Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen, translated by Lisa Hartford



The book's synopsis from the publisher's website:

The Keeper of Lost Causes, the first installment of Adler- Olsen's Department Q series, features the deeply flawed chief detective Carl MØrck, who used to be a good homicide detective-one of Copenhagen's best. Then a bullet almost took his life. Two of his colleagues weren't so lucky, and Carl, who didn't draw his weapon, blames himself.
So a promotion is the last thing Carl expects.
But it all becomes clear when he sees his new office in the basement. Carl's been selected to run Department Q, a new special investigations division that turns out to be a department of one. With a stack of Copenhagen's coldest cases to keep him company, Carl's been put out to pasture. So he's as surprised as anyone when a case actually captures his interest. A missing politician vanished without a trace five years earlier. The world assumes she's dead. His colleagues snicker about the time he's wasting. But Carl may have the last laugh, and redeem himself in the process.
Because she isn't dead . . . yet.
  I really, really enjoyed this crime novel. One of the best I've read (European and otherwise) in a long time. Everything just clicked for me; the pace, the characters, the suspense and the setting worked beautifully and made up for a memorable read in the mysteries department. I absolutely loved Assad, the assistant to Carl, the head of the Department Q (that makes up all of two members of the said department). He is the strongest character in the novel and his interactions with Carl caused me to chuckle quite a few times and helped me enjoy the whole story all the more. 

Call me slow-witted but, contrary to other reviewers, it wasn't obvious to me who the 'perpetrator' was from early on in the novel at all. Which wouldn't have made all that much difference in the end anyway because The Keeper of Lost Causes is a lot more than just a simple 'whodunit' book. I'm very glad it's the beginning of the series and will be jumping on the next installment when it hits American market. 

Let's not forget about the translator, Lisa Hartford. A lot of credit goes to her for doing a wonderful job giving us this Danish crime novel without a blemish and translated it so that an American reader can easily transport him/herself into the world of contemporary Denmark and to the streets of Copenhagen.

FTC: I received an e-galley from the publisher via NetGalley.