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The Courier
Cover of The Courier
The Courier
Borrow Borrow

The international bestselling godfather of Nordic Noir takes on one of the most horrific periods of modern history, in a stunning standalone thriller ... NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
'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' The Times
'Cleverly braiding together past and present, the who and why of murder and betrayal are unpicked. The detail is impressive' Daily Mail
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 an exceptional, shocking thriller.
'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
'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
'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
'A fascinating, intricate, provocative read, set in motion by events in 1942, and brilliantly highlighting human need and emotions ... 'The Courier' sent a shiver coursing through me, it is a truly eloquent and rewarding tale, and oh that ending!' LoveReading
'Written with Dahl's trademark characterisation and clever plotting, The Courier sees one of Norway's most critically acclaimed authors at his best ... This stunning and compelling wartime thriller is reminiscent of the writing of John Le Carré and William Boyd' New Books Magazine
'Utterly convincing' Publishers Weekly
'Kjell Ola Dahl's novels are superb. If you haven't read one, you need to – right now' William Ryan
'More than gripping' European Literature Network
'The perfect example of why Nordic Noir has become such a popular genre' Reader's Digest
'It all comes together, of course, in the kind of masterful, detailed plotting that Dahl is known for ... the power of The Courier is how Dahl has given a complex, human face to such an inhuman tragedy' Crime Fiction Lover
'Atmospheric thriller with lots of great twists and loved the scandi wartime story in particular. Gripping will be recommending to readers' Edgy Books

The international bestselling godfather of Nordic Noir takes on one of the most horrific periods of modern history, in a stunning standalone thriller ... NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
'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' The Times
'Cleverly braiding together past and present, the who and why of murder and betrayal are unpicked. The detail is impressive' Daily Mail
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 an exceptional, shocking thriller.
'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
'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
'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
'A fascinating, intricate, provocative read, set in motion by events in 1942, and brilliantly highlighting human need and emotions ... 'The Courier' sent a shiver coursing through me, it is a truly eloquent and rewarding tale, and oh that ending!' LoveReading
'Written with Dahl's trademark characterisation and clever plotting, The Courier sees one of Norway's most critically acclaimed authors at his best ... This stunning and compelling wartime thriller is reminiscent of the writing of John Le Carré and William Boyd' New Books Magazine
'Utterly convincing' Publishers Weekly
'Kjell Ola Dahl's novels are superb. If you haven't read one, you need to – right now' William Ryan
'More than gripping' European Literature Network
'The perfect example of why Nordic Noir has become such a popular genre' Reader's Digest
'It all comes together, of course, in the kind of masterful, detailed plotting that Dahl is known for ... the power of The Courier is how Dahl has given a complex, human face to such an inhuman tragedy' Crime Fiction Lover
'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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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.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 12, 2019
    This solid mystery from Dahl (the Oslo Detectives series) centers on a murder committed during the German occupation of Norway. In 2015, elderly Turid Heggen learns of a unique bracelet about to be auctioned off. Though Turid hasn’t seen the piece in almost 50 years, she knows that it is hers, as it was one of the only items left from her mother, who was murdered when she was a small child. Flash back to 1942 Oslo, where Ester Lemkov, a Jewish girl, is working as a courier for the resistance. Esther lives through countless atrocities, including the deportation of her family members to their deaths in Auschwitz and the murder of her best friend, Turid’s mother. Never mind that most readers will easily solve the murder. What makes this such a page-turner is the confluence of events leading up to and after the crime. A dark but richly described backdrop and a relentless, underlying tension drive this sad story to its bittersweet conclusion. Fans of Nordic noir will be satisfied.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from September 15, 2019
    An heirloom bracelet offered by an Oslo auction house brings the story of a Norwegian Resistance operative's murder full circle. In 1942, Ester, a courier for the Resistance' underground newspaper, arrives at her family's jewelry shop as Gestapo officers drag her father away. Ester runs to her best friend, �se, who hides her until she is smuggled into Sweden. Three months later, Ester's boss at Stockholm's Norwegian legation asks her to hide Gerhard, a Norwegian Resistance fighter wanted by the Norwegian secret police for his wife's murder. The wife, Ester is shocked to learn, is �se. Ester is certain that the Gestapo is targeting Gerhard to cover their own tracks, and she bonds with Gerhard through their shared loss. Then Ester arrives late to a meeting and watches in horror as their meeting place is engulfed in flames, with Gerhard inside. Twenty-five years later, Gerhard suddenly reappears in Oslo, claiming he's returned to solve �se's murder and develop a relationship with their daughter. Decades of covert operations have jaded Ester, and she suspects that Gerhard's avoidance of her, plus his hostile interactions with other former operatives, point toward a hidden agenda. Craving resolution, Ester moves to unveil Gerhard's plans. Dahl deftly binds the story's alternating time periods, creating depth and mixing gut-churning tension with haunting tragedy.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

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