Source: Review copy
Publication: Available now as an e-book and in paperback from 30th April 2018 from Orenda Books
The Oslo Detectives are back in another slice of gripping, dark Nordic Noir, and their new colleague has more at stake than she’s prepared to reveal…
When a dead man is lifted from the freezing waters of Oslo Harbour just before Christmas, Detective Lena Stigersand’s stressful life suddenly becomes even more complicated. Not only is she dealing with a cancer scare, a stalker and an untrustworthy boyfriend, but it seems both a politician and Norway’s security services might be involved in the murder.
With her trusted colleagues, Gunnarstranda and Frølich, at her side, Lena digs deep into the case and finds that it not only goes to the heart of the Norwegian establishment, but it might be rather to close to her personal life for comfort. Dark, complex and nail-bitingly tense, The Ice Swimmer is the latest and most unforgettable instalment in the critically acclaimed Oslo Detective series, by the godfather of Nordic Noir.
Detective Lena Stigersand is part of the team of Oslo detectives who investigate serious crimes in the city. She can more than hold her own with her colleagues, and in this book, it is Lena who is at the forefront of the investigation into the death of a man pulled from the icy waters of the harbour.
It is not long before the team realises that this is a murder enquiry and when another murder occurs shortly afterwards, it slowly becomes clear that they are related. Lena and Gunnarstranda are working different angles of the case, but as if Lena’s life were not already tough enough, it seems that her boss has got the wind up as one of the protagonists Lena has interviewed is a prominent politician and that politician doesn’t like the police interfering in her life.
Meanwhile, Lena has a health scare which she tries to put out of her mind while she is working. She has also fallen into a new relationship with a journalist, Steffen Gjerstad. Steffen had tipped off Lena’s colleague about the politician’s dinner with the dead man, but when the politician denies the meeting, Lena feels that she has been misled, though Steffen is adamant that the politician is lying. The implication is that there may well be a financial and political motive behind the crime and Lena will have to get to the heart of the case if she is to stand any chance of solving it.
She is able to establish a person of interest she wants to speak to, but when the security services warn her off and then an attack is made on her life, it feels like she is closer to the truth than she knew. In this dark and complex web of lies, who to trust becomes the critical question.
This is an excellent police procedural with a taste of the murky waters of global financial share dealings. It all makes perfect sense in today’s world where lives are expendable if money can be made and the Ice Swimmer makes it all too clear how that can happen. I love a crime book with a firm grasp on the real world and this is a fine example and a terrific read.
Kjell Ola Dahl does not over-complicate his prose and the clarity of his writing is a hallmark of this stupendous series. The Ice Swimmer can easily be read as a stand-alone book, though the series concerns the same group of Norwegian detectives.
Suspenseful, beautifully and clearly written, with a sure-footed plot, this is a book that thrills.
About Kjell Ola Dahl
One of the godfathers 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 come
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 sold over two million copies. He lives in Oslo.
You can follow Kjell Ola Dahl on @ko_dahl
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