Hello, Book Dragons! How are you all doing? I had a lovely holiday, very much deserved I should add because I was fatigued and always grumpy. Today back to work and all I want is to stay home and read books. 😀 So, today I would like to welcome you all on my stop of the Blog Tour for The Assistant By Kjell Ola Dahl and I would like to share an extract from the book, with all of you. Thank you very much to Anne from Random Things Tours for the invitation. Please do show some love to all the wonderful book bloggers on this blog tour by following and sharing their work. 🙂
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Political Thriller
Release date: 13 05 2021
Price*: Kindle £3.79 (GBP)/ Paperback £7.37 (GBP)
Kindle $7.99 (USD)/ Paperback $15.95 (USD)
Pages: ~ 276
You can get this book here:
Description of the book: 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.
Extract: OSLO, 1938
Meltwater runs down the gutter and gathers in a pool, which the wheels of a passing car shower over the pavement, forcing a pedestrian to jump back against the wall, narrowly avoiding the spray. Some also falls on a little boy sitting on the rubbish bin outside the patisserie, but he doesn’t react, he just sits there with his eyes closed and the spring sun on his face. The man who saved himself from a drenching may have been tempted by the cakes in the window, because he turns, opens the door and goes in.
Ludvig Paaske watches the scene from his office window on the third floor of a building called Majorstuhuset. Paaske has to smile at the boy enjoying the warmth of the sun, indifferent to the traffic, the busy adults scuttling up and down the pavement, or indeed the world in general. He takes his pipe from his waistcoat pocket, turns away from the window, sits down at a desk and opens a tin of Capstan. An open newspaper lies on the writing pad, beside a photograph of his daughter, Edna, on the day of her confirmation.
He tamps tobacco into the bowl with his index finger as he finishes the newspaper article, in which the head of the crime division comments on the sentencing of a man who abducted, abused and killed a young girl. Paaske knows nothing about the case, but he does know Reidar Sveen, the crime boss, and finds himself wondering whether he misses life in the police station. Poor girl: first abducted, then abused and killed. Paaske thinks about how terrified she must have been. He looks across at the photograph of Edna and muses that we never stop worrying about our children, even when they are adults.
As he is about to strike a match and light his pipe, there is a knock at the door. A woman of around thirty is standing in the doorway, obviously unsure of herself.
‘Come in,’ Paaske says, getting up and moving towards her.
The woman closes the door after her, takes off her coat and folds it over her arm. Paaske offers to take it from her, but she waves him aside.
Her mouth is heart-shaped, with full lips, her nose sharp, without dominating her face, and her complexion clear and white. He catches a glint in her eyes, from under the small veil attached to a hat the size of an ashtray.
‘Vera Gruber,’ she says, shaking his outstretched hand.
With his pipe, he indicates that she should take a seat.
She lays her coat over the back of the chair. Her dress is simple, with a belt that accentuates her narrow waist and full bosom. The hat, dress, gloves and shoes are all the same lilac colour. The heels emphasise her willowy back. When she sits down, she pulls off her kid gloves and folds her hands in her lap. She has a plain wedding ring on one hand and a ring with a precious stone on the other. The woman, who now looks up at Paaske, is wreathed in the scent of fresh flowers, and the aura of discreet wealth.
Paaske takes a sheet of paper from the desk drawer, chooses a pencil from the holder and checks that it is sharp enough to take notes. ‘And what can I do for you, fru Gruber?’
‘What kind of…?’ She tries to find the right word, displaying the same initial nervousness as so many of his clients; ‘…jobs do you take on?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘What I am about to ask concerns my private life.’
‘Many of our jobs are to do with people’s private lives, fru Gruber. In fact, most of them are.’
The woman looks down again. Still groping for the right words. ‘What I mean is that I need to know that you can show the utmost discretion.’
‘Discretion is a matter of honour, my good lady.’
‘This concerns my husband.’
About the author: Kjell Ola Dahl was born in the city Gjovik, in Norway in 1958, but grew up in Oslo. Dahl was a teacher and social adviser in High school when he started to write the Oslo Detectives series. Two times Dahl has won the Riverton-prize, the Norwegian National prize for the best novel of crime fiction (in 2000 and in 2015). He won the prestigious Brage-prize for the Courier, a standalone novel of crime fiction set in Norway and Sweden during World War II and in 1967. The first book in the series of the Oslo Detectives – Lethal investments – was published in in Norway 1993. Dahl lives on the farm Torgunrud in Feiring, by the lake Mjosa.
Website: kjelloladahl.no / Twitter: @ko_dahl
*-the price was taken from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com on the current date. The price might change at the time of your purchase. The links used in this post for book purchases are affiliates.