Wednesday, February 12, 2014

the keeper of lost causes

A couple of Saturday nights ago I went to the grand opening of an independent book store with some family.  We're all big readers, but I haven't bought new books in a long time, since, for the last few years at least, I've been moving around and living overseas.  In a show of support, I thought I'd look around and pick out a book to take home with me.  You can't tell from the pictures (mostly because I feel sort of like a weirdo photographing strangers) but it was packed! People milling around, chatting, eating lots of food (they were coming around with trays of different pastries and other goodies), and celebrating good old-fashioned hold-a-book-in-your-hand reading.  I'm really glad they had such a good turn out.

I decided to go for a novel called The Keeper of Lost Causes, written by Jussi Adler-Olsen, and tore straight through it.  There's a quote from the Oregonian on the back which says, "Plan on putting everything else in your life on hold if you pick up this book," (which, let's face it, a lot of reviewers say but which is pretty much never true), buuuut I did not want to put it down the whole time I was visiting.  At any rate, let's get straight to business, shall we?

Basic plot:
Detective Carl Mørck has just come back to work after handling a case where one of his friends and partners was killed and another severely injured.  He is not thrilled about being back at work, doesn't really want to do anything, and no one is filled with joy at the thought of working with him.  His boss decides to create a new department, called Department Q, and shunts Carl into the basement as head of the department to handle dozens of very old cold cases.  Carl and his assistant, Assad, come across a file about a promising politician's disappearance several years earlier, and, much to Carl's chagrin, there seems to be more to it than he first expected, and she may not be dead after all.

On a scale from 1 to Cripplingly Depressing:
3.  It is dark, like a lot of Scandinavian crime novels, and it is realistic in the end, but I never felt as if it was too gruesome.  If you liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, you will enjoy this one - though it is not at all as graphic as Steig Larsson's books were.

The end was a bit brutal.  But! I thought it was very well done.

Favorite line(s):
"She was able to lead him through the labyrinthine halls and up to the office belonging to the vice-chair of the Democrats with such familiarity that a snail in its shell would have envied her." Adler-Olsen, 150.

Weapon of Choice:
Paperback! A good size to hold in your hands.

Other titles by this author:
The Alphabet House
The Company Basher
The Washington Decree

Department Q series:
The Absent One
A Conspiracy of Faith
The Marco Effect

Have any of you read Adler-Olsen's books before? Know of any other mystery writers you'd recommend?

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