Kjell Ola Dahl

Dahl-Kjell-OlaOne of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl, also known professionally as K O Dahl, was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eighteen novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals-cum-psychological thrillers (The Oslo Detectives series) featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he also won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. The Courier was longlisted for the CWA International Dagger and was a number-one bestseller in ebook. His work has been published in fourteen countries, and he lives in the Norwegian countryside. Follow Kjell Ola on Twitter @ko_dahl.

K. O Dahl told Barry Forshaw (Nordic Crime: The Pocket Essential Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction, Film and TV, 2013) that ‘in the UK, my novels have been published in wrong order – something I know has happened with several of my colleagues’, and he continued adding that: ‘These three books [Lethal Investments (1993); The Fourth Man (2005) and The Man in the Window (2001)] would be my own choices from my work.’

To the best of my knowledge, his bibliography include the following crime fiction books (all English translations by Don Bartlett): Dødens investeringer (1993) English title: Lethal Investments (2011); Seksognitti (1994); Miniatyren (1996); Siste skygge av tvil (1998); En liten gyllen ring (2000) English title: The Last Fix (2009) Also available in Spanish: La muerte en una noche de verano (2006); Mannen i vinduet (2001) English title: The Man in the Window (2008) Spanish title: Un muerto en el escaparate (2008); Lille tambur (2003); Den fjerde raneren (2005) English title: The Fourth Man (2007) Spanish title: Un paso en falso (2010); Svart engel (2007); Kvinnen i plast (2010) English title: Faithless (2017); Isbaderen (2011) English title: The Ice Swimmer (2018); Kureren (2015) English Title: The Courier (2019);  Søsteren (2018) English title: Sister (2020); and Assistenten (2020) English title: The Assistant (2021).

All this is relevant because the nice people at Orenda Books have been kind enoygh to send me, among others, a copy of Kjell Ola Dahl latest book, The Assistant, and I’m most grateful for their attention. Thank you Karen!

The-Assistant-Final-cover-AW-416x6389788203268892Oslo, 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.

(Source: Orenda Books)

I look forward to reading The Assistant this weekend. Stay tuned!

Review: Lethal Investments – K O Dahl

Esta entrada es bilingue, desplazarse hacia abajo para ver la versión en catellano.

Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett. Faber & Faber, 2011. Original title: Dødens investeringer, 1993. Pages: 368. ISBN: 9780571232970.

Lethal Investments, originally published in Norway in 1993, is the fourth novel by K. O. Dahl translated into English. Though, chronologically, is the first instalment in a popular series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Gunnarstranda and his assistant Frank Frølich. The action is set in Oslo. This time our protagonist duo has to investigate the murder of Reidun Rosendal, a beautiful young woman who has appeared stabbed in her apartment. The door was open, with no signs of having been forced. But a man of age was peering through his window. And a young man who had spent the night with her becomes the prime suspect. The investigation takes an unexpected turn when both, the young man and the old voyeur, are also found murdered.

The narrative alternates the point of view of different characters, mainly that of our two protagonists Gunnarstranda and Frølich, two extremely fascinating characters. The dialog uses a very realistic and convincing language, which together with an intelligent plot, divided into short chapters, contributes to a very enjoyable and, certainly, entertaining reading. I look forward to reading the rest of the series which falls well within the most rigorous canons of good detective fiction. K. O. Dahl has been an interesting finding for me this year.

Kjell Ola Dahl was born in Norway in 1958 and lives with his wife and children in Askim, near Oslo. His debut novel Dødens investeringer (Lethal Investments, 2011) was published in Norway in 1993. The first in a popular crime series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Gunnarstranda and his assistant Frølich. The series has been published in English out of order. To my knowledge the correct order following Lethal Investments is:

  • En liten gyllen ring, 2000 (English title: The Last Fix, 2009) (Spanish title: La muerte en una noche de verano, 2006).
  • Mannen i vinduet, 2001 (English title: The Man in the Window, 2008) (Spanish title: Un muerto en el escaparate, 2008)
  • Lille Tambur, 2003 (The Little Drummer Boy)
  • Den fjerde raneren, 2005 (English title: The Fourth Man, 2007) (Spanish title: Un paso en falso, 2010)
  • Svart engel, 2007 (Dark Angel)
  • Kvinnen i plast, 2010 (The Faithful Friend)
  • Isbaderen, 2011 (The Ice Swimmer)

K.O. Dahl has been awarded The Riverton Prize (Riverton-prisen) and been nominated for The Glass Key (Glasnyckeln), The Brage Literary Prize (Brage-prisen) and The Martin Beck Award. K.O. Dahl is a Master of Arts and has studied psychology, law, and finance.

Lethal Investments has been reviewed by Maxine at Petrona, Simon Clarke, Glenn at International Noir Fiction, The Guardian, Bookgeeks,  

Faber & Faber

K O Dahl fansite (in English)

K O Dahl website (in Norwegian)

Inversiones Letales – K O Dahl

Inversiones letales, originalmente publicada en Noruega en 1993, es la cuarta novela de K. O. Dahl traducida al inglés. Aunque, cronológicamente, es la primera entrega de una popular serie protagonizada por el detective inspector jefe Gunnarstranda y su asistente Frank Frolich. La acción se sitúa en Oslo. En esta ocasión nuestro dúo protagonista tiene que investigar el asesinato de Reidun Rosendal, una mujer joven y guapa que ha aparecido apuñalado en su apartamento. La puerta estaba abierta, sin signos de haber sido forzada. Pero un hombre de edad miraba por la ventana y un joven que había pasado la noche con ella se convierte en el principal sospechoso. La investigación toma un giro insospechado cuando ambos, el joven y el viejo mirón, también son encontrados asesinados.

La narrativa alterna el punto de vista de diferentes personajes, sobre todo el de nuestros dos protagonistas Gunnarstranda y Frolich, dos personajes muy atractivos. El diálogo utiliza un lenguaje muy realista y convincente, que junto con una trama inteligente, dividida en capítulos cortos, contribuye a una muy agradable y, sin duda, entretenida lectura. Estoy deseando leer el resto de la serie que está dentro de los cánones más rigurosos de las buenas novelas de detectives. K. O. Dahl ha sido para mi un hallazgo muy interesante este año.

Kjell Ola Dahl nació en Noruega en 1958 y vive con su esposa e hijos en Askim, cerca de Oslo. Su primera novela Dødens investeringer (Inversiones letales) fue publicada en Noruega en 1993. La primera de una serie muy popular de novela negra protagonizadas por el detective inspector jefe Gunnarstranda y su ayudante Frolich. La serie tiene alguno de sus libros traducidos en castellano sin orden cronológico.

Gunnarstranda y Frank Frølich – K.O. Dahl en Mis Detectiv@s Favoritos

The Gunnarstanda-Frolich series

This post is just a reminder for my own use, but since it might be of interest to some readers, I copy and paste from Crime Scraps. Just added to my wish list Lethal Investments by K.O. Dahl, release date: 1 September 2011. I’m looking forward to reading the series in order now, thank you Norman.

The Gunnarstanda-Frolich series. Norwegian titles and publications dates [with English titles and dates in brackets] Besides the books are translated by Don Bartlett, although the publisher’s pages do not mention it.