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Mercy (Afdeling Q #1)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  28,171 ratings  ·  2,662 reviews
'A must-read for every Scandinavian crime fiction fan' Hannoversche Allgemeine

At first the prisoner scratches at the walls until her fingers bleed. But there is no escaping the room. With no way of measuring time, her days, weeks, months go unrecorded. She vows not to go mad. She will not give her captors the satisfaction. She will die first.


Copenhagen detective Carl Mo
Paperback, 506 pages
Published May 2nd 2011 by Penguin (first published 2007)
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Imagine if the brooding detective Kurt Wallander from the Henning Mankell series accidentally wandered into the plot of a Stieg Larsson novel and you’d have a pretty good idea of what this book is like. Unfortunately, we don’t get a new Salander, but we do get a pretty interesting and flawed character in Carl Morck.

Morck is a Danish police detective who survived being shot in the head during an attack that left another detective dead and one paralyzed. While Morck has returned to duty, he’s so
Jeffrey Keeten
”She’d been lying on the floor thinking about books. That was something she often did in order not to think about the life she might have had if only she’d made different choices. When she thought about books, she could move into a whole different world. Just remembering the feeling of the dry surface and inexplicable roughness of the paper could ignite a blaze of yearning inside of her. The scent of evaporated cellulose and printer’s ink. Thousands of times now she’d sent her thoughts into her ...more
Sherry Roberts
So Stieg Larson has drawn me into the world of Scandinavian sleuths. Jussi Adler-Olsen has created a wonderfully weird detective in Carl Morck, who is so damaged mentally that the Copenhagen police department has deep-sixed him in the one-man investigative unit, Department Q. His job is to thaw out cold cases. And he does it brilliantly with the help of a fascinating sidekick, Assad, a Syrian immigrant with a suitcase of mysterious skills. Together they find out what ever happened to a popular p ...more
Who is he really?

What’s in the Scandinavian Water? There are so many good mysteries appearing by Scandinavian writers recently. Why are they just now being translated into English? I don’t think I’ve run into a better detective duo than Carl, a policeman of many years experience, and his sidekick Assad, who he supposedly hired to clean the office. Assad says he’s an emigrant from Syria where he used to be a taxi driver but he seems to have skills that not many cabbies could claim. He’s able to g
This one was an unexpectedly fabulous read. I went into it thinking it'd be just one more moody, scandinavian mystery. And it was to some extent. But it was also a suspenseful, sometimes dryly funny effort. And Carl Morck as protagonist was highly appealing.

Carl is a detective with the Copenhagen police. He's returned to work after a shooting that left his partner paralyzed and another colleague dead. Where once he was a hard-charging investigator, now he is having a hard time caring about anyth
Jul 19, 2012 Ed rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Nordic thrillers/mysteries
This longish Nordic thriller/mystery delivers a very satisfying read, for the most part. I sometimes wondered if the translation to English added more words. The lead character is the world-weary but brilliant detective Carl Morck who gets relegated to a basement office (Department Q) where he's given one offbeat assistant, Assad. The funny and personable interactions between Carl and Assad are the most interesting parts of the cop narrative. The main plot of the top Danish government official's ...more
Roderick Hart
This is a crime novel so in this review I have tried not to spoil things for anyone who goes on to read it. It was written in Danish and translated by Tiina Nunally. The translation reads very well. It seems from the inside cover that it may be the first of three, much like the Millenium series, with the second and third volumes due to appear in 2012 and 2013.

Our ‘hero’ is Carl Mørck, a detective who appears to be burned out. Given that one of his colleagues was killed and another left paralysed
Nicola Mansfield
eason for Reading: The plot just screamed "read me!" and I'm a fan of Scandi Crime.

Outstanding! The first chapter had me hooked on the case and the second chapter had me fascinated with the main character, Copenhagen detective Carl Morck. Usually I'm into the serial killer type of crimes but this case involves a kidnapping/missing persons case that is incredibly taut and gripping. Carl Morck has just come back to work after being in a shoot-out where he was injured and each of his two partners w
Jussi Adler-Olsen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1950. Known for his 3 stand-alones (The alphabet House, The Company Basher, and Washington Decree and the famous Department Q novels his popularity in Denmark has finally migrated over to the U.S.

All Department Q novels are set in Denmark and reveal the writings of an author intensely interested in criticizing politics while simultaenously being agnostic to parties in general. Not that this is any great revelation as for the most part politi
I'm really sorry, it just was not that good. People calling this the next "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" are wrong in a myriad of ways.

First, the writing is just not good. The dialogue is stilted at best and, at times, completely ridiculous. I actually laughed at some of the things the characters said. And they were not supposed to be funny. I don't know how much of this is attributable to the translation, but it needs work. A lot of it.

Second, the protagonist is an asshole. And not a likeable as
Feb 23, 2013 Jeff marked it as books-i-didn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
Hey look! Another gruff male detective with a "crazy" ex. I wonder if he's experienced some prior trauma in the line of duty. Oh, he has. I wonder if he's an outcast in his department? Oh, he is. I wonder if he flouts protocol and pushes boundaries? Oh, he does. I wonder if all the female characters are repeatedly defined by their physical appearance or presumed sexuality. Oh, they are. Fantastic! Now I've got something I can recommend to readers who are interested in cliches, sexism and misogyn ...more
I often get worried when I pick up this Scandinavian crime novel but I recently read The Dinner and I thought I might try another Dutch author; turns out this was a Danish novel. Mercy is the first book in the series by Jussi Adler-Olsen which has been marketed for people that enjoy the show The Killing as well as Scandinavian Crime. I love this show so I wanted to give this book ago; well actually I picked up Disgrace and realised it was book two in the series so I thought I better read them in ...more
Cora Tea Party Princess

5 Words: Brutal, slow, intense, horrific, blah.

I didn't enjoy this at all to start. I wasn't so keen on the narrator and I wasn't keen at all on Carl. But then we were introduced to Merete and I couldn't put it down.

But my, is it a long listen.

I didn't like Carl and the way he consistently objectified women and belittled them for not falling at his feet. It actually made me feel sick and is absolutely NOT what I want from a main protagonist.

The scenes with Merete were pretty brutal. I l
switterbug (Betsey)
This book had been gathering dust on my shelf since it was published. I was persuaded to read it now because the follow-up book, THE ABSENT ONE, is set for release in a few months. What a sleeper of a nightmare of a dream of a book! I started it one day and finished it the next. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, and haven't had this much skin-prickling enjoyment/engagement with a police procedural/suspense thriller since Tana French's books. You don't have to typically like this "genre" bec ...more
Sam Woodfield
I have just reviewed this novel for a major UK book seller.

This novel took me a little while to get into, and at first I was a little worried about where this novel would go. However, this novel is proof that first impressions can be deceptive as this novel grows and grows into an absolute dazzler.

Alder-Olsen has created a fabulous first novel in Mercy. The characters of Carl and Assad are beautifully created so that they grow and grow throughout the novel, but there is still plenty of growing t
The Keeper of Lost Causes is the first in a new series by Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen. It belongs to a genre that I was calling Scandinavian thrillers but have recently heard described as "Nordic Noir." I can't imagine a more perfect label for this work (and works by other favorite authors of mine such as Jo Nesboe, Karin Fossum, Arnaldur Indriðason, Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, and Henning Mankell).

Carl Mork is a detective who has been on leave since he and his partners were attacked while i
A flawed investigator aided by an instinctive assistant opens a cold case of a victim with a complicated past...sounds like Stieg Larsson's "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo". And for fans, the comparisons continue beyond the skeleton of the mega-seller. Jussi Adler-Olsen's, THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES is a layered, suspenseful read that will introduce another winner of the Scandinavian Glass Key Award of Crime Writers to American readers.

The first installment of the Department Q series introduces Carl
Nancy Oakes
Keeper of Lost Causes is another entry, this time from Denmark, in the realm of Scandinavian crime fiction, and it's the characters that make this book work and work well. The mystery is good, and will keep you turning pages, but unlike some other novels from this region, there are actually parts that will make you laugh or at least chuckle. It's a very good novel, one I definitely recommend.

As is the case in many novels from Scandinavia, politics once again interferes with how the police do th
May 21, 2013 Eric rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of detective stories
Recommended to Eric by: Evan Marrow
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. The premise was interesting enough -- Carl Mørck, a brilliant but depressed curmudgeon of a detective, and Assad, his mysterious but ever-helpful assistant, open Department Q, a cold case department, due to bureaucratic pressure, and Mørck begrudgingly starts investigating a case to justify having his job. The characters of Mørck and Assad and the interplay between the two were the highlights of the book, as the characters were fully fleshed o ...more
Paulo Pires

« Após um fatídico episódio em que um colega foi morto e outro ficou paralisado, Carl Morck é um detective profundamente marcado, carregando um pesado sentimento de culpa, entregou-se à apatia e não ostenta grandes ambições. No regresso ao trabalho, apenas quer manter uma presença marginal e deixar passar os dias.

Quando lhe é oferecido a possibilidade de ficar responsável por um novo departamento, o Departamento Q, na cave, que visa a análise e investigação de "cold cases", casos que por uma

Es ist heutzutage kaum möglich eine größere Buchhandlung zu betreten ohne im Eingangsbereich über eine gestapelte Skyline aus Jussi Adler Olsen Büchern zu stolpern. Die Krimi-Türstopper verkaufen sich wie Bier auf dem Schützenfest.

Dass hat sicherlich auch damit zu tun, dass die Marketing-Abteilung die Romane ”Erbarmen”, “Schändung”, “Erlösung” usw. betitelt hat, um möglichst viel Kapital aus dem Stieg Larsson Hype zu schlagen. Aber da falle ich doch nicht drauf rein.

Tja, scheinbar bin auch ich
Cátia Santos
Na realidade, 3,5*! E porquê? Porque desde o início que desconfiei dos motivos para o desaparecimento da vítima, Merete Lynggaard, o que se veio a confirmar. Assim, o livro fica um pouco a perder pela sua previsibilidade.

No entanto, é mais uma série nórdica a seguir! A dupla de investigadores é fantástica! O inspetor mal-amado Carl Morck e o inesperado e surpreendente Assad são personagens muito fortes e que encaixam na perfeição. Proporcionam momentos muito agradáveis, com humor à mistura.

What a surprisingly excellent mystery and story. I've had it on my bookshelf for awhile and am so glad that I finally pulled it down to read. The mystery, the cold case involving the disappearance of Merete, was different from any I've read before. The main characters, Carl Morck, head of new Division Q and his assistant, Assad, were so well crafted. Carl is a police detective just coming back to work after he and his two partners were ambushed, one killed, one a cripple still in hospital and Ca ...more
Rob Kitchin
I picked up this book as I was travelling to Denmark and wanted to read some Danish fiction whilst there. I'm glad I did. The real strengths of Mercy are the plotting and characterisation. Adler-Olsen runs two parallel timelines, 2002 and 2007, with the former converging on the latter. As a device it works well as it enables tension in the narrative from the start, counter-posed by the lethargy and slow pace of Carl Mørck re-finding his feet after being pushed sideways to start a new department. ...more
Lori Henrich
I was pleasantly surprised by this book.

Carl wasn't the kind of police officer that you would think of when you think of exemplary. He had his troubles. Most recent was the loss of one partner and the incapacitation of another.

The government decided to make a special division for cases that haven't been solved and in need of some special attention. Carl's boss figures that he is the perfect person for the job. It will keep him out of the way, and the money budgeted can be spread out and used el
PROTAGONIST: Carl Morck, homicide detective
SETTING: Copenhagen, Denmark

Normally when a police officer is wounded in the line of duty, he returns to his job determined to bring the perpetrator to justice. That’s not the case for Carl Morck, who comes back to the Copenhagen Police Department after three months of sick leave and is shirking all of his responsibilities. It would seem that he would be anxious to set out to find the person who shot him, killed one of his teammates
Jun 11, 2013 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of thrillers/suspense
Recommended to Katy by: Vine
Please Note: I read and reviewed this book in September, 2011 from a copy received from Amazon Vine.

My Thoughts and synopsis: Olsen is Denmark’s #1 crime writer, and this book – the first to be released in America, and the first in the Department Q series – makes it quite evident why. His writing style flows smoothly, keeping the pace of the story moving along while providing back story and strong characterization. His main character, Carl, the head of Department Q, is an acerbic and difficult m
A great mystery novel – Scandinavian or otherwise – must be more than just an intriguing page-turning mystery. It must have a strong sense of place with angst-driven characters capable of introspection and depth. The dialogue must be credible and plausible and the denouement must be believable yet powerful.

So by these criteria, does Keeper of Lost Causes succeed? My answer is both yes. And no.

Danish stateswoman Merete Lynggaard vanishes under mysterious circumstances on a ferry after receiving a
Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark's premier crime writer. His books routinely top the bestseller lists in northern Europe, and he's won several Nordic crime-writing awards, including the Glass Key Award-also won by Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson, and Jo Nesbo. His first novels in the crime-thriller series about Department Q in 2007. His latest book, Journal 64, was published in 2010. So far, Adler-Olsen's novels have been sold in 25 countries.

The Keeper of Lost Causes is the first installment of Adle
A great book!
Wonderful exciting, unpredictable, amazing, good end despite 'the happy ending'-idea.

I have read it with great pleasure. Was seized by the grumpy sergeant Mork and how he, with an awful lot of reluctance, starts to solve a cold case. He also has an assistant, Assad and a stranger combination than these two is hardly thinkable (to me). But they do it anyway: a combination of perseverance, persistent questioning where others stop, the ability to see past the lenght of their noses and
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Danske Læsere / D...: * December 2014: Krimi/Spænding: Kvinden i Buret af Jussi Adler-Olsen 8 19 Jan 07, 2015 02:16PM  
Goodreads Librari...: How to combine? 6 27 Oct 20, 2014 03:57PM  
Danske Læsere / D...: Juni 2014: Krimi/spænding : Kvinden i buret af Jussi Adler-Olsen 6 25 Jul 13, 2014 02:18PM  
Film Trailer 10 117 Mar 11, 2014 08:08PM  
Mysteries & C...: Jussi Adler-Olsen 15 46 Sep 24, 2013 08:18AM  
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Author Jussi Adler-Olsen (b. 1950) began in the 1990s to write novels after having followed a comprehensive career as publisher, editor, film composer for the Valhalla-cartoon and as bookseller.
He made his debut with the thriller “Alfabethuset” (1997), which reached bestseller status both in Denmark and internationally just like his subsequent novels “And She Thanked the Gods” (prev. “The Company
More about Jussi Adler-Olsen...

Other Books in the Series

Afdeling Q (6 books)
  • The Absent One (Department Q, #2)
  • Flaskepost fra P (Afdeling Q, #3)
  • Journal 64 (Afdeling Q, #4)
  • Marco effekten (Afdeling Q, #5)
  • Den grænseløse (Afdeling Q, #6)
The Absent One (Department Q, #2) Flaskepost fra P (Afdeling Q, #3) Journal 64 (Afdeling Q, #4) Marco effekten (Afdeling Q, #5) The Alphabet House

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“But promises based on ignorance always prove disappointing.” 3 likes
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