Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Keeper of Lost Causes, by Jussi Adler-Olsen

This very highly regarded novel is just not my cup of tea.  Well written, sure, but just too dark for me.   Perhaps that's just the nature of Scandinavian writing.

The hero, barely, is a police detective, Carl Mørck.   Mørck has problems:  he just survived an attack that killed two of his police colleagues and paralyzed another.   He is lazy, cranky, and all around difficult to deal with.  His superiors can't just fire or demote him, given the recent attack, so they promote him to a one-man mission, "Department Q," to look at cold cases.

A better hero is Mørck's assistant, Assad, who takes the work seriously and thus pushes Mørck into action.

Meanwhile, we're taken back in time every chapter or so, to follow the sad story of Merete Lynggaard, victim of a childhood auto crash that killed her family and injured her brother.  She ends up abducted in this parallel story, and Mørck ends up investigating her disappearance.

So what didn't I like about this well written, interesting novel?  I don't have much patience for Mørck, as much as I'm amused by Assad.  And, the tragedy that befalls Lynggaard is just too horrible to enjoy reading in any sense.

The Keeper of Lost Causes: The First Department Q Novel

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