Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q #1) by Jussi Adler-Olson

Plume; Reprint edition (July 31 2012)
416 pages - 17 $

Well, there it is, I got into: Jussi Adler-Olsen's book, the not so new Danish pertussis. After Jo Nesbo (Norway) (I looove his books), Camilla Läckberg (Sweden)(very good), Arnaldur Indriðason (Iceland)(too depressing for my taste), Karin Fossum (Norway)(not bad) and others... I tried agin a Scandinavian author. I admit that the plethora of price he has won largely influenced my choice (but at least this time it is not the cover, mwahaha).

The first book in New York Times bestseller Jussi Adler-Olsen's electrifying Department Q series.

The #1 international bestseller from Jussi Adler-Olsen, author of The Absent One—perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Oh, and by golly! Can editors stop bringing any new author as The new Stieg Larsson? Some of them were writing long before him! (Jo Nesbo, Camilla...)(and Millenium is not THAT good!)

Carl Mørck used to be one of Copenhagen’s best homicide detectives. Then a hail of bullets destroyed the lives of two fellow cops, and Carl—who didn’t draw his weapon—blames himself. So a promotion is the last thing he expects. But Department Q is a department of one, and Carl’s got only a stack of Copenhagen’s coldest cases for company. His colleagues snicker, but Carl may have the last laugh, because one file keeps nagging at him: a liberal politician vanished five years earlier and is presumed dead. But she isn’t dead … yet.

Darkly humorous, propulsive, and atmospheric, The Keeper of Lost Causes introduces American readers to the mega-bestselling series fast becoming an international sensation.

What's good about that book

Well, it just took the drive from Quebec to New York to read it in one sitting! The book in writen from Merete and Carl's perspective and I confess that Merete's part reminded me of Alex by Pierre Lemaître (for the prisoner side of course, the rest differs greatly). Merete uses all sorts of techniques to avoid sinking into madness as a long isolation can bring. This part, which may be difficult to read for some, is very well done and clearly highlights her intelligence and fighter side. Carl is just as intelligent (except when it comes to his wife) and his qualities as an investigator do not need to be demonstrated. It's ultimately his morose and cynical character that made ​​him lose the support of his colleagues and his superiors. However, this is a character that one begins to appreciate, probably due to the interaction he has with Hafez. Hafez, the Syrian struggling to find some words in Danish but who can easily find the smallest clues and details. One wonders what was his past, why he came to seek refuge in Denmark and I can't wait to read the other books in the series to learn more about him. 

Early in the book, I knew by whom and why Merete is sequestered, but it did not remove the charm of the book that is greatly due to the duo Carl-Hafez. This unlikely duo is very endearing. The characters are cleverly constructed, which is always nice in a book, one can feel their emotions, their hatred and delusion, even for the secondary characters. As for the story, I don't know if the author purposely leave us guessing so easily, but it speeds up from the moment you know who did it. Everything goes logically according to what's discovered by Carl-Hafez and to Merete's story, which unveiled gradually as the book goes, gives us indices. In the end, it's a race against the clock that plays to free Merete (is she still alive?) 

Throughout the story, we pass from present - in the investigation to find Merete and other ongoing investigations in which mingles Carl - to the past - from when Merete is abducted to the conclusion. The epilogue is perhaps a bit pointless and easy, but doesn't spoil the overall impression left by this breathless novel. 

In a nutshell

A very nice discovery for me. Another author who has rallied me in Scandinavian writing! The excellent tandem Carl-Hafez, the plot well done, a breathless end, it's a 5/5 for me.

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