blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Lazarus Solution – Kjell Ola Dahl, translated by Don Bartlett

Daniel Berkåk works as a courier for the Press and Military Office in Stockholm. On his last cross-border mission to Norway, he carries a rucksack full of coded documents and newspapers, but before he has a chance to deliver anything he is shot and killed and the contents of his rucksack are missing.

The Norwegian government, currently exiled in London, wants to know what happened, and the job goes to writer Jomar Kraby, whose first suspect is a Norwegian refugee living in Sweden, whose past is as horrifying as the events still to come…

Both classic crime and a stunning expose of Norwegian agents in Stockholm during the Second World War, The Lazarus Solution is a compulsive, complex, richly authentic historical thriller from one of the godfathers of Nordic Noir.

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 fourteen 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.

My thoughts: oh this is clever, sending you all over Sweden and occupied Norway, looking for a killer, a conspiracy, when actually it’s something else entirely. Nobody seems to be able to explain, people are double crossing every way, and somehow writer Jomar Kraby, who’s very good at pretending to be a bit thick, must solve it to satisfy the government in exile, and more importantly himself.

Even when he’s told to stop digging, he doesn’t, even when the Germans are on his heels, he keeps going. He wants answers and he’s not satisfied with only knowing a little. He wants the whole lot.

Dragging along behind him is the man he suspects killed Daniel Berkåk, brother to another man who is linked to this whole mess. Soldier, sailor, internment camp inmate, Kai Fredly claims to want to go to the UK and join the Norwegian army, but hasn’t left Stockholm and has some interesting acquaintances. Sucked into a conspiracy, not exactly connected to the one Kraby’s chasing, he’s afraid to leave and recruited by both sides, he’s stuck.

As the plot winds it’s way through the Venice of the North, through bars and restaurants, homes for refugees, the offices of the Norwegian delegation, apartments and parks, taking in more and more people for Kraby to wonder about, it slowly reveals who the players are and the game they’re all in. Oh, and the reason it’s called The Lazarus Solution…well maybe Kraby has the answer to that too. Deliciously ingenious and thoroughly enjoyable, a spy thriller that hooks you in and definitely not just another WW2 read.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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