The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl

Genre: Historical Crime
Source: Orenda Books
Rating: 5/5

About The Book

In Oslo in 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In great haste, she escapes to
Sweden whilst the rest of her family 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, Ester ’s childhood best friend. A relationship develops between them, but 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 Turid. 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 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.

My Thoughts

This is a complex story, told between three times; with softness and expertise the author Kjell Ola Dahl will tell us a story (maybe not so far from reality) that will move and shock any reader.
The story starts in the present, with a beautiful piece of bracelet that has a tragic past behind; murder, lies and betrayal; all of them connected to the second War and Ester; a Jew courier that survived the war but lose her best friend in a horrendous crime.
Ester’s story is not easy to digest, she was betrayed the same day her father was detained, she doesn’t know who to trust or where to go, so she asks for help to her childhood best friend Åse. 25 years later, Gerhard Falkum, a war hero, wants vengeance for the death of her wife Åse. The return of Gerhard Falkum will make Ester to remember some horrible memories of her escape and family, but at the same time will prompt her to want to discover the truth, who betrayed her and her family.
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.

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 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.