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.
‘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
‘A masterclass in plotting, atmosphere and character that finely balances shocking twists with the coppers’ complicated personal lives.’
Sunday Times Crime Club
‘If you have never sampled Dahl, now is the time to try’ Daily Mail
‘…action comes to a climax in an utterly convincing chase through Oslo’s sewage system’ Sunday Times
‘Dark, stylish and suspenseful, Faithless is the perfect example of why Nordic Noir has become such a popular genre.’ Reader’s Digest
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
I would like to thank the author, blog tour organiser and publisher for the ARC in return for an honest review.
The Courier is an absolutely stunning historical thriller, finely plotted, complex and thought provoking.
The story swings back and forth three different time periods, which I loved, because I’ve always been a fan of this type of narrative. Some writers get it wrong, not Kjell Ola Dohl who pitches it perfectly, giving the story oodles of danger, believable characters and a dynamic but evocative storyline. Whether it’s during the war, 1967 or 2015, the story flows seamlessly between the periods, taking me the reader back in time and immersing me is the story. Truly it felt like you were there, caught up in the mystery surrounding Gerhard Falkum’s apparent return from the dead, because the atmosphere is so commanding, that I felt I took every step with Ester herself. As she walked forward into the unknown, my stomach muscled clenched and my shoulders hunched up, as I felt danger all around. It really was, that exhilarating to read.
As well as this 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! From Ester to Falkum and Severe, you never really know who is the hero of this novel and who is the scheming Machiavellian. Each is imbued with such convincing characteristics that you lurch from thinking them vengeful to believing them heroic and then seeing them as passionate hero’s, but possibly guilt ridden conspirators. But which are which, well to find that out you’ll have to read the book, but I promise it is worth it. 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.
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 eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers (Oslo Detectives series) 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. Follow Kjell Ola on Twitter @ko_dahl.