Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark's premier crime writer. His books routinely top the best-seller lists in northern Europe, and he's won just about every Nordic crime-writing award, including the prestigious Glass Key Award - also won by Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson, and Jo Nesbo. Now, we're thrilled to introduce him to America.
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.
©2011 Jussi Adler-Olsen (P)2011 Penguin
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
Nice sense of Danish culture surrounds a dark procedural noir detective tale. After listening to Stieg Larsson, thought I'd try Jussi Adler-Olsen. And now I'm thinking that the paucity of daylight and heat up there near the arctic's resulted in writers who lurk in murky rooms. If I outline the plot and story arc... this will sound like... like... depressing. BUT... BUT... it's not. Look, if your seeking a hair-brained romp, go to the Disney section. But if you like puzzles and mazes bathed in challenging grimness.. Hey, this is an interesting trip.
And Erik Davies? I don't agree with some who found him weak. On the contrary, he acts the parts well with clear definition and emotion... at least the emotion you'd expect in those grim, cold, dark places... Brrrrrrrr....
Author of Stitch Alchemy
I've been on a Scandi lit bender and each book gets better. I am in love with Department Q and it's two and only sleuths. It's possible that I might have a hissy-fit waiting for the next book to be turned into an audio. Keeper of Lost Causes kept me riveted until the very last five minutes. It was a roller-coaster thrill ride, with no sense that you knew the outcome. A truly unique and twisted plot by an outstanding author. The performance was pitch-perfect. The characters are etched in my mind and my heart, each as sure individuals. This is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to. Highly recommended! Fast paced, fascinating and with characters as flawed and wonderful as exist in literature.
I love to read books set in interesting places or historical settings. I especially love mysteries and thrillers.
I love Scandinavian mysteries and thrillers. I find that the scenery and culture along with their descriptions about their governments and daily life make for a fascinating background to a story. So when the mystery or characters are excellent, too, it is like the icing on the cake. If you enjoy books by Stieg Larsson, Jo Nesbo, Camilla Lackberg and Henning Mankell, you will love Jussi Adler-Olsen's first translated book.
Adler-Olsen has written such a compelling, but unique book, it is hard to compare to others, except for the obvious similaries with background. The main character, Carl Morck, of Copenhagen's homicide squad is transferred to a new "Department Q" that is responsible for investigating cold cases. Morck is a very flawed, but brilliant, criminal investigator. His personality would have held my interest, but every character introduced by Adler-Olsen was three dimensional and not stereotypical. My absolute favorite is the mysterious Syrian immigrant, Assad, that was hired as Morck's custodian in the basement facility. Assad turns out to have an incredible talent for memory and police procedure. I love the interactions between Morck and Assad -- just wonderful writing!
You will find the mystery is so different than any other you may have encountered, that I will let it develop for you. It builds and builds and grabs you in a very strong hold.
Like most Scandinivian writing, there is some melancholy and darkness that dictates the mood of the book. Carl's interactions with his seriously injured former partner will bring tears to your eyes. How do these wonderful authors get me so involved with their characters and stories. I just can't stop with this book. I look forward to reading the new book out by Adler-Olsen. My only worry is that Audible cannot translate his books as fast as I want to listen to them.
The narrator did a fantastic job with the accents, different characters, mood and speed of the story.
The best part about this book for me was the look into Danish society -- how its parliament, criminal justice, mental health service, and economic systems work, how its mass media function, how its families have problems just as ours do, and how traditional White Danes are experiencing workplace life as more People of Color with different religions move in from the southern latitudes. I loved hearing the Scandinavian accents of the narrator in all his voices. The protagonist and his sidekick were great characters. Those are the same reasons I am a fan of MHZ's International Mystery series on TV. I am hooked on this genre and can't resist reading it -- even when there are negative aspects to a particular story.
That was the case with this book. The torture performed on the victim in this book was so gruesome, detailed, and prolonged that I had to avoid listening to it before bed or I would experience really unpleasant thoughts. It was as if the author was trying to exceed the shock value of all previous works. That did not raise its value in my mind. On TV, I turn torture off. Unfortunately this book roped me into listening to it all the way through. It's depressing to know that the best minds of our society, the ones who still think and read, are being marketed with such -- I don't know what to call it -- evil. What will happen to our society in the future? Where is the redeeming value of our literature? No wonder there are people in the Third World who hold us in such disreguard! I am beginning to feel very old.
I'll start with the negative, which is pretty simple and straightforward. The crime and the motive are far fetched (which actually do not actually reveal themselves until late in the book).
If you can get past that and accept the premise of the crime, then the book is put together quite nicely. The characters are interesting, and overall the book is entertaining.
The narrator did a fine job. If you don't mind hard to follow names, cities and the accents, you'll enjoy the listen!
I am not sure I'll seek out another Adler-Olsen book. I gave this one a try as a change of pace. I've been trying Norway, Sweden and Denmark based authors lately as I really liked the Stieg Larrson books, and have enjoyed the diversion - This one is one of the better listens of the bunch so far. Overall recommended!
worth the hassle
Not really on edge, but I kept thinking about the book when I wasn;t listening to it.
I actually found the accents rather fun, but it was hard to keep certain characters straight because of the similarities of tone.
no - in fact it was how the main character gradually and grudgingly came into the case that held its charm. It was interesting that I cared more about the case at hand than the detective did for most of the book.
I thought it was time to take a break from mysteries for a while - they were all starting to sound alike until I listened to this. The main character and the relationship between him and his assistant were just great. Looking forward to more from Dept Q.
Retired book buyer/book manager for wholesale distributor in the 5 largest northeast states. Prolific reader who was inundated with ARCs.
Want a listen that is REALLY a unique thriller? Go for it. From the first few minutes to the end you will alternate between a damsel in distress (tortured for years) and the methodical policeman and his sidekick who are given this cold case (for political expediency) seeking to find her. The damsel does not know who her torturers are and the plodding policeman has little or no help from his police force. Told as well as any excellent thriller with an impeccable sense of timing by the author. Can't wait for his next book.
Everything about this book was unique. The location, the rhythm, plot and the time sequence. While it was a hard book to get into (it took me about a quarter of it) the rewards of having finished a great crime novel was well worth it.
I cannot wait for more books from this author.
A few must reads: Mr. Mercedes, Narrows Gate, Cop Town, Bomb Proof, Wayfaring Stranger, The Son (Nesbo), Dept Q series...
This is book one of the Department Q series.
Dept Q is an underfunded department specializing in cold cases. The government has given it top priority, but the police chief gives it litte thought. The department is manned by 3 misfits.
Carl Mork is the lead man, by far the best detective on the entire force, but he is also insubordinate, impossible to work with and impulsive. No one likes him or wants to work with him. So his chief puts him the newly formed Department Q.
Assad is a real mystery figure. He's Syrian, speaks poor English, (this was translated from Norwegian.), and no one seems to know how he came to be employed at all. They don't have a personnel file on him, no one has ever seen the family he speaks of, and no one seems to know where he lives.
Rose is another strange character. She works when she feels like it, is at least Morks equal with insubordination, she wears her emotions on her sleeve, and is just maybe a bit mentally ill.
Carl Mork , Rose and Assad have a charisma and synergy that makes you want see them go at it for years to come. They are smart, resourceful, mysterious, ruthless and hilarious.
I love the entire series.
I purchased this book because the reviews were so favorable and I liked the narrator...at first. But overall this was a disappointing listen. Frankly, I think the print review in the Guardian has fallen victim to the silly idea that if something is European it must be good, and if a mystery story is Scandinavian, then it is superlative. But the fact is, the story here is really implausible and the writing sophomoric. I started counting the number of hackneyed noir-like expressions and then lost count. It almost seems like the author had just taken an adult ed writing class. What the real kicker was was the narration, though. Davies is pretty good until he tries to put on Danish accents. All the characters sound constipated. Danish people do not speak English with a Danish accent; they speak Danish. A far better approach would have been to do what Simon Vance did with the Larsen series, and just speak English like an Englishman. It is WAY more authentic and far less annoying. One last pet peeve: his mispronunciation of the German place name "Schleswig Holstein" makes NO sense, especially when he tried so hard to pretend to be able to put on a Danish accent. No Dane would have gottten that wrong.
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