Okay we all know I’m a sucker for Scandinavian crime fiction, but bear with me. This one was terrific. Better than The Girl Who… books, and I’ll tell you why:

1. The characters were better.
2. The computers in this story acted like normal computers.
3. It was good fiction that did not call on my suspension of disbelief.
4. No anal rape.

Wins all across the board. On with the review:

The Keeper of Lost Causes is the first book in the Department Q series written by Danish author, Jussi Adler-Olsen. It is so great that I want all my friends to read it so we can talk about it!

It’s suspenseful crime fiction at it’s best. The main character, Carl, is a veteran detective on the Copenhagen police force. Certain tragic events happen and he’s put in charge of Department Q, which is a way for the police force to get rid of Carl without actually getting rid of him. He’s basically put in charge of cold cases and his new office is the basement at the police station.

Carl is written perfectly. Of course he’s a bitter, old detective with a sad home life. That’s how we like our detectives. I mean, a detective that’s cheery and well-adjusted? Has anyone written a story like that? No. That would be boring. The great thing about Carl is that while he’s surly and bitter, he also has a sense of humor and doesn’t really take himself too seriously. It’s a perfect blend that has you rooting for Carl the whole way.

All of the characters are written well. They are fleshed out and seem very realistic. As the story moves forward you are given details here and there about the characters in such clever ways that you learn more about them without being bogged down with loads of back story. Specifically with Assad, Carl’s new assistant at Department Q. He starts out as the janitor and eventually helps Carl solve the case. Their relationship is funny, and it could have been played out in a “Let’s put the old, white man and the foreigner together” lazy kind of way, but thankfully, the relationship is not exploited like that. There’s a mutual respect that happens. It was refreshing.

The cold case that they investigate involves a parliament member, Merete Lynggaard, who went missing five years before. Her part of the story was so tragic and terrifying, that while I was sitting in a comfortable chair and reading it, I felt totally claustrophobic. My stomach was in knots. Talk about amazing suspense writing.

The Keeper of Lost Causes is the kind of suspense novel that has you on the edge so hard that all you want is to put the book down and take a break, but you can’t because you have to know what happens next.

I very much look forward to books 2 and 3.

This book is available August 18, 2011 from Penguin Group


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