Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.
I’ve skipped books two and three in the Department Q series not because I disliked the series or the first outing in the series, The Keeper of Lost Causes, but just because I’ve been reading other things. After reading this interesting interview with Adler-Olsen earlier in the year, I thought I may try the series again, and while I enjoyed this outing, I have a few reservations.
The Purity of Vengeance involves Mørck, Assad, and Rose investigating a cold case involving a missing brothel owner who disappeared over twenty years before. The other timeline in the novel involves the life of Nete Hermanson, a woman who kills her husband and tries killing herself in the early pages of the novel as a man she meets at a party threatens to expose her past life. Nete’s past is the main focus of the story. The old missing persons investigation intersects with Nete’s story, and there are connections to ultra-right-wing politicians as well. Finally, the novel also advances the plot of Mørck’s wounding in a prior attack that left one of his fellow officers dead and another paralyzed. Thankfully, Adler-Olsen juggles the plots well, and the pace is fairly brisk.
My reservation with this book is the same one I had with The Keeper of Lost Causes: the crime Department Q investigates in this one is another one where women are horribly treated in myriad ways. In the first book it was an indictment of one crazed killer and his torture of a female politician, and in this, book four, it’s an indictment of a large group that was responsible for forced sterilizations of a large number of women. It’s heavy subject matter, and I feel strange saying that the book was written well or that I was interested in the ongoing storylines of Mørck and Assad when the main plot was so horrible to women. I hope not all books in this proposed ten-book series are as brutal to women as this one is.
Find below a list of the US and UK titles for the books in the series:
- The Keeper of Lost Causes/ Mercy
- The Absent One/ Disgrace
- A Conspiracy of Faith/ Redemption
- The Purity of Vengeance/ Contempt