Thursday teaser: The Quisling Factor

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A look at the brand new book set in postwar Norway

By J.L. Oakley

Haugland’s eyes snapped open in the dark. Cocking his head toward the direction of the sound he had thought he heard, he listened long and hard. The house was utterly still and the room deep in inky shadows.  Next to him, Anna was sound sleep on her side, her cotton nightie brushing against his bare legs. All a normal and perfectly safe feeling, but the war years had trained him to sleep lightly and something had disturbed him. Carefully, he moved away from her and slipped out of bed.

From a chair, he removed a pullover and put it on over his boxer shorts. He stood still for a moment and listened again. It was frustrating to have to check and recheck. Before his beating, his hearing had been excellent as required for an agent in the field, but now, his left ear played tricks on him. Sometimes he could almost hear normally, it seemed, but often any input was wiped out by the slightest background noise, so it was practically useless.  His instincts weren’t. His sixth sense for survival was still in high gear and it told him that something was wrong.  Near the door, he quietly reached into a drawer and took out a flashlight and his Colt.38. He opened the door to the hallway and treaded lightly onto the strip of oriental carpeting that made a path around the U-shaped bannister built around the home’s wide stairs and landing to the upper floor. On all sides there were bedrooms where guests and his sister slept. At the end of the hall on the left was his mother’s. He opened the door nearest to their room and looked in on Lisel and Nils. Both were asleep and undisturbed. 

Downstairs, Haugland went silently from room to room without using the flashlight, creeping through the large stue or living space and into the kitchen and dining room. Nothing unusual. He returned to the hall that led out to the front door and worked his way back to the study by the garden. At the French doors, there was a faint light from a new moon caressing the glass panes.  Haugland listened. He heard nothing, but his eyes caught an irregularity with the doors and going over, he discovered that they had opened and shut, but not completely. Moving as softly as smoke, he gently opened the door and looked out.

The pine forest beyond the grounds was dark and impenetrable. There was no wind, no call of night animals. He cocked his head again, straining, then heard a sound to his right. Easing back the hammer on his gun, he went forward stealthily, then stopped. A cat emerged from a bush close to the house and came out to serenade him. It was Tomsin, his mother’s cat.

Disgusted, Haugland drew back and returned to the door to the study. At the patio’s edge, he turned the flashlight on and shined it on the flagstones. There in the light’s yellow pool, he found two partial prints. Looking closer, he saw that they had been made by wet boots, probably a man’s. He straightened up and pushing the doors into the room, looked for signs inside on the wood floor, but found none. They only appeared to be outside going in.  He knelt down and looked closer for any depressions in the Oriental rug in the center of the study, but he could only see his own feet in passing. Further investigation in the hallway revealed nothing more. It was as though a ghost had come and drifted into the house, dissipating through the roof. He went back and closed the door. He was positive that something had been moving in the house, probably outside his door upstairs, but whatever it was, it was gone. 

About The Quisling Factor

Treason. Espionage. Revenge. In the aftermath of WWII, ex-intelligence agent Tore Haugland tries to adjust to life in his newly freed country with the woman he loves. But he still has to testify against a Norwegian traitor—one of the monsters of the German occupation—whom he helped to capture.

When mysterious notes threaten Haugland and his family, he must choose between protecting them or bringing to justice the man who tortured him and destroyed the village that hid him. Challenged by injuries and recurring nightmares, he will have to rely on his former training and old Resistance friends to rescue his wife from the traitor who will do anything to keep Haugland from testifying.

J.L. Oakley

has established a reputation for writing outstanding historical fiction set in the mid-19th century to the Second World War.

In 2013, she received the Bellingham Mayor’s Arts Award and the Chanticleer Grand Prize for Tree Soldier, a novel set in the Forest Service, a Depression-era program in the Pacific Northwest. In 2017, Janet won the Goethe Grand Prize for The Jøssing Affair, the 2018 Will Rogers Silver Medallion and two WILLA Silver Awards.

 Visit her on her:

And follow her on Twitter @JlOakley.

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