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Carl 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 ma Carl 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.


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Carl 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 ma Carl 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.

30 review for The Keeper of Lost Causes

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jayson

    (B+) 78% | Good Notes: Characters gush ad nauseam about the victim's beauty, I suppose, to make her victimization seem all the more tragic. (B+) 78% | Good Notes: Characters gush ad nauseam about the victim's beauty, I suppose, to make her victimization seem all the more tragic.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    Another Nordic noir! This is the first of a seven- book Danish series about Deputy Superintendent Carl Morck. It’s a police procedural. Like all fictional detectives, Morck has his issues. He’s in the process of getting divorced although he still sees his wife and she likes to tell him about her young lovers. He’s blunt in the romance department, always hitting on the wrong woman, especially ones wearing a wedding ring. He’s also psychologically damaged from a recent incident where he feels respo Another Nordic noir! This is the first of a seven- book Danish series about Deputy Superintendent Carl Morck. It’s a police procedural. Like all fictional detectives, Morck has his issues. He’s in the process of getting divorced although he still sees his wife and she likes to tell him about her young lovers. He’s blunt in the romance department, always hitting on the wrong woman, especially ones wearing a wedding ring. He’s also psychologically damaged from a recent incident where he feels responsible for the death of one of his colleagues and the paralysis of another. He wasn’t able to draw his weapon and can’t open up to the police psychologist. He has panic attacks. Some of his colleagues blame him for the incident. So he has been ‘kicked upstairs’ (actually to the basement) to work on cold cases with a Syrian partner who provides insight into the case as well as humor. The first cold case he works on, the subject of the book, is truly bizarre. A female Danish member of parliament has been missing for five years. We know from the beginning she is still alive and being held in solitary confinement in an air-pressurized chamber in retribution for something she did as a child. (She doesn’t know what.) The parliament member had been involved in an auto accident as a girl that killed her parents and gave her younger brother brain damage. The police investigation in which she disappeared off of a ferry boat was badly botched years ago. The police simply assume she had jumped or fallen off the ferry and drowned. Little by little Morck solves the case. I thought it was a good read and it kept my attention all the way through. The dozen-or-so chapters that deal with the captive woman’s psychological state could be shorter and less repetitive. But still a good story. Copenhagen from creativeboom.com The author from billedbladet.dk

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kemper

    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 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 depressed and wracked by survivor’s guilt that he’s barely lifting a finger on his cases, and his grumpiness has alienated the other cops. His boss decides to take a sour old shot-in-the-head lemon and make lemonade out of him when national politics force him to create a department to work on high profile cold cases. Morck is ‘promoted’ to be in charge of the new Department Q and sent down to a basement office. At first, Morck is happy to be left alone in the basement where he can smoke all he wants and play computer solitaire all day, but when he learns that the department is using the money allotted for Department Q to beef up the homicide division, he demands a piece of the action including a department car, getting the basement fixed up and his own assistant to make the coffee and do the shit work. However, he gets more than just someone to answer the phone with Assad, a Syrian immigrant who is curious about the case files. When the political pressure to show some progress mounts, Morck reluctantly ends up looking into the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful female politician, Merete Lynggaard, who vanished five years before. In a parallel story, we learn what happened to Merete and her horrible fate. There was a lot I found intriguing about this book. The Morck character and the set-up of him being exiled to Department Q was an interesting idea, and I really liked this grumpy guilt-ridden detective with a messy personal life. I also loved the dynamic between him and Assad with the bright and curious assistant messing up Morck’s plans to sit quietly in the basement and smoke some cigarettes. Assad can read a case file and come up with legitimate deductions and questions, but while he’s smart enough to track down a long missing piece of critical evidence, he doesn’t know any better than to handle it once he finds it. Unfortunately, Morck’s messy personal life seemed to be a bit much after a while. He keeps getting phone calls and giving money to his estranged wife and after a while you just want to scream at him to get a divorce lawyer and change his number. While the circumstances of Merete’s abduction and her circumstances are disturbing and horrible, I figured out the villain’s motive early in the book so that was pretty obvious. Plus, after a while Merete’s predicament starts to go over the top and takes a turn onto Torture Porn Avenue and that’s not a neighborhood I like visiting. Still, despite some clunky writing (which could be a translation issue), I liked Morck and Assad, and I found the basic premise intriguing. I’ve also got a big streak of Danish heritage, but know almost nothing about Denmark so it was fun to soak up a little of the old home country in a better than average crime thriller.

  4. 4 out of 5

    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 ”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 imaginary library and selected the only book in the world that she knew she could recall without embellishing it... A philosophical little bear named Winnie the Pooh was her salvation. her only defense against madness. Pooh and all the animals in Hundred Acre Wood. Merete could have used a Pooh and a balloon Merete Lynggaard disappears in 2002. She is a well known political figure and because she is beautiful she is also photographed extensively by a roving band of paparazzi. They get paid more when it is chilly and her nipples are noticeable through her blouse. (This is a voyeuresque world.) Despite her very public professional life she keeps her private life...private. She doesn’t date even though there are legions of men that would love to spend time with her. She has more important duties such as getting home to her brother who is afflicted with brain damage suffered in a car accident that also took the lives of their parents. She has enemies as do all politicians, but would any of them try to hurt her? The book flashes between 2002 and 2007. In 2007 we meet Detective Carl Morck a grumpy, depressed, at time acerbic man who no one wants to work with. When the government insists the Copenhagen police department form a cold case department the Chief of Detectives jumps at the chance to assign Carl to that department which also happens to be in the basement...way...way...away from the rest of the detectives. In Department Q Carl is the darkest, dankest corner of the basement of the police department. Jussi Adler-Olsen explores the politics inherent in any organization as the Chief tries to keep as much of that government money allocated to Department Q in a slush fund and Carl Morck starts to understand that he has leverage to certainly obtain more than what they first gave him for his department. In one of his negotiations with the Chief he gets an assistant, a Syrian, with a dubious passport who is supposed to help clean Department Q, but once Carl discovers how resourceful Assad is he starts to use him to help track down clues and also obtain what he needs from other departments. Assad gets along with people much better than Carl. Now Carl does have some legitimate issues that can account for some of his anti-social behavior. He has recently returned to work from being shot. He and two other detectives were investigating a murder. They did not clear the murder scene the way we are used to seeing it done on American TV. It turns out the killer is still there and in a blaze of gunfire all three detectives are shot. One dead, one paralyzed from the neck down, and Carl with a grazed head. Things happened so fast that Carl didn’t even have a chance to pull his weapon. When he replays what happened frame by frame in his head he realizes he did have time. He froze. He is cleared, but the guilt hangs like a shroud over everything he does. Carl is lonely and when an attractive female walks across his vision he has to reel his tongue back in. He is especially attracted to married women. Adler-Olsen didn’t really explore that in depth, but it does make me wonder if part of their attraction for Carl is their unattainability or maybe he is attracted to older women more likely to be married. If you listen carefully you might actually hear the thump under Carl’s desk as the sexy psychiatrist Mona Ibsen walks into his office. ”Mona Ibsen sat down across from him. The light from outside on Otto Monsteds Gade shone on the back of her neck, creating a halo around her head. the soft light revealed delicate lines on her face; her lips were sensual and a deep red. Everything about her signaled high class. Carl locked eyes with her so as not to dwell on her voluptuous breasts. Nothing in the world could make him want to break out of the state he was in.” I think that state is called lust Carl. I had to put my hands over my eyes during the rest of this scene. He mucks things up so badly you’d think he’d never talked to a woman before in his life. Jussi Adler-Olsen even looks like a guy who just wrote a really good book. This book is a slow burn. If you have read Scandinavian books before you will expect this. I think it was around 130 pages that the book really hooked me. The book switches between Merete before 2007 and Carl investigating her cold case in 2007. As the plot picks up momentum and we learn more and more about what has happened to Merete you will find yourself on the edge of your seat. You will find yourself, despite his best efforts, to start to like Carl. You will wonder if some woman will take pity on Carl and haul his ashes. By the end you will already be looking for volume two in the Department Q series.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    Book one in a series set in Denmark featuring Detective Inspector Carl Morck, a man who believes he has exhausted his interest in his job and just wants to sit out the remaining years to his retirement. A series of events puts him in charge of a newly established cold case department, he gets an extremely interesting assistant, he finds a case which does interest him and things go from there. I enjoyed it enormously! I found Carl's attitude amusing and his sarcastic comments made me laugh out lou Book one in a series set in Denmark featuring Detective Inspector Carl Morck, a man who believes he has exhausted his interest in his job and just wants to sit out the remaining years to his retirement. A series of events puts him in charge of a newly established cold case department, he gets an extremely interesting assistant, he finds a case which does interest him and things go from there. I enjoyed it enormously! I found Carl's attitude amusing and his sarcastic comments made me laugh out loud. Assad was an absolute delight and goodness knows what else we are going to find out about him. The suspense was absolutely gripping especially towards the end when the two intrepid heroes were up against a countdown which they were unaware of but the reader knew about. I so wanted to take a quick peek at the final pages to settle my nerves but I restrained myself and just read faster! So - a good story, lots of interesting police work, great characters, humour, suspense - what more could I ask for? Recommended:)

  6. 4 out of 5

    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 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 politician gone missing. I recommend that you throw in your reading time with keeper of lost causes. It will not be lost hours. — Sherry Roberts, author of Book of Mercy and Maud's House

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    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 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 misogyny.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    Everything can change in an instant. This seems to be the overwhelming message left by author Jussi Adler-Olsen in his 2007 novel The Keeper of Lost Causes (published in English in 2011 with a translation from Danish by Lisa Hartford). Everything changed for detective Carl Morck in an instant when he and two colleagues were shot during an investigation. One of his fellow police officers was killed and the other was injured for life in a horrific and traumatic event that has scarred Morck forever a Everything can change in an instant. This seems to be the overwhelming message left by author Jussi Adler-Olsen in his 2007 novel The Keeper of Lost Causes (published in English in 2011 with a translation from Danish by Lisa Hartford). Everything changed for detective Carl Morck in an instant when he and two colleagues were shot during an investigation. One of his fellow police officers was killed and the other was injured for life in a horrific and traumatic event that has scarred Morck forever after. He is about as wounded and psychologically messed up as a crime fiction protagonist can be, and that seems to be a prerequisite for such characters in the dark world of Nordic Noir. Add to this that Morck is a particularly abrasive and unlikeable person to begin with and that helps to explain Morck’s surprise when he is promoted to head up a new crime unit, devoted to solving cold cases. Turns out the move was politically motivated to take advantage of some appropriated funds while also shelving a problematic detective. Not born yesterday, Carl figures out how the wind has changed and at first settles comfortably into his basement digs to wait out the next twenty odd years until retirement by playing Sudoku and napping on the clock. A new hire to his department (consisting of two people) actually wants to do some police work and so the two choose one of the dozens of cold case files and get to work. So begins Adler-Olsen’s introduction of his Department Q series. A plausible and seemingly interesting enough premise, coupled with the Scandinavian crime fiction theme and this looked like it was headed in all the right directions. But Morck was more annoying than wounded, and I found myself thinking about Harry Hole or Kurt Wallander. Now those are damaged cops you can follow. Half the time, especially in the dreary sub-plot about his home life, I wanted to go Vito Corleone on his whiney ass, slap him, and tell him to ACT LIKE A MAN! Adler-Olsen used a narrative structure where he switched perspectives between Morck and the victim in a crime case and following the victim was more appealing than Morck’s detective work. Until Adler-Olsen went overboard and her story turned into a weird sadistic melodrama. Still, looking back on the book, I felt closer to this storyline than with Morck’s. Overall I must concede that I liked it, almost kind of grudgingly. Not one of the better Nordic Noir lineups, but Adler-Olsen is a good writer and this is a good concept for more stories.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Copenhagen detective Carl Mørck has returned to work after a vicious shooting saw one of his team killed and the other a quadriplegic. He escaped with a wound to the head and has unresolved issues of guilt for not doing more to save his colleagues. Back in Homicide no one wants to work with him anymore and Carl just wants to mark time until he can retire, however his Superintendent has other plans and re-assigns him head up to a newly established unit to look into cold cases from all over the co Copenhagen detective Carl Mørck has returned to work after a vicious shooting saw one of his team killed and the other a quadriplegic. He escaped with a wound to the head and has unresolved issues of guilt for not doing more to save his colleagues. Back in Homicide no one wants to work with him anymore and Carl just wants to mark time until he can retire, however his Superintendent has other plans and re-assigns him head up to a newly established unit to look into cold cases from all over the country. The only problem is 'Unit' is a misnomer as he is the only detective and has only been assigned a general assistant to help with cleaning and mundane office tasks. Fortunately Assad is no ordinary assistant, a recent Syrian refugee, he has many hidden talents and is keen to see Carl succeed. Somehow he gradually cajoles Carl into looking at a five year old case of a young member of parliament who went missing on a ferry to Germany. She was taking her disabled brother on a trip to Berlin so suicide seems unlikely, but did she suffer an accident or was something more sinister involved? Carl and Assad's investigation is interwoven with an account of a woman being held hostage by some very dangerous and evil minded people, but neither their motives nor their intentions are clear until much later in the book. It's hard not to like Carl despite his grumpiness and cynical comments. His living arrangements and relationship with his wife are also unusual and amusing. His special knack of seeing where current investigations in Homicide should be going and telling the detectives what they should be looking at does is not making him many friends, even though he's always right. Assad is a brilliant character. There's obviously a lot more to him than meets the eye and Carl suspects he hasn't told immigration the whole truth. Together they make a very odd couple but the perfect team. The translation reads well while maintaining a very Danish flavour with the perfect tinge of humour. Altogether this is looking like another excellent series to add to my list. 4.5★

  10. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Danish detective Carl Morck is physically and psychologically damaged after an attempted arrest resulted in the death of one of his partners and the paralysis of another. The homicide squad doesn't want to work with the difficult detective so he's 'promoted' to head of Department Q, which is tasked with looking into cold cases from all over Denmark. Department Q is given a bare bones space in the cluttered basement and Carl is given one employee - Syrian immigrant Assad - who's officially a sort Danish detective Carl Morck is physically and psychologically damaged after an attempted arrest resulted in the death of one of his partners and the paralysis of another. The homicide squad doesn't want to work with the difficult detective so he's 'promoted' to head of Department Q, which is tasked with looking into cold cases from all over Denmark. Department Q is given a bare bones space in the cluttered basement and Carl is given one employee - Syrian immigrant Assad - who's officially a sort of janitor. Assad, however, turns out to be a man of many talents and a gifted detective. In fact he's one of the most amusing and interesting characters in the story. After futzing around for weeks drinking coffee, goofing off, and ignoring the cold case files on his desk Carl is forced to show some progress in his investigations. Thus he decides to look into the disappearance five years before of Merete Lynggaard of the Social Democratic Party, who vanished from a ferry she was taking with her handicapped brother. Merete's body was never found and her fate is a complete mystery to the cops. In reality Merete is being held prisoner under appalling conditions for reasons she can't fathom. The story jumps back and forth between Merete's kidnapping starting in 2002 and what's going on in 2007 during Morck's new investigation. Morck is an intuitive detective, perhaps the best in the homicide department, and with the help of Assad he gathers much new information about Merete's vanishing. A lot of the new details should have been discovered by the original investigators, whom Carl freely criticizes and chastises. These scenes are amusing and oddly satisfying. Adding to his disaffection Carl has a somewhat complicated private life. His estranged wife and her new boyfriend are constantly sponging money off him and his teenage stepson - who has elected to live with Carl - is a typical adolescent. I kind of wished Carl would get a backbone, give his stepson back to mom, and lock up his wallet - but I suppose it's all part of Carl's story. In addition, Carl has a crush on the new counselor/psychologist in the police department, and rather embarrasses himself. The villains in the story behave in a horrific fashion but they're clever and their complex plan was well-thought out. As Carl gets closer to finding Merete her time may just be running out and there's a dramatic suspenseful climax. The characters in the book are well-portrayed and believable (if you accept that some people behave monstrously) and the story is engaging. I highly recommend this book to mystery lovers and look forward to reading more of this author's work. You can follow my reviews at http://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot.com/

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    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 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 get documents examined and deciphered with the help of friends with special skills but no names. And they do it more quickly and accurately than the police department. He uses his charm to get co-worker’s help and allegiance where the cantankerous Carl fails. He notices and remembers things that Carl misses. The funniest parts are when Carl underestimates Assad though it’s understandable because of Assad’s mad skills at coming across as a hapless charmer with a wide toothed grin. It’s a perfect way for him to hide in plain sight. He’s always cheerful, whistling or singing as he scrubs the office and then drops a clue that explodes the case. This book is more about the journey and less about the ending. In fact Adler-Olsen let’s you in on the probable ending right as the story opens but there are many twists and turns along the way that propel you to keep turning pages. In my opinion this is not quite in the category of Larsson’s “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” but it’s immensely entertaining.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Calli

    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 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 asshole. Not the kind you root for. He's a sad-sack asshole (what are you even still doing married to your wife and paying for her shit? Divorce her! DIVORCE. HER. What are you thinking, you moron?). The man is completely unrelateable and he doesn't even have the edge of brilliance to push him over into grudging respect territory. He's lazy and pretty damn slow on the the uptake (thanks for pulling his shit together, convenient sidekick!). I greeted his troubles with a resounding "meh". If you want to get better, make some effort. If you don't, stop whining about it. My sympathy is deep and wide, but not for you. Third, the plot twist was not a twist. Was it supposed to be? Because I guessed who the attractive guy was and who was holding Merete in about the third chapter. It was not a stretch. It was not subtle. Don't try to make this some sort of edge-of-your-seat type thing if you are going to spell out the mystery like this is some sort of elementary school mystery book. I know who did it. All that does is make me even more annoyed that the police can't figure it out. I will not be reading more of this. Off to cleanse my palate with a reread of Steig Larson.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I must confess that I'm slowly becoming addicted to this series. After reading The Hanging Girl with thirsty passion, I knew that I needed to hurry back to the library and take out another Jussi Adler-Olsen. "The Keeper of the Lost Causes" is the book that introduces readers to Carl Morck and his assistant Assad. After dealing with a vicious attack on his team that left one team member dead and the other paralyzed, Carl is returning to the homicide department. However, many of his colleagues an I must confess that I'm slowly becoming addicted to this series. After reading The Hanging Girl with thirsty passion, I knew that I needed to hurry back to the library and take out another Jussi Adler-Olsen. "The Keeper of the Lost Causes" is the book that introduces readers to Carl Morck and his assistant Assad. After dealing with a vicious attack on his team that left one team member dead and the other paralyzed, Carl is returning to the homicide department. However, many of his colleagues and supervisors are not eager to see his return. Conveniently timed is a political ploy to solve more cold cases within the Danish police department. Carl finds himself the new director of "Department Q "and exiled to the basement with a box of unsolved cases. Soon Carl is given Assad, a political refugee allegedly from Syria. Carl is at first resistant to any type of help,but soon he and Assad find their first intriguing case. The case of a young female politician that either drowned or committed suicide five years ago, but the body was never recovered. While many are quick to say "case closed", Carl sets out convinced that he can solve this case...because she just might still be alive. I loved grumpy Carl with his chaotic life and especially enjoyed the relationship between Assad and Carl.Pulse pounding action and a very intriguing case make for some exciting reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Just what a mystery lover needs! Another excellent series discovered. I've heard tell of the Department Q series for some time but never got around to the books. Then my niece happened to give me a copy of the first in the series and I took advantage of a recuperation period post shoulder surgery for a dive into this new world. And it was well worth it. Carl Mørck is the head of this new department, a bit of a grudging head, since it comes on the heels of a disastrous last homicide case in which Just what a mystery lover needs! Another excellent series discovered. I've heard tell of the Department Q series for some time but never got around to the books. Then my niece happened to give me a copy of the first in the series and I took advantage of a recuperation period post shoulder surgery for a dive into this new world. And it was well worth it. Carl Mørck is the head of this new department, a bit of a grudging head, since it comes on the heels of a disastrous last homicide case in which one of his close fellow officers was killed, another severely wounded and he luckily survived less severe wounds. He's back to work but unsure of himself and the world. And now he has a new charge--working on cold cases, selecting what he wants to do from a pile available to him, working alone. Well sort of alone in his basement office except for this strange fellow Assad, who is quite literally a jack of all trades. The plot here follows two threads, one following the cold case from its inception, and the second following the new investigation as well as Carl's life and attempts to work out all that has happened to him. I grew to like all of the characters quite a bit (except for an obvious few) and appreciate the author's skill at character development as well as his ability to eke out those small details of a criminal case that can make all the difference. I very definitely recommend this book to all, like myself, who haven't yet discovered it, and I plan to continue with the second book as soon as possible.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    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 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 kidnapping which they're trying to solve is serviceable enough. The suspense builds well, and the pacing is solid. I haven't read further into the series, but I suspect Carl and Assad will collude again to crack other major cases. Enjoyable and diverting, just like I want from readying crime genre fiction.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kylie H

    I have had this book forever, but for some reason was never drawn to pick it up and read it. In order to complete a reading challenge, I did finally get to it and WOW! This is a Danish book (Scandinavian noir) translated into English. Carl Mørck is a police officer that is jaded due to an incident that killed one of his team and permanently disabled another. He feels responsible and hates everyone around him. Having become a thorn in the side of his fellow officers an opportunity arises to move h I have had this book forever, but for some reason was never drawn to pick it up and read it. In order to complete a reading challenge, I did finally get to it and WOW! This is a Danish book (Scandinavian noir) translated into English. Carl Mørck is a police officer that is jaded due to an incident that killed one of his team and permanently disabled another. He feels responsible and hates everyone around him. Having become a thorn in the side of his fellow officers an opportunity arises to move him aside. So Department Q is created and Mørck is tasked with reviewing cold cases. After something of a slow start the book takes off and a heart pounding thriller emerges. I can highly recommend this book that is a nail-biter yet still told with wonderful humour and it also manages to draw tears with some emotional observations. I am sure this will appeal to anyone who has enjoyed Jo Nesbø's Hole series. PS this is also available through Amazon - retitled as 'Mercy'

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    This was my April Book Pal's choice and it was a good one! I really enjoyed this book! Carl and Assad are a great pair. Assad is a character I want to know more about. I liked that part of the story was told from Merete's point of view. This was my first book by Jussi Adler-Olsen and I'm looking forward to more. This was my April Book Pal's choice and it was a good one! I really enjoyed this book! Carl and Assad are a great pair. Assad is a character I want to know more about. I liked that part of the story was told from Merete's point of view. This was my first book by Jussi Adler-Olsen and I'm looking forward to more.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    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 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 anything. What's the point? What once were minor irritations bug the crap out of him and it shows. None of his colleagues want to work with him on anything. And his boss, Marcus, is at wits end. He can't fire Carl (becaue of the union and because Carl was injured) but he doesn't want him in the squad anymore either. When the government decides to fund a nationwide cold-case investigation unit that will be based out of Copenhagen, Marcus decides to "promote" Carl to a new position as the head of Department Q - while managing to keep most of government appropriated funds for his homicide dept. Carl finds himself in a basement office with a stack of files he doesn't intend to touch. That intention is put aside when his new assistant, hired at Carl's insistence as someone to keep the basement office clean, shows an interest in the caseload and prods Carl into action. Assad is a Syrian with a sketchy command of the Danish language. But he also proves to be smart and capable. Soon the two men are caught up in the case of a missing elected member of the government, Merete Lynggard. Merete disappeared from a ferry five years ago and was presumed drowned somewhere between Denmark and Germany. But her body never surfaced and as Carl reluctantly investigates he realizes that much was missed in the early investigation. The author intersperces Carl's investigation with chapters that describe the captivity of an unknown woman. It's not hard to guess who she is, but guessing whether Carl will find her or not is another thing. I was feeling so tense about her fate that I was tempted to peek at the end to see how it came out. I managed to hold myself back and am happy that I did so because it made the reading that much better - whatever the outcome. Reading as Carl re-emerges as the very competent police detective he'd once been and his interactions with the very interesting Assad (which were often funny) was a delight. If I have one quibble it is that some of the supporting cast felt a little sketched in and not as believable as the stars. I'm hoping that further installments in the series will allow them to be fleshed out a bit.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lewis Weinstein

    An excellent detective story, but much more. Fascinating characters, far from perfect, far from fully disclosed even by book's end. A somewhat improbable plot, but still imaginable, disclosed in bits and pieces that created the needed tension. Overall, a fine read and incentive to read more by this author. An excellent detective story, but much more. Fascinating characters, far from perfect, far from fully disclosed even by book's end. A somewhat improbable plot, but still imaginable, disclosed in bits and pieces that created the needed tension. Overall, a fine read and incentive to read more by this author.

  20. 5 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    When you start the first page of ‘The Keeper of Lost Causes’, start the first bag of microwave popcorn to cook. By the time the second bag of popcorn is ready to eat, this book is finally ready to entertain. It starts slow. Carl Morck is a good detective, but he no longer has people skills currently, in 2007, not that that was his personal strength in the first place. Instead, he possesses most an intuitive ability combined with a dogged methodology in the art of detecting, honed by 25 years on t When you start the first page of ‘The Keeper of Lost Causes’, start the first bag of microwave popcorn to cook. By the time the second bag of popcorn is ready to eat, this book is finally ready to entertain. It starts slow. Carl Morck is a good detective, but he no longer has people skills currently, in 2007, not that that was his personal strength in the first place. Instead, he possesses most an intuitive ability combined with a dogged methodology in the art of detecting, honed by 25 years on the Copenhagen police force, with 10 years in Homicide. Homicide Chief Marcus Jacobsen, his boss, is, fortunately, still supportive of his surly rude misogynist employee, who survived a deadly ambush; and Jacobsen protects Morck even as he tries to isolate him from his peers and superiors. As the book opens, Jacobsen has the rest of his staff working on the murder of a cyclist, but he has bumped Morck into upper management of a sort, a promotion, as the new head of a new department, Department Q, dedicated to ‘special cases’, including old unsolved ones. Morck is not happy with his promotion, and he decides to spend his days sleeping at his desk, feet propped up on the stacks of old case files. Morck is even more unhappy when he is assigned an energetic Muslim assistant and driver, Hafez el-Ahmed, an immigrant from Syria with a mysterious past. However, Morck discovers he can still feel something when he is shamed by Ahmed’s superior work ethic and energy. When Ahmed suggests exploring the disappearance of Lynggard almost 5 years earlier, Morck finally begins an investigation. Merete Lynggaard, vice-chairperson of the Democrats and frequent speaker in the Danish Parliament, was a darling of the media in 2002. However, although beautiful, talented and sharp-witted, she had sorrows which she kept hidden. (view spoiler)[Her family had been destroyed by a car accident in which she was a contributing factor. She had been tussling with her younger brother Uffe in the back seat, causing a deadly distraction for her beloved father, driving the family car. Unfortunately, the accident involved another family out for a drive as well, so her guilt was magnified. (hide spoiler)] Her past had given Merete a deepened seriousness, along with a imparting to her a reluctance for commitments except that for politics. In her chosen work, however, she was respected and popular. But not everyone must have loved her. (view spoiler)[A psychopath kidnapped her in 2002 and locked her into a cell for as long as she as lives. He has kept her alive for five years so far. He has decided on a suitable ending which he plans to set in motion - eventually. As far as he is concerned, justice is being served. (hide spoiler)] As far as the world knows, she disappeared almost 5 years ago under mysterious circumstances while traveling on a ferry. Did she fall off of the boat, or was she pushed? Department Q decides to find out. This book becomes, eventually, a fun genre read. It gradually grows in energy, mystery and entertainment. Below I have included part of my GR profile ‘About me’ : “My ratings are about my feelings as well as writing merit. I do not judge writing by whether all the commas are in the right place, or how many literary allusions are in the plot. I can and will rate a bad potboiler five stars if I stay up all night to finish it. For most genre novels my ratings have more to do with entertainment value first, plot consistency second, literary value third. For literary novels, I reverse that order. Non-fiction books I judge by their architecture, writing, and facts. Most books of fiction have plot holes one can drive a truck through. If I didn't emphasize the emotion over logic, my reviews would be excessively curmudgeon. I also choose to ignore plot deficits if the writing is superb. It helps that I enjoy low culture very much. Highbrow literature, even when excellent, often bores me with its cold glitter.” So, now you know, gentle reader, why I assigned this novel 4 stars despite the too slow start and plot holes! The Danish author writes originally in Danish, and I am an English-speaking reader, thus this is a translated book for me. As usual with translations, there is a clunky English-language stiffness in some of the sentences, especially in the early chapters, but it was not too distracting. I think the story builds a tad too slow as it takes its time setting up characterization and back story for the protagonists. Carl Morck, our series hero, is not a police detective I liked very much, either, but for a man who had survived a devastating ambush which killed several of his fellow detectives, I think he was painted quite accurately as to the emotional damage some survivors experience in the aftermath of the death of friends. His partner, Ahmed, has all of the charm Carl lacks. The author Jussi Adler-Olsen does establish vivid and interesting characters which I assume the series will be exploring in future novels, while introducing in alternative chapters - and years - the mystery that is at the heart of this book (the plot switches between 2002 and 2007). It takes a long time for the two plots to intersect, but when it does, the book becomes impossible to set down (view spoiler)[ because even though I guessed who was behind the kidnapping by the middle of the story, it has a VERY thrilling conclusion! (hide spoiler)] .

  21. 4 out of 5

    Harry

    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 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 plot is 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. Enjoy!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Carl Morck is a Danish policeman who got shot in the line of Duty, one of his colleagues died and the other one lies parlysed in a hospital. Carl suffers from PTSS he does not yet know this. His married life is a mess and he lives together with a lodger and his stepson. When he returns to his job he is not wanted very much and as luck happens politics are into creating a cold case department and there is some serious money involved. What easier that promoting Morck and make him head of this depa Carl Morck is a Danish policeman who got shot in the line of Duty, one of his colleagues died and the other one lies parlysed in a hospital. Carl suffers from PTSS he does not yet know this. His married life is a mess and he lives together with a lodger and his stepson. When he returns to his job he is not wanted very much and as luck happens politics are into creating a cold case department and there is some serious money involved. What easier that promoting Morck and make him head of this department and pocket the money. The department ends up being somewhere in the basement and it suits Morck who has no real interest in really working. That said when he avails himself to an assistent & car he finds that his assistant Assad is far more than he expected and he is pulled into one of those cold cases and it somehow awakens him. Merete Lynggaard a succesful young politician works hard and does not play romantically because she has no time. Her secret his her brother who like her survived an accident that killed both her parents and she feels guilty enough to care for him which takes up her spare time. When she goes on a trip with her brother to Berlin. On the boat trip she gets kidnapped and the whole world assumes she was drowned when she fell overboard. She finds out that there is somebody that has a rather large grudge with her and when she finds out who she prepares for death. Only she is not permitted to do so until she gets killed. Carl Morck & Assad will have to do their best to find the politician who they do not even know is alive but the more they look into her disappearance the less really makes sense. The birth of an interesting team. The book does not solve all the questions about Morck and his shooting and neither does it give the answers about Assad. But they will undoubtedly be picked up in the next books and I will seriously look them up. This first installment is a good taster for a series that might be interesting. The story is a simple one but well written and somewhat of a page-turner the last 100 pages. It kept me interested even if I was told who, what and when. The race to the climax was not hurt by the knowledge. Well advised reading for the people who fancy a good thriller.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    Except for the novels of Norwegian Karin Fossum, I hadn’t read any of the Scandinavian crime fiction that’s all the rage. Not Jo Nesbø, not Henning Mankell, not Maj Sjöwalland Per Wahlöö, not even Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. OK, so I live in a cave. For that reason, I really can’t compare Jussi Adler-Olsen’s The Keeper of Lost Causes to other Scandinavian crime novels. Are they all this dark? Are their protagonists as curmudgeonly as Adler-Olsen’s Carl Mørck, a police deputy Except for the novels of Norwegian Karin Fossum, I hadn’t read any of the Scandinavian crime fiction that’s all the rage. Not Jo Nesbø, not Henning Mankell, not Maj Sjöwalland Per Wahlöö, not even Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. OK, so I live in a cave. For that reason, I really can’t compare Jussi Adler-Olsen’s The Keeper of Lost Causes to other Scandinavian crime novels. Are they all this dark? Are their protagonists as curmudgeonly as Adler-Olsen’s Carl Mørck, a police deputy superintendent whose lost whatever little joy he had in life when one partner was killed and the other paralyzed during an ambush. For expedience’s sake, Carl gets “promoted” to head a cold-case department, nicknamed Department Q. His only staff is the deceptively sweet Hafez al-Assad, a man as adept at housekeeping as he is at ferreting out clues and getting witnesses to talk. I enjoyed The Keeper of Lost Causes much more than I thought I would, and I got to really appreciate both curmudgeon Carl and the under-estimated Assad. Their uneasy camaraderie rivaled the riveting mystery to make this debut novel a five-star read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    I really enjoyed this one! Loved Carl Morck and his right-hand man, Assad. Not much was revealed about Assad, hopefully will learn more in future books. I had quite a few laugh out loud moments with these two characters. This is a very gripping story about the disappearance (five years prior) of a very popular woman in Demark politics. The case was never solved. Carl Morck is the police officer assigned to head the new Department Q, which looks into cold cases. This is their first case. Looking I really enjoyed this one! Loved Carl Morck and his right-hand man, Assad. Not much was revealed about Assad, hopefully will learn more in future books. I had quite a few laugh out loud moments with these two characters. This is a very gripping story about the disappearance (five years prior) of a very popular woman in Demark politics. The case was never solved. Carl Morck is the police officer assigned to head the new Department Q, which looks into cold cases. This is their first case. Looking forward to reading all of these!

  25. 5 out of 5

    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 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 were either killed or seriously impaired for life. Carl has never been a lovable guy and this emotional event has not helped matters. He is sent to the basement, given his own department, Department Q, where he will work on cold cases. The first one that he and his Syrian assistant choose is that of the missing persons case of a prominent young female politician who has been missing, presumed accidentally drowned, five years ago. But Carl and Assad find out that many things were not properly investigated at the time. Everyone assumes that she is dead, but Merete isn't dead and won't be until her kidnapper's appointed time of execution. Carl is a flawed character with many problems but one that the reader routes for and agrees with as he fights against the establishment. His Syrian assistant, Assad, is both comic relief and a very intriguing character as he demonstrates great insight into detective work and has amazing contacts and capabilities which provoke interest in his mysterious past. Carl and Assad make a great team, their opposing characters bounce off each other as each gains great respect for the other. The case was fabulous! Everything one can want in a thriller. Full of twists and turns and fantastic descriptions of the victim's suffering. The point of view alternates between the present with Carl investigating the disappearance and with the past as we watch what happened to the victim unfold until the years meet up with the present. I must admit I guessed "whodunit" *very* early in the book, not from any clues, just simply because it felt like a logical surmise. This didn't spoil my reading one bit though as all the twisting and plot reveals only unfolded into an amazingly unguessable plot that put everything together in a very satisfying story for me. I can't wait for the next book which will be called Disgrace in the UK.

  26. 4 out of 5

    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 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 this is understandable, since he believes he could have prevented it. On top of that he is no longer young. So we meet a detective who has stopped trying to accomplish anything and treats his fellow officers and admin staff in a brusque and abrasive manner. It seems he no longer cares. His superiors try to solve the Mørck problem by moving him sideways into a new department – Department Q – intended to deal with cold cases. He recruits an assistant to keep his office clean and sort the files while he puts his feet up and reads the paper. He is named as Hafez el Assad, which we don’t believe for a minute since this is the name of the late Syrian dictator. Later on in the book Mørck himself begins to suspect that there is more to his assistant than meets the eye, but confronting him with his suspicions gets him nowhere, so Mørck and the reader are none the wiser. Some material held back for the next book? The file they end up working on, their first case, concerns a politician who disappeared from a ferry in 2002. The previous police investigation concluded that she had been lost overboard, perhaps as a result of an argument with her brother which was known to have occurred on deck. But the reader knows from the front cover that this is not correct. ‘Her 37th birthday. The seventh year she’s been imprisoned in a pressure chamber. They turn off the lights and turn up the pressure . . .’ However, there is a problem here because the back cover tells us that ‘She vanished five years ago’. So, is it seven or five? Have the publishers read the book? The confused reader will find an accurate timetable on page 379 compiled by the perpetrator himself. There are two intercut timelines. One begins with the imprisonment of the politician in 2002, the other in 2007 with Mørck and Assdad’s investigation. As the book progresses, the first catches up with the second till everything is in the here and now. The chapters dealing with Lynggaard in the pressure chamber must have been difficult to write, the problem being to introduce any development at all when nothing significant changes. The author manages this well and there are, in any case, fewer of these chapters. The politician is Merete Lynggaard, who seems to have led a blameless life, much of it spent looking after her brother Uffe, who had suffered brain damage in a car accident in which she had also been involved. (Although Lynggaard is a politician and the book is set in Denmark, readers should not expect the same level of political intrigue as in the Danish TV series, The Killing.) The question is who has kidnapped Lynggaard and why? Working out the why leads very quickly to the who, and in this case I figured it out before being told. If this book were simply a whodunit, this might take away most of the pleasure from reading on, however I didn’t find that at all. MERCY is an engrossing read because the main characters and the environments they inhabit are well realised. And the book has something else going for it. Despite Mørck’s lust for Mona Ibsen, a counsellor who tries to help him deal with his mental problems, there isn’t a single description of sexual congress from first page to last. The only change I would make is dispensing with the prologue, a graphic account of the damage Merete Lynggaard inflicts on herself attempting to escape from the pressure chamber. Presumably this is intended to function as a hook, but as hooks go it lacks tempting bait. Comparing MERCY to books by other Scandinavian writers I have recently read, I am much more impressed by this author than by Camilla Läckberg or Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and look forward to reading the next book in the series. There is an error on page 246: ‘Atomos was an a little shit.’

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    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 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 investigating a crime scene. One colleague is dead, one paralyzed from the neck down, and one, Carl, frozen inside. Always a moody and difficult colleague, Carl returns from his leave as virtually impossible to work with. So the chief of police takes the most logical step-he promotes to Carl to head of a department consisting of-Carl. Alone in the basement of the police headquarters, Carl is given a stack of impossible to solve cold cases. Carl fights for an assistant and gains Assad, a Middle Eastern man with a dubious past but a sharp brain and fierce loyalty to his supervisor. Assad is hired to keep the offices downstairs clean but rapidly promotes himself to sidekick. The first case they tackle is the 5 year old disappearance of a beautiful and somewhat mysterious politician, assumed drowned. As Carl attempts to go through the motions of working, he discovers too many inconsistencies to ignore and to his dismay begins to actually solve the case, which appears to be no accident at all but a kidnapping and possible murder. The characters are vivid and well-developed, especially Assad and Carl, as is their relationship. The book is enlivened by Carl's dark humor and perspective on his situation and the case-and the case (as well as Carl's life) is so bleak, the humor is welcome. I loved this book and was absorbed from beginning to end. I strongly recommend it to mystery/thriller fans, especially those who like their stories served on ice.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Celia

    Where have crime novels been all of my life? Not my usual genre for sure. But now I have found Jussi Adler-Olsen and his compelling way of writing into his novels characters with which I can empathize. This is my first by this author, one of Denmark's finest and most lauded crime novelists. It will not be my last. I did listen to this novel beautifully narrated by Erik Davies of the soft and soothing voice. 4.25 stars. Where have crime novels been all of my life? Not my usual genre for sure. But now I have found Jussi Adler-Olsen and his compelling way of writing into his novels characters with which I can empathize. This is my first by this author, one of Denmark's finest and most lauded crime novelists. It will not be my last. I did listen to this novel beautifully narrated by Erik Davies of the soft and soothing voice. 4.25 stars.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    Re-visit autumn 2018: Description: Carl Morck, a troubled detective, is assigned to the newly created 'Department Q', a basement-bound job filing cold cases. He is allocated an assistant, Assad, and between them they review the case files to determine which ones can be closed. Always one to go against orders, Morck throws them headlong into the mystery of a politician's disappearance during a ferry crossing five years earlier. Based on the first of Jussi Adler-Olsen's 'Department Q' series of nov Re-visit autumn 2018: Description: Carl Morck, a troubled detective, is assigned to the newly created 'Department Q', a basement-bound job filing cold cases. He is allocated an assistant, Assad, and between them they review the case files to determine which ones can be closed. Always one to go against orders, Morck throws them headlong into the mystery of a politician's disappearance during a ferry crossing five years earlier. Based on the first of Jussi Adler-Olsen's 'Department Q' series of novels. In Danish with English subtitles (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  30. 5 out of 5

    Fabi

    A police procedural where the suspense ratchets up slowly but surely to an almost unbearable peak. Starring an irascible detective who you want to hug and slap in turn and his lovable sidekick. This was an interesting story by an incredibly talented author. A huge thanks to my friend J for the rec.

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