I haven’t read many Scandinavian crime novels. I started with Stieg Larsson and read a few Wallander books by Henning Mankell, and I was a bit leery of venturing further into Scandinavian stuff. Larsson’s books are quite gruesome for me, and I was mentally exhausted by the end of every Mankell novel. He isn’t easy on Wallander at all, and the outlook is pretty grim. Thankfully, Detective Carl Morck and his assistant Assad aren’t nearly as depressed as Wallander. That’s not to say that Morck is a light and cheery guy: he has a pretty severe case of PTSD and has issues with the Copenhagen police bureaucracy, but that’s common in police procedurals.
This novel is the first in the Department Q series by Adler-Olsen. Morck and Assad are the two employees of th edepartment charged with investigating cases requiring “special scrutiny.” Translation: they deal with long-open cases that are somehow high-profile. Their first case is the mysterious dispearance and presumed death of Member of Parliament Merete Lynggaard. There are two other investigations occurring in this book: the recent murder of a cyclist and the less recent murder of one of Morck’s colleagues. The plot was good but not overwhelmingly intricate, the characters ar einteresting as well, and, best of all, there are some light moments between Morck and Assad. Is Denmark just less dreary than Sweden? I’m very much looking forward to book two.
THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Publication Date: August 23, 2011