Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

400 pages


August 2011

This is another review copy I got from netGalley.  Here is the blurb from their site:

"The Keeper of Lost Causes, the first installment of Adler-Olsen's Department Q series, features the deeply flawed chief detective Carl MØrck, who used to be a good homicide detective-one of Copenhagen's best. Then a bullet almost took his life. Two of his colleagues weren't so lucky, and Carl, who didn't draw his weapon, blames himself.

So a promotion is the last thing Carl expects.

But it all becomes clear when he sees his new office in the basement. Carl's been selected to run Department Q, a new special investigations division that turns out to be a department of one. With a stack of Copenhagen's coldest cases to keep him company, Carl's been put out to pasture. So he's as surprised as anyone when a case actually captures his interest. A missing politician vanished without a trace five years earlier. The world assumes she's dead. His colleagues snicker about the time he's wasting. But Carl may have the last laugh, and redeem himself in the process.

Because she isn't dead . . . yet."

This is the first in a series that, apparently, is already popular in Denmark and is being translated for the U.S. audience.  It is fabulous.  I loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and read all three books.  I thought this book was even better.  Carl is a great character, and the author has given him both a personal and professional back story.  The other main character, Merete Lynggaard, is equally fascinating.  Her back story is also well-developed.  She has an adult disabled brother and is a highly-placed political official.

The book alternates between present day Carl and past/present day Merete.  As readers, we are lead to a point where their two stories converge, and this is one of those books I kept reading late at night because of the building tension.

The author also creates a second hand man for Carl.  Assad also has a back story, which is mysterious throughout the book.  He is clearly not a maintenance worker, but someone with an investigative or violent past.  We are only given glimpses of Assad's true nature, and it seems that the author has laid groundwork for some fascinating revelations in future books in the series.

This book does not disappoint.  The author deftly builds the story from both Carl and Merete's points of view.  I didn't guess the twist, because there is one, until it was unveiled to Merete.  Then, I couldn't stop reading until I was sure Carl had figured it out too.  5 stars for a great ride!  I can't wait to read more in the series.

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