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Erbarmen by Jussi Adler Olsen
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Erbarmen (original 2007; edition 2011)

by Jussi Adler Olsen

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1,7521244,025 (4.05)221
Member:Strutzenberger
Title:Erbarmen
Authors:Jussi Adler Olsen
Info:DTV Deutscher Taschenbuch (2011), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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Work details

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen (2007)

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» See also 221 mentions

English (97)  Dutch (15)  German (5)  Danish (2)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Catalan (1)  All languages (124)
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
After reading the second book out of order, I was disgusted by its extreme violence and vowed not to read other books in the series. But the siren song of my apartment building's donation library called to me, and I picked up this first book with the hope of learning more about the interesting police detectives who solve these cold cases.

On the plus side, the violence was slightly more bearable, and the back stories of the police staff were great. Unfortunately, however, the mystery itself was predictable. The "shocking twistl" was obvious early on, and it made me cynical about the investigative capabilities of both the initial police team and the second, Department Q staff. If I picked up on it that early, they should have, too.

I have changed my tune and will likely keep reading books in this series, which are bound to appear because as the writer states, "Since time immemorial, human beings had always transformed the suffering of fellow humans into entertainment. Each stratum of human history had revealed an infinitely thick layer of callousness. And the sediment forming new layers was constantly piling up..." ( )
  librarianarpita | Dec 21, 2014 |
I've read MERCY (aka THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES) by Jussi Adler-Olsen twice now and finally I think I've got it the review straight in my head.

Why twice? The first time I read this book was right in the middle of a series of releases based around the woman locked in the basement scenario, and frankly, I was pissed off. Even though I really felt that this gross generalisation wasn't fair in the case of MERCY, this scenario had annoyed me so badly, objectiveness had become a real problem. So why reread and why now? Well a movie came out, and there were a lot more books in the Department Q series that I've been keen to try so a little reconsideration was required.

Based around the concept of cold cases, Carl Mørck is back with the Copenhagen Police Department, after six months sick leave recovering from being shot on duty. His colleague wasn't so lucky, still in hospital, paralysed and suffering.

Mørck has always been a difficult person to get on with and because of that the opportunity is taken to sideline him into “Department Q” the cold case unit. In the basement, where hopefully the lack of resources, and one suspects a general lack of oxygen / visibility get through to Mørck that he's not the most popular person. Which seems to be working on one level as he grudgingly shows up and spends most of his time solving Sudoko puzzles and playing games with the powers that be. Unfortunately one game – his demand for an assistant means he's lumbered with Hafez el-Assad, man who very much wants to be an investigator and doesn't agree that Department Q is the pits. When he finds something in the file on the disappearance of politician Merete Lynggaard, Mørck finds himself actually investigating something.

Alternating the viewpoints between the investigation and Lynnggaard in captivity brings an immediacy to the search. Whilst investigators have no idea if she is alive or dead, the reader knows she is, knows her state of mind, and knows her abductors are nearby.

With a clearer viewpoint of this concept there are obvious differences here – Lynggaard isn't being held as a sex slave or as a plaything of a nutter, but the reason she is being held isn't clear. And the cruelty and dispassionate behaviour of her abductors is staggering, uncomfortably so. As is the distress and the worry that everyone has for the brother she's left out in the real world. Badly equipped to handle it, he has an acquired brain injury as a result of the car accident that killed their parents when they were children. His suffering is as palpable as hers.

Aside from the difference that's now obvious – that this isn't an opportunistic tale of a woman in a basement after all, and add in the great characters of the investigators and this is really a strong opening book. The grumpiness of Mørck and the intelligence and compassion of Assad make them a great team. Having said that, grumpiness isn't the defining quality of Mørck when you're paying attention – there's a lot more to this story than greets the initial eye.

I have no explanation at all as to why I didn't see that the first time around, but I'm profoundly relieved that I had the sense to leave MERCY in the pile – knowing there was something wrong with my initial reaction but not able to articulate it.

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/review-mercy-jussi-adler-olsen ( )
  austcrimefiction | Oct 30, 2014 |
excellent, even though there's a big element of psychological thriller/torture that I usually can't tolerate. Karl Moll (? sp) and his new assistant, Hafaz el Assad (?sp) are so compleling.. ( )
  DavidO1103 | Oct 21, 2014 |
READ IN DUTCH

This is the first book in Jussi Alder-Olsen's Q-series concerning Danish police detective Carl Morck. I have to admit, I always liked reading Scandinavian detectives a lot. But after years of reading them, I grew a bit tired. Had they first been very new and not as cliché as most US/UK detectives, I got very used to the Scandinavian theme as well.

But this book was different, I really enjoyed it. It was an easy read, but very nice and with a lot of suspense in it.

That cage really was terrifying!


I've ever since reading this book planned to read the rest of this series, but so far, I've only read the second book. ( )
  Floratina | Sep 25, 2014 |
Very enjoyable, but unfortunately, the ending was easy to predict. ( )
  ScribbleKey | Jul 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jussi Adler-Olsenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
D'Avino, Maria ValeriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Vries, KorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hartford, LisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krogstad, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mendizábal, Juan MaríaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thiess, HannesÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vries, Kor deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
Opgedragen aan Hanne Adler-Olsen.
Zonder haar zou de bron opdrogen.
Dedicated to Hanne Adler-Olsen. Without her, the well would run dry.
First words
Ze krabde haar vingertoppen tot bloedens toe open op de gladde wanden en sloeg met haar vuisten tegen de dikke ruiten tot ze haar handen niet meer voelde.
She scratched her fingertips on the smooth walls until they bled, and pounded her fists on the thick panes until she could no longer feel her hands.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark's premier crime writer. His books routinely top the bestseller lists in northern Europe, and he's won just about every Nordic crime-writing award, including the prestigious Glass Key Award — also won by Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson, and Jo Nesbo. Now he's introduced to America.

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.

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Chief detective Carl M?ck, recovering from what he thought was a career-destroying gunshot wound, is relegated to cold cases and becomes immersed in the five-year disappearance of a politician.

(summary from another edition)

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Editions: 0141399961, 0718156889

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