Author: Jussi Adler-Olsen
Release Date: 12th May 2011
Source: Amazon Vine
Star Rating: 4 out of 5
Purchase Online: Amazon uk bookdepository.com
*Please note that Mercy is the UK name for this book, in the US it is called The Keeper of Lost Causes
Sometimes you get a second chance . . .
Carl Mørck used to be a good homicide detective. One of Copenhagen’s best, in fact. Then a bullet almost took his life. Two of his colleagues weren’t so lucky, and Carl, because he didn’t draw his gun, blames himself. Now his erratic behaviour is going to cost him his job. It’s just a matter of time.
So promotion is the last thing he expects. Newly created Department Q deals with ‘cases of special focus’. His former colleagues think it’s a joke – a home for hopeless cases. Carl, leading it, will fit right in. Except that his first case is that of missing politician Merete Lynggaard. She vanished five years ago. Everyone assumes she’s dead. Everyone assumes it’s a waste of time.
Everyone, that is, except Carl. Because Merete isn’t dead – at least not yet.
So, last month I read The Snowman because Jo Nesbo was the next Stieg Larsson, this month it's the turn of another Scandinavian thriller writer, Jussi Adler-Olsen, to be touted as Mr Larsson's replacement. As with Nesbo, I can see why the publishers do this - to grab our attention and make us buy their books, but again I don't think it's a fair description. Jussi Adler-Olsen is a talented writer who should be sold on his own merits.
As with many of the popular detectives Morck is not the easiest of people to get along with and his attitude has caused him to be sidelined to the newly established Department Q to look into cold cases. His first case is that of Merete Lynggaard who disappeared from a ferry in 2002. Everyone presumes that Merete died, possibly through falling (or being pushed) overboard. The reader knows differently as the chapters are told both from the point of view of Morck and then from Lynggaard who is actually being held prisoner.
To help Morck with his investigations is his assistant Assad, originally employed as a cleaner but who has great intuition and obviously knows his way around a case file. As a character I really liked Assad, he is quiet and unassuming while being extremely conscientious, he has a dark past which is hinted at although the details are never provided, I'm hoping that as this is the first in a series of books (the second to be published in 2012 and the third in 2013) that his character will be allowed to develop more and we will get to learn a bit more about the troubles from his past.
Although the story is narrated from the two viewpoints, I felt that the experiences of Lynggaard could have been played out more, each of her chapters is only short and although I can see why it was done I would have liked for there to have been more emphasis on the physical and mental problems that someone in her position would have faced, I don't think these were drawn out enough and so for the most part I don't think her situation was shown to be as bad as it could have been, although this did improve towards the end. There was an added twist to Lynggaards imprisonment that I thought was very original, but again, not enough was made of this aspect of the storyline.
The novel itself was quite fast paced throughout and towards the end I was racing through the chapters to get to the end to find out what happened, even though I had guessed who the perpetrator was quite early on, it's a shame I have to wait 12 months for the follow-up.