Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Julie's Review: The Keeper of Lost Causes

The Keeper of Lost Causes Summary: 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. 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.

Review: Any time there is a Scandinavian crime novel, it gets compared to Steig Larsson's Millennium Trilogy and I don't think that is always fair or correct. The Keeper of Lost Causes is a well executed and thrilling novel. The way that Mr. Adler-Olsen is a gifted story teller. Off the bat, you immediately empathize with Carl and his situation. Sure, he's a bit grumpy but in crime novels, I often find that is what makes a great detective. Carl might be a bit more irritable given the fact that he and his partners were just in a deadly confrontation that he's coming back from leave from. One of his partners is dead and the other one is paralyzed, leaving Carl with the guilt of being both alive and essentially O.K.

As Carl returns from leave, he is quickly moved to a new role as the head of Department Q. Carl is not happy about this at all, so he decides to kick his feet up and take his time looking at these cold cases. He is given an assistant but this person is mainly supposed to clean the basement office. Before Carl even has a chance to blink, Assad is doing more than cleaning; he's assisting with choosing a case & then with the case itself.

Carl and Assad pick up the case of Merete Lynggard, who went missing in 2002 and presumed dead. As Carl and Assad dig into the case, they find that a lot of clues were left untouched.

While we are first introduced ourselves to Merete from the beginning pages of the novel, her story is told from both Carl's point of view and her own throughout the novel.

Merete was definitely not just a case in this novel. She was a fully fleshed out 3 dimensional character, whom you rooted for until the very end.

Mr. Adler-Olsen does a fantastic job of keeping you guessing who's the kidnapper of Merete. There are many suspects during the course of the investigation and each one seems plausible.

I loved the way the story unfolded and how it went went back and forth from 2002 to 2007. As a reader, you felt the urgency of the situation before Carl and Assad, which leads to even more tension as they try to solve the case.

I love crime/thriller/mystery novels. They've always sucked me in and keep me coming back for more. I can't wait for the rest of the Department Q series to be released here in the U.S. According to Wikipedia, there are 4 books in the series released in Denmark. They can't come out quick enough here for me. I will have to wait since I am not fluent in Dutch. ;)

If you are looking for a great ride to end your summer or begin your fall.
The Keeper of Lost Causes is being released by Dutton Books on 8/23/2011.

Final Take: 5/5

This is a case where being on Twitter is wonderful. I received the book simply by following Dutton Books and submitting to one of their contests.

I also just learned that Mr. Adler-Olsen and I share a birthday. So, Happy Belated Birthday!



Farin August 17, 2011 at 9:29 AM  

Great review Julie! As you know, I loved this book, and I'm so happy you liked it too!

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