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 leads. So he’s naturally intrigued when a closed case lands on his desk: A brother and sister were brutally murdered two decades earlier, and one of the suspects—part of a group of privileged boarding-school students—confessed and was convicted.
But once Mørck reopens the files, it becomes clear that all is not what it seems. Looking into the supposedly solved case leads him to Kimmie, a woman living on the streets, stealing to survive. Kimmie has mastered evading the police, but now they aren’t the only ones looking for her. Because Kimmie has secrets that certain influential individuals would kill to keep buried . . . as well as one of her own that could turn everything on its head.
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”) (2003) and “The Washington Decree” (2006). The first book on Department Q is “Kvinden I buret” (2007) and the second “Fasandræberne” (2008). The main detective is Deputy Superintendent Carl Morck from the Department Q and he is also the star of the third volume, “Flaskepost fra P” which was released in the fall of 2009 and secured Adler-Olsen ”Readers' Book Award” from Berlingske Tidende-readers, the Harald Mogensen Prize as well as the Scandinavian Crime Society's most prestigious price ”Glass Key”. The fourth volume in the Department Q series, “Journal 64” was published in 2010 and he was awarded the once-in-a-lifetime-prize of “The Golden Laurels” for this in 2011”. In December 2012 the fifth novel was published, “Marco Effekten".
Furthermore, Jussi Adler-Olsen was awarded “Favourite Author of the Danes” in 2011, 2012 and 2013 leading the organization behind to change the set-up, so the winner cannot be chosen more than once in a three year period.
Jussi Adler-Olsen's novels have had such an impact abroad, that he has also received a variety of awards there: ”The Sealed Room Award” in Japan for “Kvinden I buret”; ”Best Translated Mystery Novel of the Year”,”The Crime - Blitz Award 2011” in Germany for “Flaskepost til P” given to the best international crime, Elle magazine's French reader award: ”Prix de Lectrices the Elle” for “Kvinden I buret” as well as ”The Barry Award” in the US for “Kvinen I buret” that was elected ”Best Novel of the Year”.
His first novel “Alfabethuset” and the first four books of the Department Q series have been sold for film adaptation. “Kvinden I buret” premiered in 2013 and “Fasandræberne” opens in Denmark October 2014.
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.
(FYI: The book was adapted into a movie. The illustrations are from the film.)
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 unruly fellow students were suspects. Evidence was lacking, however, and the students weren't charged.
Two unruly students in the clique
Then, almost a decade later, one of the students confessed and went to prison. The others went on their way, the men becoming rich, successful businessmen and the lone woman in the group becoming a homeless bag lady. Morck believes the whole clique committed the murders and decides to re-investigate the case.
The male students grow up to be successful businessmen
The female student, Kimmie, grows up to be a homeless vagrant
The delinquent boarding school students are psychopaths who delight in beating up and killing people among other things.
The clique of psychopaths
Their activities continue into adulthood and Morck's team uncovers a series of crimes the clique may have committed. The men in the group feel invulnerable because they have connections in high places and, in fact, certain police officials and politicians attempt to thwart Morck's investigation.
Businessman feels invulnerable
Nevertheless the criminals are concerned. They know Kimmie (the bag lady) has a box of trophies from their victims and they're desperate to get the box. Thus Kimmie is being sought by thugs as well as the police. The lifestyles, debauchery, and criminal inclinations of Kimmie and the men are described in some detail and it's clear that the men are evil and Kimmie is deranged.
Kimmie defends herself
On the lighter side, Department Q - which started out with Morck and his very clever assistant Assad - is deemed to merit a new employee, secretary Rose Knudsen. Rose is a smart, strong-willed woman who's determined to enhance the basement facilities of Morck's squad. Morck doesn't like Rose though and - in his curmudgeonly fashion - plots to get rid of her. The interactions between Morck and Rose provide some of the more amusing moments in this very dark story.
Morck and Assad
Morck's team works hard to overcome obstacles and collect clues. Meanwhile, Morck is dealing with his personal issues, which include lusting after the department psychologist, worrying about his paralyzed former partner Hardy, and living with his teenage stepson.
The book is well-written, interesting, and comes to a satisfactory conclusion. However I didn't enjoy it as much as the first book in the Department Q series (The Keeper of Lost Causes) - which seems more balanced in terms of evil people/horrible crimes vs. amusing characters/scenes. Nevertheless, this is a good book, recommended for mystery fans.
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 satisfactory indeed, with appropriate solutions all round. So much so that as soon as I turned the last page I gave the book straight to my husband and said "You have to read this."
Now I am looking forward very much to book 3 which I notice gets very good ratings.
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 characterisation was amateurish. The main baddie if you like was so irredeemably evil he was like a pantomime villain. About the only thing he didn't do was kick someone's crutches away. He didn't come across as real.
3. Not content to tell us that the main baddies enjoyed hunting animals the author went into great detail about the animals and what would happen them. Being a great writer is all about knowing what not to write as much as knowing what to write. By including so much hunting I found myself skipping parts because I wasn't only repulsed, I was also bored. It also made me wonder if the author was padding out the book to reach a certain page count.
Overall, this was a disappointing book. Hopefully the next one will be better.
Me gustó mucho y, obviamente mucho más que el primer libro de la serie, sobre todo porque me reconcilié con el subcomisario Carl Mørck. En esta entrega se empodera de su cargo y toma las riendas de su nuevo caso con su habitual estilo mordaz y poco apegado a las normas, pero que ahora se percibe muy encantador, en vez de despreocupado y autocomplaciente como lo sentí en el primer libro. Por lo mismo Assad y Rose, la nueva y genial integrante del Departamento Q, pasan a tener un rol más bien secundario.
La estructura del libro tampoco es común. Antes de las primeras diez páginas ya se sabe quiénes son los responsables del homicidio que investiga el Departamento Q, pero lo interesante es ir descubriendo poco a poco qué fue lo que en verdad pasó. A pesar de lo anterior, la novela tiene un ritmo muy ágil que incluso, pasada la mitad, se vuelve realmente vertiginoso.
Un excelente desenlace, tal y como debía ser para los lectores que esperábamos justicia para todas las víctimas, pero como en otros libros de este autor, me deja con una sensación muy melancólica, por todo aquello que pudo haber sido y no fue. Me pasó con el personaje de Merete Lynggaard de La mujer que arañaba las paredes y, por supuesto, con Kirsten-Marie Lassen de esta novela.
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 also knew something just as bad about you. If it wasn't hushed up, the one person's offense quickly infected the other's. A strange, practical principle that meant no one would say anything about anyone else, not even if they were caught with their hands in the biscuit tin."
In typical Adler-Olson fashion, his critical sniper scope isn't just aimed at the wealthy in general as the above implies; Adler-Olson is just as intent at targeting all millieus through the eyes of his politically incorrect protagonist Carl MØrck. As we learn through a reading of The Sociopath Next Door, about 1 in 10 in society are sociopaths, hiding in plain sight, and often quite successful in society.
Is there redemption for a sociopath? To that, Adler-Olson replies:
"There's nothing sadder than a candle without a flame."
And yet, strangely enough, it is a story about sociopathic redemption (I can hear the echo of laughter in the halls of psychiatry at this, and they would not be wrong to scorn the thought). After all, what is empathy to a sociopath - it being a requirement for redemption - when the lack of it is part of the prognosis?
For the first time in her life she saw a victim for precisely what it was; a human being who had possessed a will of its own and the right to live. It surprised her that she had never had this feeling before.
Where then can this redemption be found? A tour-de-force of genetic inheritance, inordinate violence and societal abuse we find that Adler-Olson places it to slumber inside the absent one.
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 politics is the mainstay of most European dinner table conversations. On this topic of politics, the author says:
"If you with that ask me whether I'm critical of the political system, then yes. If you ask me whether I have a tendency to defend party-political opinions, then no. My agenda political wise is firstly to criticize regardless of what is to criticize, and no matter what the basis of view is, and secondly to appeal to the politicians in power that they should understand that they are our servants and not our masters, and that they first and foremost on their fields of activity should learn to acknowledge mistakes and to evaluate their own actions."
Through his protagonist Carl MØrck, a lone detective absconded to the basement of police headquarters, heading a cold case department of one, and for all the world a detective ostracized for his unsociable and arrogant manner we bump head-on into the political machinations of Denmark's finest if not the corruption of a government beyond. Not that corruption threatens to take over the story. The author is careful about that:
It's all about having and keeping empathy. If you have this ability in your writings, it will never be the corruption in itself that is the story's starting point, but the people and the relations that the corruption affects. It is as simple as that! If you want to be a writer, you have to learn to turn everything upside down.
Born a son to a father with a psychiatric degree and living on the premises of such mental institutions a portion of his life, Jussi Adler-Olsen has developed a keen insight into a human's boundlessness, self-centeredness if not the degree to which human beings can succumb to a lack of affection.
If it wasn't for these issues, there wouldn't be any thriller novels in the world. And the consequences of these character flaws give me a lot to work with. Revenge, strive for justice, and insanity.
As with most Nordic thrillers (Jo Nesbo, Henning Mankell, Larson, etc), there's a certain ennui that pervades the populace. Perhaps that is due to the unique form of Scandinavian democracy that today seems to be under siege by more globalistic tendencies, a slight leaning to the right that highly values the individual instead of the public society so prominent in Scandinavian countries. As with these other thriller writers, we view a somber if not morose society...practical, but not affluent in that affection mentioned by the author.
We have had a very negative and sad period, but the right to criticize and reject bad ideas in their unblemished form still holds. And there is no other place on earth, in my opinion, that uses this right as frequently and thoughtfully, which I'm proud of.
But what is it about novels that is captivating readers across the globe? I can only speak for myself.
As always, translations must be kept in mind and my hat's off to those who attempt to translate a foreign language into English. It is an art in and of itself. Especially when one considers that it is possible to have thoughts in one language that are not possible in another. Being bilingual myself, I still wrestle with certain idioms not available to me when communicating in English. In this sense, Lisa Hartford does an excellent job in her translation from Danish to English. Indeed, in terms of immediate and enduring attention grabbing, Adler-Olsen is in the Chandler class.
As with most European and Scandinavian mystery/crime novels, the causation behind the crime is usually a simple event rationalized by an unhealthy mind. I love this about Nordic thrillers...how we are brought to fully understand motivation as part of the unravelling of a mystery. You could say that this is exactly what is wrong with Hollywood where everything is sensationalized, instead of sprung forth out of ordinary life.
Junior Detective Superintendent Carl MØrck has a brilliant mind and as is usually the case, brilliance inspires envy, and envy destroys achievements. The way Jussi Adler-Olsen portrays this within the Danish police force cannot be dismissed. Ever critical, he has created a character both perfectly ordinary as well as constantly critical of everything set before him. There is a quiet humor behind the man who has no qualms about doing nothing but placing his feet on his desk and complain that he is too busy...until of course he becomes interested at which point he becomes a Danish bloodhound.
The plots are exquisite, driven not by the unveiling of a carefully kept ending held close to the chest by the author (I've read reviews where some partially dismiss this author for guessing the who-dun-it half way through) but rather by the unveiling of the true motivation behind the crime which gives the reader an entirely different satisfaction. Cold cases are tough and most of them are not solved. But, as Adler-Olson says:
It's all about having and keeping empathy.
This review will be the same for all Department Q novels...so if you've read this one, you've read 'em all. Updates will be included in subsequent novels in this series, if warranted.
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 point, they need to be read in order.
Gone is the humour from book one, there is ah-but a few lines that will make you smile here. The action is not off-stage and there is reference to a teacher at the boarding school for the rich and privilged who showed 'Clockwork Orange' and 'If...' in the English Culture class. That is the sort of dehumanised violence that is on show in this story.
The translation is, for the most, good, although some of the choppy moments leave one having to rely on intuition; those patches don't hinder the flow of this brutal tale but might leave you feeling a bit miffed.
Riveting reading but not for the faint-hearted. The third book will be available in English language from Penguin in spring 2013 and it looks as if there is a change in translator - Martin Aitken.
M was not so keen on this second book but is thoroughly enjoying #3.
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 you have not read one of these books pick. up a copy of The Keeper of Lost Causes also known as Mercy and read it. Highly recommended, I cannot wait to read the third book!
Αυτό το βιβλίο θα μου άρεσε πολύ περισσότερο αν είχε έστω ένα μυστήριο η ιστορία του. Αλλά όχι, από την αρχή ξέρουμε τους εγκληματίες, τα εγκλήματα τους και τα επόμενα βήματα τους καθώς ο αφηγητής σε κάποια κεφάλαια αφηγείται και την δική τους μεριά (κοινώς όλα αυτά τα υπέροχα ερωτήματα που αναφέρονται στην υπόθεση του οπισθόφυλλου της ελληνικής έκδοσης τα απαντάει εξαρχής). Αυτό με χάλασε λίγο γιατί περίμενα να είναι βιβλίο μυστηρίου αλλά τελικά είναι καθαρά δράσης. Το άλλο στοιχείο που δεν μου άρεσε είναι ότι μερικές φορές η ιστορία δεν με έπειθε, π.χ. όλη η παρέα είναι σαδιστές (δεν κατάλαβα γιατί ο συγγραφέας επέλεξε να βάλει τόσα άτομα στην παρέα αφού άμα γνωρίσεις τον έναν, τους γνωρίζεις όλους, είναι ολόιδιοι) και φτιάχνονται με τον ίδιο τρόπο, όπως επίσης δεν με επεισε το τέλος που μου φάνηκε υπερβολικό και ακραίο. Από εκεί και πέρα όμως μου άρεσε αρκετά. Το βιβλίο αν και ξεκίνησε χλιαρά, διότι η αφήγηση στην αρχή ρίχνει πολύ βάρος στην Κιμι (που η ιστορία της είναι καταθλιπτική και η ίδια η Κίμι ειναι θεόμουρλη) και έτσι η ατμόσφαιρα είναι λίγο βαριά και μελαγχολική, στην πορεία όμως η δράση και η ένταση αυξάνονται διαρκώς και η ατμόσφαιρα γεμίζει δυναμισμό. Όπως επίσης λάτρεψα το τρίο των "καλών", οι χαρακτήρες τους είναι καλοδουλεμένοι, ευχάριστοι, γεμάτοι αποχρώσεις που δίνουν στην ιστορία κέφι και έξυπνο χιούμορ. 3,5/5 αστεράκια
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 asks us to. Add to it a rabid fox. A hungry hyaena. Hunting wild animals in the heart of Denmark? Come on, man! Be serious.
The novel reads pretty well for about 300 pages, and then it deteriorates into a totally ridiculous mess of utterly contrived fast-paced action of the worst Hollywood variety. This is globalization of rubbish. This is crap on the order of "Da Vinci Code".
Three and a half stars for the first 300 pages. Zero stars for the last 100 pages. What an utter waste of human talent! I am hesitant to read any more stuff from this author.
Dieser Teil war wirklich eine Enttäuschung für mich... Alles sehr vorhersehbar & dann ging es auch noch viel um Tierquälerei, was ich überhaupt nicht vertragen kann!! 😤😤😡 Sowas zu lesen tut mir in der Seele weh & hat mir das Buch total verdorben. Ich hab das Buch locker einige Wochen nicht angerührt, was auch viel darüber aussagt ... Schade! Ich hoffe sehr, dass mich Band 3, genauso wie Band 1, wieder so richtig fesseln kann!
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.
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 Causes" (which created claustrophobia anxiety in this reader!), in "The Absent One," the evil comes from every direction, including the innermost workings of the most damaged minds.
Adler-Olsen does the reader a huge favor by giving us time with Carl Morck and his none-too-hapless assistant, the mysterious (and unintentionally hilarious) Assad. Without frequent trips back to Department Q and the repartee between these two (and Rose, a spectacular addition), I don't know if I would have been able to stand the tension.
Although I understand that the scope of this story made it necessary to pay only scant attention to Carl's son and tenant, I missed them -- but there is every reason to expect that they will both play much larger roles in (please, please, please, hurry!) the third in the series.
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 -- which is a story that's been done FAR too many times for this to be anything but a boring retread of something I've read and watched before.
Rose isn't really a great character, and I found Assad more annoyingly wrong-headed (as opposed to sneakily competent) as compared with the last one. And since all the baddies, and almost every other character in the book, are so completely contemptible, their story didn't give me any more than sweeping sense of indifference and an urge to finish this thing as soon as I possibly could.
So all in all, a disappointment. I guess I'm still interested in Carl and some of the other characters in his life, and I'll probably read the third book at some point, but it will have to be a significant improvement for me to keep going from there.
Ovaj puta se odlučio za temu koju ja ne volim - divljanje "fine" dječice superbogatih i njihovu nedodirljivost pa sam nekako skoro pola knjige bio na distanci no onda ih je odveo u tešku psihopatiju koja je podigla napetost. Vjerujem da su ljubitelji krimića svikli na kojekave psihopate i njihove okrutnosti, ako niste moglo bi vam biti neugodno.
Carl je i dalje simpatičan lik, odličan kao policajac i nespretan i nesretan van toga, recimo jedva iskamči večeru sa ženom koja ga silno privlači pa zaspi s glavom u tanjuru.
Esta historia es la segunda entrega de la serie del “Departamento Q”. Un departamento que se creo en la primera parte para resolver aquellos casos que se cerraron sin encontrar a quien culpar. Nuestro protagonista Carl Morck, esta vez tendrá que buscar al culpable de que dos adolescentes aparecieran asesinados en una cabaña. Lo raro es que una persona ya se declaro culpable y cumple condena en la cárcel… A partir de aquí empieza la historia, con 6 sospechosos, todos ellos estudiaban juntos en y convivían en una residencia de prestigio. Según vas avanzando en la historia, la trama se va complicando, apareciendo nuevos casos, todos alrededor de estos sospechosos.. Los personajes en esta historia refiriéndose al lado policial son los mismos, añadiendo eso si, una nueva integrante en el Departamento Q, Rose, y esta es genial, me ha encantado la manera que tiene de ser, y de enfrentarse a su jefe. Lo que mas me cuesta de estos libros, son los nombres de personajes y de lugares, ya que es un thriller danés, y aunque para mi siguen siendo los mejores, se me hace difícil no perderme. Estoy deseando coger la tercera parte y saber de que va la trama! Muy recomendado si te gusta la novela negra y fuerte.
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.
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 to find the real killers behind the deaths of a young woman and her brother which happened twenty years ago.
Kind of a warning here: there is rather graphic sex AND murder in this book, but nothing that most readers couldn't handle. Assad, a recent Syrian immigrant is back again as Carl's (civil servant) assistant, along with a 'secretary,' Rose, an interesting addition to the cast of regulars.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, another of my 'read-it-in-two-days.' I intend to stick with this series as Carl and crew are perfect for any reader of mysteries which have a slightly hard-boiled edge. Plus the writing is terrific; there's humor between the regulars, but it's not overdone. There are undercurrents and a few subplots which only add to the tension and reality of the series. So far I am loving it.
Just as good as the first book in the series. Carl the curmudgeon finds a case on his desk. Ten years ago, a man pled guilty to murdering two young adults, clearing four spoiled, rich brats. The first question Carl has is: why is this case here? It's been solved and closed. The answer, it soon becomes apparent, is because some people don't believe the case should be closed, and don't believe the convicted man acted alone. In typical thriller style, we see the actions and thoughts of the bad guys so we know much of what really happened and the delight is in watching Carl and Assad pry open old witnesses and ignored evidence while the rich boys' former girlfriend wanders the streets, plotting revenge. Violent and graphic, the book none-the-less is laced with humor at the expense of bureaucracy and the self-important. A fun crime thriller.
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 idea may not be the most innovative but it’s well executed and developed.
However, in my opinion one of the best things about this book is Kimmie. At first I underestimated her importance for the story. But later on I noticed the whole complexity of her character. She is such a complicated, ambiguous, tormented person. Definitely one of the best and most interesting characters I found in a book lastly.
I also quite like Carl Mørck after getting used to him. He may not be the most distinguish hero (to me he is a lot like some other detectives I read about) but nice to follow and likeable after all.
This my by my first book by this author but, like I already said, probably not my last one.
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, is both truly awful and extremely realistic and understandable.
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.
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 under the rug if it improves career opportunities.
Carl does not want to advance and he turned down a promotion. He was content when his superiors gave him the job as boss of Department Q and buried him in an office in the basement. When it was determined that he needed an assistant, he found that Hafez el-Assad, a Muslim immigrant with a sunny disposition and a mysterious past assigned to him by Homicide Chief Marcus Jacobsen, a mixed blessing. But after Assad's skill set had proven invaluable in the last case, Carl grumpily decided he was a good man. But in 'The Absent One', he discovers he now has a new secretary, Rose Knudsen. Alarmed, he gives her a variety of assignments he hopes will keep her out of his hair - and discovers she is as efficient as she is mouthy.
The indomitable Assad has placed a new cold case file which looked interesting to him in front of Carl, recently returned from a three-week vacation. Studying the information on the 1987 murders - a brother and sister who were discovered beaten to death - he sees the suspects were a pack of boarding-school students who were staying at the residence of one of their wealthy parents. Before the murder, the gang of young men and one girl had been causing fights at local nightclubs. All of them were now wealthy powerful businessmen, with the exception of the girl, now woman, Kirsten-Marie Lassen, who was missing.
As Carl and Assad dig deeper into the backgrounds of Ditlev Pram, founder of exclusive hospitals, Torsten Florin, designer, Ulrik Dybbøl, stock-market analyst, and Kirsten-Marie, 'Kimmie', they find first how the original investigation went wrong, partially because many current important people also went to the same elite school as the suspects, and then later disturbing evidence the suspects may have truly committed these murders - and others....
The novel is not a mystery, but more of a thriller. Gentle reader, we know all almost from the beginning - what occurs is a filling in of backstory blanks, the chase of justice, and the not-so-small matter of which characters survive.
I was very very entertained. I thought the book full of horrific realism and delightful, if thoughtful, suspense. Jussi Adler-Olsen knows what people really do. If sugar-coats please you more, only Assad and Rose provide warmth. Perhaps this is not the right novel if you prefer a nice rainbow glow to your fictional reads.
This can be read as a standalone, but Carl has a backstory which is fully laid out in the first book. It completely explains his friendships and involvements in this story which are only skimmed in passing.
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 known to us almost from page 1. The point of the story, then, is how Morck and his team discover adequate evidence to prove guilt. Perhaps by coincidence this story also included a seriously insane woman, after I'd just finished the Dublin Murder Squad #4 which shared the slow and steady descent of one of the suspects into a dark and irrecovable hell of mental illness. I've gotta find something less dark. Next up is Henning Mankell and Kurt Wallender. That should help. (read sarcasm, please.)
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 walks of life. In fact, it's pretty hard to believe there are this many murderous psychos at one time in a place like Holland. Probably not, but it makes for pretty exciting reading.
If you're a fan of dark fiction, serial killers, police mysteries, etc, you should give this series a try. There is some comic relief in the form of Assad, his assistant from the first book, and a new secretary Rose, who is outspoken but competent, both of which Carl has trouble dealing with at times, especially when she starts buying office furniture.
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 dealing with a complicated set of cold cases.