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2.0 out of 5 starsCarl jumps the shark
Reviewed in the United States on March 6, 2020
Assad is my favorite character in this, once one of my favorite, series. This volume is all about him so I should have loved it but somehow I didn't. Firstly, I don't really like stories about terrorism (or about drug dealers and mobsters) so the plot was never going to get my attention to begin with. But there are other things that bothered me. A Spanish journalist who doesn't speak German or Arabic and that supposedly only grasps the basics of what the terrorists say but somehow manages to understand all of their dialogues and the whole, very complicated plot. A lot of coincidences that just work out to fill plot holes. Tons of paragraphs talking about the characters' feelings (I get it, what happened to Assad is beyond horrible, but I like action in my books) and a subplot that is vaguely connected to everything but is just simply stupid. Sorry Jussi, I will still read the next installment but I wasn't impressed with this one.
It's taken 16 years for Assad to do something to find his wife and daughters despite his deep seated love for them? I guess he didn't love them enough, having knowingly left them to be physically and sexually abused by an arch enemy. Too many bonehead mistakes by Assad, Carl and others of their police crew . And wow, it didn't take Rose any time at all to go from being psychologically incapacitated for 2 years to becoming inciteful, fully in control of her emotions and able to command her supposedly normal and saner colleagues. Though I've read all of the prior books in the Department Q series and really enjoyed them, this particular book was a huge disappointment.
ooooooooooo, i so wanted this to be good. Department Q stories (in the past) have been fabulous. not this one. yeah, it gives us background on Assad, but it's not even believable. and don't even get me started on Rose's re-entry....maybe the author is getting tired of his cast.
5.0 out of 5 starsAt last! We learn Assad's baackstory
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2020
In the previous seven books in the series of Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Department Q police procedurals, we’ve gotten to know the three, and eventually four, principals in that basement office in Copenhagen Police HQ. There’s Inspector Carl Mørck, ostensibly the boss but frequently a follower rather than a leader. His “secretary,” the schizophrenic Rose, and, more recently, Gordon, sent by the hostile head of homicide to spy on them, both work with Carl (but often ignore his orders). And then there’s Assad, Hafez el-Asaad actually, whose mysterious Middle Eastern background has baffled the Department and readers alike ever since he turned up with a mop in the basement. Now, in the eighth book, we finally learn Asaad’s story — and what a story it is!
For starters, his name isn’t Hafez el-Asaad. We figured that, since the name seems Syrian and we’re fairly sure Asaad is Iraqi. But there is so much more to learn about the man, and it’s at the heart of the story in Victim 2117.
The latest Department Q police procedural is a complex international tale
About that victim. She’s an older woman whose body has washed up on a beach in Cyprus, one of many victims from a boatload of Syrian refugees who perished in the Mediterranean. She is, in fact, the 2,117th refugee to die in the sea, or so the news media tell us. And this complex and deeply engrossing novel is all about the consequences of her death for five seemingly unconnected people: a Catalan reporter who sees the woman’s story as his mealticket; a deeply troubled teenage boy in suburban Copenhagen; an Iraqi terrorist leading a group of suicide bombers; Asaad himself; and, of course, Carl Mørck. Adler-Olsen does a brilliant job weaving these tales together, steadily building suspense toward a shattering conclusion.
About the author
Jussi Adler-Olsen has been writing professionally since 1984. He is the author of eight other books, both fiction and nonfiction, in addition to the eight books in the Department Q series. He writes in Danish. Adler-Olsen is also a publisher, editor, and entrepreneur.
5.0 out of 5 starsDepartment Q rides an emotional roller coaster through deadly terrain
Reviewed in the United States on March 6, 2020
This thriller has it all — a cadre of vicious terrorists about to blow up a landmark building and crowds of people in Berlin; a deranged young man in Copenhagen about to go on a killing spree with a samurai sword; Carl Morck’s lover Mona about to have a baby at age fifty-one; bossy Rose back on the job after her recent trauma, now forty-four pounds heavier; and most fascinating of all, Assad’s horrific back story.
I’m assuming you’ve read all the Department Q thrillers, as I have. Every member of the team is eccentric and engaging. But Assad, with his surprising combat skills, has always been a mystery. The mystery is fully explained in this book. Assad’s struggle to rescue his family from a vengeful “holy warrior” results in heart-rending scenes and lots of violent action.
Victim 2117 is a tour de force of intricate plotting. Jussi Adler-Olsen keeps two potentially tragic cases going at once, with plenty of personal dramas in the mix. The scenes of torture and brutality are somewhat hard to take, but if you can handle that, you’re in for riveting reading experience.
If this is your first Department Q then stop now and go back to the first one. Otherwise you may think Carl, Assad, Rose etc are semi normal. This is a well crafted adventure with multiple crimes and a slew of characters.Sometimes I wanted to skim due to the horrific brutality that is part of any homicide, but in particular, the gut wrenching nightmare of religious zealots and suicide bombers. A worthy effort to mirror it to the insanity of a person growing up under the guidance of violent video games.
I've always anticipated each new Department Q story. The plot was always entertaining and made me care even more about the characters--not this time. I couldn't get into it or through it. Sadly, bad enough that it's my last Department Q.
If you are a fan of Department Q books, you will finally read about Assad and his back story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As usual, there are the humorous parts, although with this story there were points where I literally laughed aloud (a couple times embarassingly so, in places I was supposed to be quiet). I don't want to give anything away! This is definitely my favorite in the entire series. I just wish I hadn't read it so fast...
1.0 out of 5 starsVery, very, very (did I say "very"?) Disappointing
Reviewed in Canada on April 30, 2020
We all await with anticipation new books form this author in the famous Dept. Q series. What a HUGE disappointment. Three aspects of a story jumping from one to another each chapter - with the author seeming to be political and now adding issues of and commentary on social justice, immigrant issues, Syria atrocities, and Assad's lengthy background (boring, and has now shattered the mystery of Assad). At the 40% read point, I seriously thought of setting the book aside. The joys of a true Dept. Q. crime and mystery are largely absent in what really is a bizarre novel. I truly hope Olsen returns to his roots in his next offering.