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The Absent One

(Afdeling Q #2)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  37,424 ratings  ·  2,354 reviews
In "The Keeper of Lost Causes," Jussi Adler-Olsen introduced Detective Carl Mørck, a deeply flawed but brilliant detective newly assigned to run Department Q, the home of Copenhagen’s coldest cases.

The result wasn’t what Mørck—or readers—expected, but by the opening of Adler-Olsen’s shocking, fast-paced follow-up, Mørck is satisfied with the notion of picking up long-cold
Hardcover, 406 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Dutton Books (first published May 28th 2008)
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Ali Flemming hi - I recently enjoyed - I'm Traveling Alone by Samuel Bjork…morehi - I recently enjoyed - I'm Traveling Alone by Samuel Bjork(less)
Joshua Booher I have only read the first two books. So, this is a partial answer. There is a small (to date) story arc through the first two books. In addition, the…moreI have only read the first two books. So, this is a partial answer. There is a small (to date) story arc through the first two books. In addition, the characters' relationships build through the first two books. So, it is my opinion that you would want to read the books in order.(less)

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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  37,424 ratings  ·  2,354 reviews

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(B+) 76% | Good
Notes: What's "absent" here is mystery. The investigation only matters inasmuch as it reveals backstory and clarifies motive.
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
i'm so glad this series getting better and better 🙆🏻💜💜’ ...more
Apr 22, 2015 rated it liked it

3.5 stars

In this second book in the 'Department Q' series, Detective Morck investigates a double murder in a boarding school two decades ago. The book can be read as a standalone.

Boarding School

(FYI: The book was adapted into a movie. The illustrations are from the film.)

Movie Poster


Detective Carl Morck's 'Department Q' in Copenhagen, Denmark - which investigates cold cases - has a new task. Two boarding school students, a brother and sister, were killed twenty years ago and a clique of
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another really good book in what I can see is going to be an excellent series.

Maybe The Absent One was not quite as good as The Keeper of Lost Causes but it was still an exciting and entertaining read. Carl was as snarky as ever and Assad was just as strange and mysterious. Something big must be going to happen with him in a future book.

The plot was maybe just a little over the top but it was still gripping and at times I could not imagine how it was going to end. The answer was very satisfactor
Jennifer Thomson
I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to the second offering by this author. Sadly, Disgrace was a major disappointment and I couldn't even finish it. In fact, I was so disappointed that I did something I've never done before and asked for a refund.

I had three problems with the book. 1. There wasn't enough of Assad, the brilliantly drawn assistant of Carl Morck. For me, it was Assad who was the stand out character in the first book. In this book, he wasn't used enough.

2. The characte

Re-visit Winter 2015 - Film Only

Translated by K E Semmel

Dedicated to the three Graces and iron ladies: Anne, Lene and Charlotte.

Opening: When she ventured down the pedestrian street called Strøget, she was poised as if on the edge of a knife. With her face half covered by a dirty shawl, she slipped passed well-lit shop windows, alert eyes scanning the street.

M has just cracked open #3 in this series as swedish audio file.

FYI - have discovered this is not a series where you can jump in at any po
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Book Review:

Note: this is not a who-dun-it (we know the "Who" of it from the get go). So, if the lack of this doesn't hit your sweet spot, it might not appeal.

The Absent One is Adler-Olsen's nod towards psychiatry (sociopathy), youth gangs, and his ever-present criticism of just about everything: a judgment that comes across as a razor blade deftly plunged into the soft flesh of Danish politics and wealth.

"In tiny Denmark the system was so ingenious that if you knew dirt about somebody, they al
Kylie H
This is the second book (also know as The Absent One)in the Department Q series set in Denmark. Once again Carl Mørck and his quirky assistant Assad are on the trail of an apparent cold case. There are some terribly gruesome crimes and abuses described in this book, but it is told with such humanity and humour it is quite well balanced out.
The thing that really surprises me about this author is that he is not as well known or popular as Stieg Larsson. This series really is so terribly good! If
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
When I finally gave in to the "Dragon Tattoo Nordic" wave (and no, I still haven't read that series), I started with Adler-Olsen's chilling "The Keeper of Lost Causes." It was diabolically excellent, and although it didn't launch me into Nordic Frenzy, I couldn't wait for the next Department Q installment.

This is the second in what I feel certain is going to be a long relationship -- "The Absent One" was diabolical in a whole 'nother way. As concentrated as the evil was in "The Keeper of Lost Ca
Lukasz Pruski
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
A disappointment! I liked Jussi Adler-Olsen's "Keeper of the Lost Causes" quite a lot. "The Absent One" is definitely not in the same class. Carl Morcks's character is still interesting, but the characterizations of two other protagonists, Assad and Rosa, are just caricatures.

"The Absent One" could have been a great revenge story, yet it veered into a totally unbelievable territory. Would you believe rich industrialists and fashion celebrities to be mass murderers? No, I guess not. But the book
Apr 23, 2015 rated it liked it
This second book in the series held my interest, but I don't think it was as good as the first. Typical?

There was a higher level of cruelty and depravity in this book. I like Carl, Assad, and the addition of Rose. I had hoped to learn more about Assad, but not from this book. I'm curious to see where the next books go with these characters.
Started off a bit slow but after that gripping to the end.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent second book in this series by Danish writer Jussi Adler-Olsen.

When Detective Carl Mørck is assigned to head Department Q - in charge of cold cases - it's seen as a way to keep him out of the way - and keep him busy, maybe. The fact that Carl takes the job seriously is surprising to his superiors, but his successful first case - Book #1, the Keeper of Lost Causes - establishes Carl's reputation. (Almost to his own surprise.) In this second book, Carl does an even better job, determined
Ken Fredette
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really like the story line a lot. I could see this happening. Jussi made Assad seem real in this story, giving people a hard time and then in the end he was so human. It's a good story for you to sink your teeth into. Not for the lite hearted. ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
What could be worse than a murder club of rich adult psychopaths? Answer: a murder gang of 14-year-old psychopaths...

Department Q, the department of cold cases, is semi-famous now because of the publicity around junior Superintendent Carl Mørck's previous case, The Keeper of Lost Causes. However, the positive press has not sweetened Carl's morose personality or expectations. He is well aware the brass are supportive only as long he doesn't make them look bad, even if corruption must be swept un
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Here we return to the world of The Keeper of Lost Causes with Mørck and Assad investigating the 20 year old murder of two siblings. This is a fairly dark and disturbing book and is not for the faint of heart. We have a group of entitled prep school kids who commit violent physical and sexual assaults throughout the entirety of the book. There's one girl that's involved with them and we spend most of the book trying to figure out just what the hell is wrong with her. The answer, when we get it, i ...more
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars. I am loving this series. This is the second book in the author's Department Q series. It features Carl Morck who has been put in charge of Department Q, a department of one, with a stack of Copenhagen’s coldest cases to review.
In the first book he is given an assistant, Assad, who brings levity to the book. In this second installment he has been given a second assistant, Rose, who is equally entertaining. It's a dark story but engrossing and entertaining all the same. I loved the grea
Violence in the book isn’t graphic which is as well as some of the scenes are indeed brutal & others would be quite disturbing if played out blow by blow I think. There is indeed a noir theme throughout the book with respect to (all) the perpetrators who are right nasty pieces of work. You find out early on who has done what & so its more a case of will they get caught? Or will something else befall them..... its a very good story & really enjoyed it.
Enjoying the series, but did like the 1st better.
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately, I didn't find this one nearly as engrossing as the first book in this series. As a matter of preference, I tend to prefer books where the culprit isn't revealed until the very end (as opposed to ones where the reader knows from the start who the villain is, and the story is all about the detective finding the proof) -- so that was one disappointment with this book. A worse disappointment was the story of the crimes -- bored, sadistic rich people hurting people just for the rush -- ...more
Dec 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
This is my first book by Jussi Adler-Olsen and I believe that I will read another book by this author one day.

The beginning of this story is rather slow and I had some trouble with getting into it. I couldn’t truly involved into the plot. But after a while I really enjoyed the whole thing.

The plot is very good. Even though we know from the beginning who are the killers, there are so many other questions and twists in plot that once you get into the story, you can’t stop reading it. The whole ide
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Danes (and Swedes and Finns and Norwegians) write great detective novels. The detectives are always intense, conflicted, troubled, real. In this case, the detective Carl Morck and his Dept Q are also quite humorous. Assistants Assad and Rose are complements to Morck's darkness. Morck himself is a one-man Greek Chorus whose comments, both internal and explicitly verbal, made me laugh out loud more than once.
But the mystery itself is gruesome. It's one of those where the guilty parties are kno
Marty Fried
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Almost 5 stars - I enjoyed this audiobook very much, and liked the narrator much better than the first one of the series.

This series is a pretty dark police mystery, starting off with a person being hunted by a group of people with various deadly weapons. Like the first one, we don't really know who it is, or the context until late in the book, but I guess it's done that way to let you know right away that there will be violence. And there is. Along with a large number of psychotics from all wal
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book in the Station Q mysteries, set in Denmark, was a pleasant surprise last year. I was worried about the sophomore jinx with this second book, but I needn't have been. The story was different and excellent. Detective Inspector Morck is such an interesting character, intelligent, troubled, thoughtful and funny. His assistant, Assad, is a wily, hard working character and I still want to find out more about him. Added to the mix in this second story is Rose, an unwanted assistant thrus ...more
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I guess the follow-up to any successful first novel is doomed to receive some criticism. Mercy was without doubt a cracking debut and worthy of praise. Disgrace reflects the lives of a specialist Police unit looking into cold cases Department Q headed up by our main detective Carl Morck. Morck has lots of issues that are agitated in this second outing and we learn more; he gains a new assistant in Rose and his sidekick continues to to struggle with the language and add a comic twist to some of t ...more
Lewis Weinstein
Apr 13, 2015 rated it liked it
This book had its good points but also weaknesses. The criminals were among the most odious of characters and I got tired of reading about their disgusting behavior. Which brings me to the major flaw. IMO, too much of the book is written from the POV of the bad guys. The better parts have to do with tracking them down and even more with the interactions between the lead detective and his most unusual assistants, which showed consistent intelligence and humor, as well as the difficulties of deali ...more
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
This was quite a disappointment after the first book. The writing/translating was clunky, and there was no mystery to solve. The bad guys were really, really bad, and the good guy (girl) wasn't very good. Assad wasn't funny, and neither was Carl. So much of the plot was so absurdly unbelievable, and a lot of the cruelty felt gratuitous and repetitive. There were also too many extra characters, and I refused to believe that someone like Rose could work in a professional setting (don't you at leas ...more
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I came across this in the airport. It was advertised as something for fans of ”The Killing” and the cover portrays a Sarah Lund lookalike. I thought some crime/detective thriller along the lines of the Millennium series was just what I needed: non-demanding yet engrossing. I didn't realize it was the 2nd book in a series until it was too late, so admittedly, perhaps I missed some crucial character development that would make ”Disgrace” more enjoyable. I disliked the cartoony, manichean villains ...more
The Shadow of Martin Beck -- Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo's Decalogue of Martin Beck novels loom large over all the Scandinavian crime fiction that has followed them.

Even if some authors have managed greater fame than their forebears, like Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell and Jussi Adler-Olsen, it is tough to escape what Sjowall and Wahloo embedded in the foundations of Scandi-noir. To be fair, none of the Scandinavian authors I've read have even tried to escape the elements that they embedded, ye
Rob Kitchin
Disgrace is a fairly straightforward police procedural thriller that slowly builds to a suspenseful climax. The strengths of the book are the characterisation, pacing, and page-turning prose. Carl Morck, Assad his Syrian colleague, and Rose his new administrator, are all well constructed characters whose prejudices and personalities lead to some entertaining exchanges. Where the book has some serious problems, depending on how much you want to suspend your sense of realism, is the plot. I’m will ...more
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Department Q 7 27 Jul 24, 2021 03:13PM  
Play Book Tag: The Absent One by Jussi Adler-Olsen 3 stars 4 14 May 18, 2019 07:46AM  
Thriller fans: Extra maandboek - de Fazantenmoordenaars 15 20 Feb 22, 2019 11:22AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: The Absent One 1 6 Nov 07, 2012 07:11PM  

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Jussi Adler-Olsen is a Danish author who began to write novels in the 1990s after a comprehensive career as publisher, editor, film composer for the Valhalla cartoon and as a 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 Basher”)

Other books in the series

Afdeling Q (8 books)
  • The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q, #1)
  • Flaskepost fra P (Afdeling Q, #3)
  • Journal 64 (Afdeling Q, #4)
  • Marco Effekten (Afdeling Q, #5)
  • The Hanging Girl (Department Q, #6)
  • The Scarred Woman (Department Q, #7)
  • Victim 2117 (Department Q, #8)

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