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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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Fantastic New Scandinavian Series!!

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.

58 of 64 people found this review helpful

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  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 11-28-12

Dark, Cold, and Danish

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....

68 of 76 people found this review helpful

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Maximum Thrill and Fabulous Characters

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.

79 of 89 people found this review helpful

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  • Marco
  • O' Fallon, IL, USA
  • 03-25-13

Confusing Accent, Classic Scandinavian thriller

The story is somewhat spoiled by the narrator's attempt to outfit most characters with a deep Danish accent: sometimes you can't tell one apart from another. The good news is that it sometimes sounds like a meeting between Arnold Schwartzenegger and his Saturday Night Live parody.
Otherwise a nice tempo and an entertaining thriller, with all the ingredients we have become accustomed to in Scandinavian stories: political correctness hinders investigations, exceptionally smart criminals, hypocritical politicians, a few obvious clues overlooked by our hero and a climactic ending. Not bad.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

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The narration almost ruins the experience...

Every single time the narrator, Eric Davies, speaks in a character's voice, he attempts a Danish accent. And every single one is horrible, and pulls you right out of the experience. His third person narration is fine, clear and crisp and energetic and NOT ACCENTED. But his attempts at Danish accents all have a bizarre hint of Southern America drawls. Very, very disappointing. Strongly recommend reading this one with your eyes, not your ears.

61 of 72 people found this review helpful

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Skandanavia does it again-pure excellence

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.

26 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Let's Start at the Very Beginning...

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.

40 of 49 people found this review helpful

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Do it for Denmark!

A better alternative to Jo Nesbo

"Lost Causes" is about a detective who is placed as head of the newly minted "Dept. Q" - if only to keep him, and his brash manners, away from everyone else. The Force won't fire him, however, because of his exemplary past...and he knows it.

So, he is instead relegated to a tiny basement office in a such a way that one cannot help feeling a humorous empathy with the aging detective. Cold-case files, and Dead-ends are his company... that, and a Middle-eastern man with fire and talent, and umm, a Transylvanian accent (sorry, couldn't help it).

Detective Carl Morck's past is anything but funny, and serves to bring gravity to the story.
The mystery to be solved leads to a harrowing conclusion, with real-life consequences. The ending is not as happy as most 'western' endings, but not as dark as some Scandinavian books. All-in-all Olsen did an admirable job of eliminating gratuitous and tasteless filth, and what was included was handled in such a way as to not glorify it needlessly.

Det. Morck was a likable protagonist. The Antagonist, when he was discovered, was despicable in equal measure. It was a good versus evil in the end, which can add so much to a mystery. It wasn't the greatest book I've ever read in this genre, but it was enjoyable, and I will likely read another Olsen novel.

Bottom Line: recommended to fans of the genre.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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great characters

If you could sum up The Keeper of Lost Causes in three words, what would they be?

worth the hassle

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Not really on edge, but I kept thinking about the book when I wasn;t listening to it.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I actually found the accents rather fun, but it was hard to keep certain characters straight because of the similarities of tone.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

26 of 32 people found this review helpful

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Narration Issues

This book may have wonderful characters and a terrific moody, dark plot but the narration ruined it for me. The reader sounded like Arnold Schwarzenegger with a cold. The characters were so hard to follow--they all sounded exactly the same and monotone. This is a long complex book and if you can't follow or understand the narrator it's a waste and you will be lost. Listen to the sample carefully to be sure you will be ok with it. I was not.

50 of 63 people found this review helpful