About The Book
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.
This wonderfully written book opens with a woman being chased through the streets of Oslo. It is a few days before Christmas, the streets are busy with shoppers and a lone female is being pursued by an unknown assailant. She runs into a Metro station, hops on a train, jumps off at the next station onto a different train and the chaser is right behind her. What happens next reverberates through the upper echelons of power, to the Oslo police and to Detective Lena Stigersand who is investigating the death of a man whose body has been pulled from Oslo Harbour. Are the two cases linked? If so, how?
The Ice Swimmer is the first book I have read in the Oslo Detective series of books but I didn’t feel lost and it can certainly be read as a stand alone novel. Ultimately though it made me want to go and read all of the others as this was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Not only is there a wonderful sense of place (Oslo is a character in itself) but the characterisation is on point. It is important when picking up a book midway through a series that the characters are immediately recognisable and Kjell Ola Dhal writes Lena et al with a deft hand.
This is a twisty tale with red-herrings and clues dropped like breadcrumbs through the snowy streets of Oslo. I had no idea where it was going, which isn’t a criticism at all, the plotting is exemplary and the twists, when they come, are neither unrealistic nor sensational. This is good old-fashioned storytelling at its best. Lena has health issues on her mind, a case she is trying to crack, a boss clipping her wings and a new boyfriend who is a jorunalist and she really should stay away from him. The power play between Lena and her superior, the Government minister and her burgeoning relationship with Steffan are cleverly and accurately written and drew me in.
Kjell Ola Dhal is known as the Godfather of Nordic Noir and after reading The Ice Swimmer I can see why. This book is wonderfully and expertly translated by Don Bartlett who also translated Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole books (which are some of my absolute favourites) and if you too liked them then you will love The Ice Swimmer. I am a little annoyed at myself for waiting so long to read a Kjell Ola Dhal novel. I love Nordic Noir and I love well-plotted books which hold my interest and The Ice Swimmer has both in spades. On the bright side I have a whole series to devour now. Excellent.
About The Author
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 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 sold over two million copies. He lives in Oslo.
I am thrilled to be one of today’s stops for the Blog Tour for The Ice Swimmer written by Kjell Ola Dhal, many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater at Random Things for inviting me onto the Tour.