Extract: The Lazarus Solution

Kjell Ola Dahl – The Lazarus Solution (Blog Tour)

Published by Orenda Books, paperback £9.99, also available in ebook and coming soon in audio book. The Lazarus Solution is translated by Don Bartlett. Many thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. You can buy Kjell Ola Dahl’s books, including The Lazarus Solution, direct from the publisher: orendabooks.co.uk/authors/kjell-ola-dahl

There are many, many books set during the Second World War, but if you’re looking for ones that show a different angle, different ideas and even some different geography, you could do a lot worse than check out The Courier, The Assistant and now The Lazarus Solution by Kjell Ola Dahl (and of course you could do a lot worse than sample his Olso detectives series too!). Here’s a taster of his latest to whet the appetite:


First, the official blurb: 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 that is as horrifying as the events still to come…


The oncoming gravel road rushed towards him, bordered on either side by grassy banks and cotoneaster bushes, guelder rose shrubs and lilac trees, their blooms withering now. Gable apexes towering up to the sky revealed the presence of the detached houses concealed by this shrubbery screen. As soon as the building at the top of the hill hove into view, Kai pulled the cord, only to discover that another passenger had already rung; the bulb at the front of the bus was lit.

His seaman’s kit bag slung over his shoulder, Kai made for a flower shop next to a hairdresser’s. Inside, he inhaled the fresh scent of greenery. The female assistant picked out individual carnations from the bucket as he pointed to them. Then she wrapped the bouquet in newspaper.

Kai tucked the flowers under his arm and walked down to the railway station. On the platform two German officers were talking. They didn’t notice him as he stood waiting for the train. Kai thought about his elder brother, Atle, who would certainly have engaged them in conversation. Or, at any rate, nodded to them. Atle had always been more courteous than he was. More confident. Bolder. When Kai started school, stories were still circulating about his brother’s derring-do. At the age of ten Atle had climbed up a school drainpipe, three floors, swung himself onto the roof tiles with a clatter and run along the ridge, while down in the playground the pupils cheered and the teachers yelled at him. When Kai left school, Atle’s long-jump, high jump, 800-metres and 3,000-metres hurdles records still stood. Atle was the coach’s obvious first choice for the SlemdalBesserud stage of the Holmenkollen relay race. He bounded up the steep hills like a mountain goat and, one by one, left his competitors for dust. At home, Atle was his big brother. A helping hand he could always reach out for. A lodestar – one phase of his life.

There were still only three people on the platform when there was some air movement around the bend. The train pulled in almost without a sound. The headlamps resembled two eyes. The driver in the small cab turned the crank to slow down and the train gently kissed the buffers and drew to a halt. The doors opened with a dry click. A solitary passenger stepped out. Inside the train the conductor noisily straightened the seats. He finally emerged – the signal that the three passengers could board. Kai was the last to get on and found a seat two rows behind the officers. They were speaking German.

The sound of laughter drifted in from the platform. The conductor, who had been standing with the driver, smoking, shouted to someone further away and boarded the train. Kai bought a ticket from him, and sat staring out of the window as they started up.

Soon they passed a military camp – red flags with a black swastika inside a white circle waving in the wind. At the next stop lots of soldiers got on. They moved down the train, all with a rifle strapped to their shoulders. When they saw the two officers, they stopped, raised their arms and shouted ‘Heil Hitler.’ The officers returned the salute.

Kai exchanged glances with a woman sitting opposite him. She rolled her eyes and searched for confirmation that he had no sympathy for their guttural shouts either.


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 14 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. He lives in Oslo. You can follow the author on Twitter here: @ko_dahl

Don Bartlett lives with his family in a village in Norfolk. He completed an MA in literary translation at the University of East Anglia in 2000 and has since worked with a wide variety of Danish and Norwegian authors, including Jo Nesbø and Karl Ove Knausgaard, plus Gunnar Staalesen and Kjell Ola Dahl for Orenda Books.

Don’t forget to check out all the review on the blog tour this month!

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