Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Keeper of Lost Causes
by Jussi Adler-Olsen
translated by Lisa Hartford
2007 (U.S. translation 2011)
4 stars - great characters, interesting story
ALR Blue - no animal characters or scenes

Carl Morck, homicide detective, is returning to work after he and two of his colleagues were ambushed on what was supposed to be a routine crime scene investigation. 

Simultaneously, Carl's chief sees an opportunity to both get Carl out of his hair and grab a big bag of cash to fund his department. How? He's taking the money allocated for Department Q, a special investigations division dedicated to cold cases that have public interest. Yup, Carl gets a basement office, a rather unorthodox assistant, a stack of folders, and the rest of the money goes, well, elsewhere.

With nothing better to do, Carl picks up one of the cases. Five years ago, a rising political figure vanished without a trace, presumed to have fallen overboard from a ferry. 

For the remainder of the book, the reader is led back and forth in time. In the present we follow Carl's investigation and in the past we get glimpses of the circumstances surrounding the disappearance. 

It's a very good read with interesting characters. Yes, really we only learn about Carl (and through him about his assistant, Assad), but that was enough to keep me going. The pacing is excellent. The translation from Danish to English is seamless.

Jussi Adler-Olsen was awarded Sweden's Glass Key Award in 2010 for his third department Q novel. That works for me. At least two more sure things to put in my queue.

1 comment:

  1. A book where you have to use your brain while reading it? Sounds good. Cold cases can make for great stories. Amazing that it was translated from another language and made the transition well.