excellence throwing shade and nuance into a period of history which has haunted humanity-and I genuinely hope that it continues to do so because ‘never again’ is a refrain for all people, now and forever. The horrors of sudden disappearances, living life in fear and transportation resulting in death in concentration camps are recorded and remembered in stories for very good reason. Families were irreperably torn apart never to be remade, but hope is the eternal remnant of Pandora’s Box, gifted to us to challenge the evils let loose on the world’ Rachel Read It

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‘I love this period of history and this has to be one of the best books I have read that covers this genre – it is superb! … The book is well written, well researched, has a fantastic plot and excellent characterisation.  I love how the book is split over different time periods and it has a fantastic layout. The story flows very well and I was completely drawn in. The book is one that stayed with me after I read it, and I expect it to remain with me for a good while to come.  I don’t normally re-read books but I will certainly be picking this one up again. No hesitation at all in giving this one 5 stars and it will definitely be in my top reads at the end of 2019 – very highly recommended in fact I can’t recommend it highly enough – any fans of this genre need to check out this book!’ Donnas Book Blog

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‘This wonderful characterisation is complimented perfectly with the island of Stoirm. The island comes alive through the vivid descriptions, especially those of Thunder Bay and the coastline surrounding it … Plot wise, this has to be one of the most fascinating books I’ve read so far this year. There are so many little details to the plot, so many things that click together to make the bigger picture and it just blew me away. And craftily, just as you become immersed in one arc of the plot, Skelton deftly throws you off course, intrigues you with another line of narrative and has the reader gasping in shock at the revelations uncovered. I’m not saying anything more about the plot, this deserves to be discovered at your own pace. A gripping and thrilling read from one of the great Scottish crime writers, themes of crime, mystery, secrecy and loyalty all woven together to make Thunder Bay one of those books that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page’

The Quiet Knitter

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‘I have read and enjoyed previous books by Kjell Ola Dahl so this was a must read for me.What a brilliantly written and translated story! This is the perfect historical, crime novel. Really takes you back to the 1940s and 1960s during WWII. It also links to the present day, each is set out clearly so there is no confusion for the reader. This is not your everyday, average mystery its unique and written perfectly. I loved the two female characters Ester and Ase. It is a page turner of a read which you will not want to put down. I wanted more after finishing this I just loved it all! Fast paced story for me, devoured it. Also contains short chapters which I love! I was lost into this story and didn’t want to come back to reality. Highly recommend. A well deserved four stars from me. One you won’t regret reading. A story that I won’t forget for a long time’ Gemmas Book Reviews

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‘When I pick up a thriller I am generally looking for three things, setting, characters and plot … The Courier has all three aspects, perfectly drawing both the physical and psychological landscape of wartime Norway, populating it with authentic characters and twisting through a story arc that alternates between 1942 and 1967 as he guides you to its shocking conclusion … This is a polished thriller, superbly translated by Don Bartlett, that has immediately put Kjell Ola Dahl onto my list of authors whose work can be trusted to deliver’ Live Many Lives

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The Courier is a tension-filled thriller wrapped around interchanging timelines. It has a strong plot that both entertains and informs, capturing the imagination of the reader from the opening pages. The Courier is a spy novel, it’s a historical guide, it’s a mystery, all fantastically translated by Don Bartlett, bringing the writings of Kjell Ola Dahl to a much wider and very appreciative new audience of readers across the globe … I am a huge fan of historical fiction, so it was an absolute treat for me to have the opportunity to read The Courier. A highly compelling read, packed with suspense and intrigue. Highly entertaining!!’ Swirl and Thread

 

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‘This is not an easy book, but it’s a twisted read that will get to any reader. The story is not easy, but is beautifully written and so detailed that you will be part of the story since the first page … I don’t like much reading about the war, I find it difficult and sad, The Courier is difficult and sad, but it allows the reader to see the survivor side, their fear and pain; and how they copped to continue living while their friends and family could not. We can not forget that this is a mystery book, and of course there will be some possible killers; all of them with a strong motive, but in this case, the murder is just what glues all the story and characters, is more interesting the surrounding story than the murder per se. I loved this book, every page of it, and I am sure that if you take a chance on The Courier you will love it too’ Varietats

 

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‘The writer has provided a master class in compulsive and adroit characterisation.  I found myself changing my mind about the motives of each character, from chapter to chapter, sometimes between paragraphs! … What I can say is that by the time I’d finished the book. I had been forced to change my opinions over and over, so nuanced were the characters and writing. Without a doubt I would recommend this superb book to all and sundry’ Books are my Cwtches

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‘This was an incredibly gripping and tense novel which helped make it a quick read as I found it hard to put down … The tension is almost unbearable at times and I found myself frequently imploring Esther not to do something and put herself in danger, sometimes out loud which amused my husband! The author manages to keep the intrigue and action going throughout the book so there is never a dull moment which made for an incredibly exciting read … If you like gripped, tense and thrilling historical crime books then you’ll love this book’

Over the Rainbow Book Blog

‘From the get-go, I was completely absorbed into this story and very quickly became obsessed with the characters and the timeline. I loved the idea and how it was manipulated with mystery and suspense, as well as including an era I am so very interested in … The sentences were short and abrupt, which I really enjoyed. There was a perfect amount of detail and descriptions, partnered with lots of conversation so you can quickly get down to business with establishing what was going on … I absolutely adored The Courier and wouldn’t change a single element. I adored the ending and would have loved hundreds of more pages about this journey … This book is likened to John le Carré, which I definitely agree with. An intriguing and unforgettable journey’ Bookmark That

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‘Intrigue and espionage whirled around them, the tension palpable, like a piece of string pulled so tight that at some point you knew it would snap but you weren’t sure when or where or what impact it would have. Dahl kept that string pulled tight throughout and the snap when it happened was dramatic but in a quiet understated way, that perfectly befitted the whole feel of the novel … You sensed danger behind every corner, every turn of the page and that is what made The Courier so deeply absorbing and utterly brilliant … I cannot speak highly enough of The Courier, it was atmospheric and a superbly written piece of fiction that is very definitely one of the best novels I have read this year’

My Bookish Blogspot

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The Courier continues in Kjell Ola Dahl’s high standards with a beautifully crafted plot and a measured tension which mounts as the story evolves. It illuminates a dark period in Norwegian history when the Germans invaded the country and the Jewish population was arrested, deported or sent to concentration camps. Many fled to Sweden or to the UK.  I knew little of this so found this a horrifying but a fascinating read … This is a beautifully measured mystery with elements of the espionage novel threaded through the historical genre. Most of all, I loved the tone of the novel which must be due in part to Don Bartlett’s translation. It was never over dramatic or gruesome but through the use of little details, the horror of the situation hit home. Ester seeing her father being taken away is a shining example’

 Books, Life and Everything

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‘There are complexities to the plot but it is expertly built so it felt an easy read. Beneath the spies, the resistance, the gestapo and the war, there is the story of the murder of a young mother.  The crime remains, almost forgotten through time, but the truth will be revealed and I have to say that I for one didn’t see it coming.  It is shocking, compelling – A very excellent novel that I thoroughly recommend, not only as a piece of historical fiction but also as a thriller that will hold you spellbound until the end’ Tales before Bedtime

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‘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 … 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’ Cheryll MM Book blog

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‘Kjell Ola Dahl’s The Courier is a tense, rather beautifully penned read. Set in a particularly challenging and problematic period of twentieth-century history, one that still makes people uncomfortable, it focuses on the comparatively less covered Nazi occupation of Norway during the Second World War, and its impact on a group of characters from the 1940s to the early twenty-first century … A tightly plotted, fast-paced book, The Courier endorses why Dahl is such an acclaimed novelist … The precision of his writing and his evocation of place call to mind the great Frederick Forsyth.Another score for Orenda’ The Literary Shed

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‘While the tale may not be a fast paced espionage thriller it is most certainly a well crafted character drama.  Kjell Ola Dahl makes you care about his characters and you want to keep reading The Courier to find what happens to Ester et all. Orenda Books consistently treat us to terrific, emotive and engaging stories The Courier is another triumph’ Grab this Book

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‘Kjell Ola Dahl has stepped away from his procedurals to give us a novel that skips between the days of the Norwegian resistance, the late 1960s and the very recent past. And having completed it, I feel very intelligent indeed … Don Bartlett has done a great job in translating what at times can be highly descriptive and at all times very careful and nuanced prose … Although bullets are fired and fires are set Dahl wisely stays away from big budget set pieces. Instead, the novel crackles with tension throughout and is all the more satisfying for it. There’s cat and mouse galore (including a real cat). I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and hope Dahl will give us more standalone thrillers like it’ Café Thinking

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‘Kjell Ola Dahl has a flawless way with words, where he can bring to life the streets of any city before the reader’s eyes. The atmospheric quality of Dahl’s writing truly made this story all the more captivating. In conjunction to this element, Dahl also succeeds in creating multi-faceted characters that the reader instantly connects with, be it through pity, anger, or compassion. Dahl made it easy to understand the motives behind character’s actions in present and past scenarios. While I might have been in the dark as the mystery was unraveling, Dahl writes with a reassuring quality that I could feel that answers were always right around the corner. THE COURIER is a work of crime fiction with a compelling historical aspect that truly helps make it stand out in a crowded genre. This slow-burn, atmospheric tale is one that will transport you to another time and another way of life. Lovers of several genres can expect to find something for them within these pages’

What Jess Reads

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‘The writing in the book is outstanding. The characters are brilliantly written but the stand out one is Ester, she is so real that I keep wondering how she would feel about certain things before I realise she’s fictional and can’t answer me. This isn’t one of those stories that feels it has to make everything larger than life, there are subtleties her, words that are so heavy with meaning they make you want to stop reading and look outside and remind yourself that the world has changed and you aren’t living in the book … Read this book, and then appreciate simple things like the sun shining because these are the things we take for granted and we really shouldn’t. And now that I’ve said all of that I’m going to stand outside and enjoy the sun and the breeze because I can’ Book Lover Worm Blog

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‘Dahl takes the reader on a journey of discovery of spy activities in the Second World War and how years later, the effects are still felt. Ester is trying to leave her experiences behind her but her attempt at living a quiet life gets disrupted by her past. Her involvement in the war efforts then, still invokes the same curiosity in her, which Dahl portrays beautifully. Generally, Nordic Noir or historical novels wouldn’t be my genre of choice, yet The Courier combines these two brilliantly and I have really enjoyed reading it … The Courier is going to be a great success, of that I have no doubt. It would make a brilliant film, in my opinion. Orenda Books consistently release books that engross me from start to finish, and The Courier is no exception’ Segnalibro

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‘As a fan of Dahl’s regular crime series, I was more than satisfied with this perceptive, and at times, incredibly moving exploration of Scandinavian history. It pirouettes so neatly between changing times, cultural norms (through Dahl’s precise insertion of music and film references) and the growing self awareness and belief of a truly memorable female protagonist. Highly recommended’ Raven Crime Reads

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‘Beautifully written, this book captures the mixed emotions of those caught up in the war. the persecution of Norwegian Jews is not something we often think about and yet the stark facts, sympathetically handled in this book through the portrayal of the loss of Ester’s family, are ones we can’t ignore … Kjell Ola Dahl has managed to capture in amongst these pages something really thought provoking and moving, as well as dramatic and intriguing. The translation by Don Bartlett is superb, not a single jarring note, and we are led into a poignant, atmospheric and tragic story that transcends the clear devastation of the war upon the characters and the country, whilst still acknowledging the travesty and horror of the era in which it is set. A truly top class historical thriller’ Jen Meds Book Reviews

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‘The writing and plot development also really stood out for me. This story managed to grab my attention right from the very first chapter and the engaging writing style made it easy to fully emerge myself in the story and travel back in time. The descriptions of time, place and characters are detailed and well developed, making it easy to imagine yourself as a spectator observing the story from a front row seat. The main characters felt real as they are realistically displayed with flaws and all; you will soon find yourself rooting for them and this makes connecting to the story all the easier … The Courier is a little Nordic Noir gem and a very satisfying read for fans of historical fiction and thrillers alike. Highly recommended!’ Its All About Books

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‘This is a twisty little story where enemies are not always visible, conversations are marked by what is not said, and innocent childhood seems far, far away. One thing is clear – after 1942, nothing will be the same again for any of these characters … The characters are strongly drawn and everybody is sympathetic – to a point. At times, events are clouded by mystery, an effect enhanced by the different timelines although Kjell Ola Dahl keeps things on the right side of the line between “puzzling” and “baffling”, and the relentless drive of the narrative – it is truly nailbiting at times, always thrilling – means the jumps are pretty easy to read through. The pacing is superb, building up to simultaneous climaxes in different periods which have a real sense of jeopardy (even though the structure means we know – or can guess – how things turned out) … I’d recommend The Courier to fans of spot fiction, historical or crime, and especially to those who like a mashup of all three’ Blue Book Balloon

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The Courier is set between a number of timelines, present day, during the war and after … I quite enjoyed that aspect of the book if I’m honest switching between then and now as it gave a huge insight into each of the characters lives. It switches from being set in Oslo to Stockholm where Ester escaped to … We see the character Ester struggling in the aftermath of her father being arrested and removed from their home & business … This is a sad and upsetting read due to all the history but it’s also a mystery, a murder has been committed which must be solved…. You won’t want to put this book down. The writing is superb, the storyline outstanding…. If you love historical fiction, then this one is most definitely for you’ Book Reviews for U

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‘This is not simply an historical murder mystery thriller but a fascinating and thoughtful story brought to life through its three main characters. Beginning in the present we move seamlessly between that, 1942, 1967 and finally back to the present with an ending that made me, somewhat ruefully, smile. A moving account of an horrific period in modern history. Kjell ove Dahl brings to life a story which is remarkable, enthralling and captivating. His writing is a deft, well-plotted story, with characters who are so believable – although not all are likeable – and into which you are effortlessly drawn’ Love Books Read Books

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‘I was desperate to find out the answers to all my questions and found that I couldn’t put the book down until I’d reached the end. The Courier is more of a slow burn book, but with a high stakes atmosphere. I’m glad that I decided to leave my comfort zone and take a chance on it’ Everywhere and Nowhere

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‘It was increasingly fascinating how the the story connected, and what happened to them in the years between. Especially with Ester, this novel could have just concentrated on her life journey from Norway to Israel. Whilst there wasn’t a lot of focus on what happened to her family, you do get to see the effect it had on her. How it never left her. I imagine this to be a true reflection of what it must be like for descendants of loved ones who were taken away’

Stephs Book Blog

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‘To go into detail about the plot would be wrong, for Ola Dahl does that with a flair and passion and the aim of this review is to get my readers to go out and try the book for themselves. You will be treated to a tense but beautifully written wartime spy story that is drenched in atmosphere with a female lead character who is so engaging, and dogged and so skilfully crafted. The short, sharp sentences are almost bullet like, and this author uses every single word carefully and with a sharp precision; there’s an almost breathless feeling to the narrative and this is expertly translated by Don Bartlett. The Courier is a riveting mystery thriller with a vividly created sense of place. Highly recommended’ Random Things … 

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‘As with his earlier books, Dahl shows a deft hand with plot, juggling the two main threads between 1942 and 1967 and revealing his cards only when he’s good and ready … I don’t usually read a lot of historical fiction, but couldn’t resist seeing what Kjell Ola Dahl, the Godfather of Nordic Noir, would come up with. It’s proper, hard-boiled Noir with a wonderfully gritty, distressingly authentic edge. It’ll keep you thinking for a long while after you’ve finished. Highly recommended’ Espresso Coco

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‘In a novel with such a strong character-driven narrative, it is undoubtedly Ester who is the most compelling figure. The contrast between the facets of her personality are fascinating – she is at once strong and resilient yet vulnerable and conflicted by guilt and doubt … The Courier is a complex spy thriller which demands concentration but rewards its readers with a beautifully structured, tense and affecting story. It is a sharp reminder that beyond the fields of conflict, there are brutal decisions made in war and none more so than in the shadowy world of espionage … Intelligent, intriguing and moving, I highly recommend it’ Hair Past A Freckle

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The Courier is a wonderful slow burn read … It is full of tension, mainly generated through the slow-burn narrative as well as the (mainly) dual timelines. The author really brings to life the fear that people lived with both during the war and for decades afterwards, the scars that never quite healed. I highly recommend The Courier to historical fiction/espionage fans…you are in for a treat’ Have Books Will Read

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‘The story is interesting, I liked the simplicity of the writing, and how everything ties together. Ester is a great character, she’s strong and resilient and she is definitely not someone to be best with. I like a feisty female character and Ester fits the bill perfectly. The conclusion of the book was not what I expected, it was well done and fitted well with the story. The Courier is a great example of Nordic Noir, if you haven’t read the genre then you really should, and this book is a great place to start’ If Only I Could Read Faster

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‘A tense and exciting thriller that moves along at a steady pace, with a stunning and intricate plot that keeps you guessing throughout. It is both shocking and exhilarating, taking you on a journey that twists and turns in ways you would never have expected. Kjell Ola Dahl is a gifted storyteller and the story is brilliantly translated by Don Bartlett. It’s a stylish, complex thriller that handles a difficult time period exceptionally well. Moving and beautifully written, there isn’t anything I didn’t love about this stunning addition to the Nordic Noir genre. With outstanding characterisation and a tightly plotted storyline, this is a book that I highly recommend’ Cal Turner Reviews

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The Courier is a book that demands your attention, it is a slow-moving mystery/historical fiction – that drip feeds you information and leaves you guessing to the end … I loved the plot which is full of mystery and red herrings – set in Norway/Sweden during World War Two … I loved the characters – most of whom are in some way part of the resistance movement – part of the framework that holds this book together is a lack of trust between the characters, and it is easy to see why. After all, can you ever really trust another spy? Highly recommend, whether you are a fan of historical fiction or war-time novels, this one deserves a place on your shelves/kindle!’ Don Jimmy Reviews

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The Courier is a historical, spy thriller, and a murder mystery, set in Norway and Sweden. It will appeal to those who enjoy wartime reads with a difference, not focusing on the home front or fighting, but on matters that are more behind the scenes, with a darker feel to the story. It’s absolutely full of atmosphere’ Short Book and Scribes

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‘Dahl writes incredibly descriptive scenes, often using short staccato sentences to include the smallest details. The result is a rich, character driven text, and it felt like I was there, watching – I could picture everything and everyone in my mind. It’s screaming out to be made into a film … The Courier was not my normal kind of read – it’s a historical slow burner. But it’s so beautifully written, well paced with wonderful characters and with an ending I didn’t see coming. I’m so pleased I took the opportunity to read it, and look forward to reading more by this author’

 Simply Suze Reviews

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‘The cover couldn’t be more perfect: it reflects the content of this atmospheric slow-burning novel perfectly; it truly captures its essence. Slow-burning, yes, but never dull, I’m not euphemising here. Mind, this is not an easy read, it takes concentration to keep the timelines and corresponding events sorted in your head, and the mere topic makes it rather heavy. However, it is just so beautifully written that it is well worth your time and focus! Recommended, and if historical novels make your juices flow: highly recommended!’ From Belgium with Book Love

 

Kjell talks to Shots Mag about The Courier. Shots Mag

Reviews