Sunday, August 18, 2013

Jussi Adler-Olson

These Scandinavian authors do know how to write a good mystery - what is it about their lifestyle, country, culture, etc. that allows them to think up these twisted bad guys, tortured detectives, and thought-provoking plot twists?  Whatever it is, I'm sold.  Adler-Olson's latest books on 'Department Q' in the Copenhagen homicide unit are actually better than the very first (Keeper of Lost Causes - written up in earlier post).  I liked Keeper, but it was a bit slow at first.  Now that I've read the following two books in the series, it makes sense; Adler-Olson needed to build his characters, the reason for Dept. Q to exist, and the history behind the relationships in the office.  The main character, Carl Mork (excuse the poor spelling - I listen to these books on audible.com - extremely well read!), continues his 'bull-in-a-
china-shop' habits with his superiors.  Carl doesn't really care about promotion; in fact, he heartily avoids it.  Therefore, he spends zero time sucking up to the captains and even less time making nice to the secretaries.  In other words, he's hilariously rude and short-tempered.  Many laugh-out-loud moments exist, especially in his conversations with his Syrian sidekick, Assad, and his ditzy secretary, Rose.  In The Absent One Carl and Assad spend the book investigating a particularly nasty little pack of wealthy, society men that leads to a provoking twisted finale.  In Redemption, a strange little note in a bottle leads Carl, Assad, and his fill-in secretary (Rose's twin sister, Ursa - hilarious) to a freaky killer who focuses on religious cults in Denmark.  Throughout the Department Q books, we continue to see Carl's ongoing problems relating back to the shooting that paralyzed his partner Hardy, his sexual obsession with his therapist, Mona Ibsen (gotta love the name), and his wacky living situation with a roommate, a crazy wife, and a loser of a stepson.  Adler-Olson has a winner of a series that is humorous, provoking, thoughtful, and well-written.  If you too like the Scandinavian mystery writers, I'd check out Dept. Q.

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