Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Book Review - The Keeper of Lost Causes - Jussi Adler-Olsen
Title: The Keeper of Lost Causes
Author: Jussi Adler-Olsen
Review: When it comes to the mystery genre it typically is the plot that makes a great book. While the Keeper of Lost Causes does present a solid mystery, it isn’t that compelling. It has an over the top crime that you would never find in real life. I would describe it but it would spoil what little mystery there is. I usually read the Nordic crime novels because they are brilliant at sticking to realistic police procedurals that take the reader through the legal landscape wherein you join the protagonist in solving the crime.
So on that front this book was a miss for me, but there is another way a book can be a big win for me; character. If the author presents a fictional world populated by really interesting characters I will read everything about them. Think of your favorite actor; not everything they make will be that great, but you will watch it for their performance. Jussi Adler-Olsen has created a crime fighting team that is one of the best I have read in a long time.
Inspector Morck is the grizzled veteran who barely manages to be social on his best days, and he is on a slow downward spiral. After a shoot out wherein he failed to act, he has lost his team, to death or crippling injury. With no will to work, and not generally disliked by all he is regulated to the basement to head up department Q, the cold cases. Paired with him is a general assistant and naively optimistic Muslim immigrant Assad. He loves police work and wants nothing more than to be part of it all; his joy overcomes Morck’s exterior and together they form a unlikely duo.
Morck and Assad have formed one of the most enjoyable, most delightful teams in mystery fiction I have read in a long time. While true to their own personalities they still manage to be brilliant together. Every frustration felt by Morck is so real, and Assad keeps surprising with hidden depths of genius, be that at case work or just getting things done. I would read about these two working the Encyclopedia Brown case files, they are that good. Here’s hoping there next case is something a little more substantial, I am anxiously waiting for the translation.
Quick Review: 5 Stars out of 5.
Why I Read it: Love Nordic Noir
Where I Obtained the Book: From my local library.
Synopsis: 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.
Author Biography: Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark's premier crime writer. His books routinely top the bestseller 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, Dutton is thrilled to introduce him to America.
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