Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Keeper of Lost Causes

Author: Jussi Adler-Olsen
Genre: Suspense
Source: Local Public Library
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 395
Series: #1 in the Department Q series
Publisher: Dutton Adult
First Published: 2011
First Line: "She scratched her fingertips on the smooth walls until they bled, and pounded her fists on the thick panes until she could no longer feel her hands."

Book Description from GoodReadsCarl Mørck used to be one of Copenhagen’s best homicide detectives. Then a hail of bullets destroyed the lives of two fellow cops, and Carl—who didn’t draw his weapon—blames himself. So a promotion is the last thing he expects. But Department Q is a department of one, and Carl’s got only a stack of Copenhagen’s coldest cases for company. His colleagues snicker, but Carl may have the last laugh, because one file keeps nagging at him: a liberal politician vanished five years earlier and is presumed dead. But she isn’t dead … yet. 

Darkly humorous, propulsive, and atmospheric, The Keeper of Lost Causes introduces American readers to the mega-bestselling series fast becoming an international sensation.

My Review:  One of my informal 'Reading To Do's' is to read more Scandinavian authors. I've read Stieg Larsson but there are so many other authors from that area that I routinely see on the shelves at the library where I work whom I find intriguing -- Jo Nesbo, Henning Mankell and Camilla Lackberg to name a few.  After reading some great reviews about The Keeper of Lost Causes I thought I'd jump back into the Scandinavian suspense genre with this series.

I was not disappointed.  This was a great read with the author doesn't waste any time throwing the reader into the suspenseful story line and unique, engaging characters.  The story is told using the alternating viewpoints of police detective, Carl Mørck and the victim,  Merete Lynggard, a controversial politician.  This method of storytelling keeps the reader actively involved in the police search as well as what is happening to the victim.  I found both viewpoints equally engaging.  Merete's struggle was emotional and, at times, hard to read but Carl Mørck really stood out for me as a solid main character. He was the epitome of a curmudgeon who has a real talent for solving crimes but also has his own demons to battle and a lot of emotional baggage to bear.  His assistant, Syrian refugee Assad, added light comic relief which brought some levity (and some additional mystery due to his own mysterious past) to a story which, without it, could have been a little too heavy.  Truth be told, Assad was my favourite character.

Without giving anything away I did have a bit of a negative feeling about the story line which was a little unbelievable.  That said, I don't think that it greatly affected my overall enjoyment of the book and I was able to forgive it but it was just one of those things that didn't sit right with me when I read it.

This was a fast-paced suspenseful thriller that one can't help but make comparisons with another extremely popular Scandinavian crime series, Stieg Larsson's "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo".  They both have an intense and sadistic feel to them with some truly cringe worthy moments but their twists and fast-paced writing keep readers on the edge of their seats.  With well-developed and believably damaged characters and a dollop of humour here and there this is a series that I plan to continue.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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