Friday, August 19, 2011

Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen

 " 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. At least ten times she had fumbled her way to the steel door and stuck her fingernails in the crack to try to pry it open, but the door could not be budged, and the edge was sharp."

Those are the opening lines from the prologue of another great Nordic suspense thriller - they just keep on coming, don't they?

In Copenhagen, Detective Carl Morck has returned to work still suffering the after affects of an incident that killed one of his partners and left the other a quadriplegic. With no incentive to do anything but be as difficult as possible his superiors decide to get him out of the way and 'promote' him to being in sole charge of the the newly created Department Q set up to investigate cold cases. His idle solitude in the basement is interrupted by the arrival of a cleaner/clerical assistant, Assad, a man with a burning desire to be a detective and who soon revives some of Carl's enthusiasm for his job.

Their first case is to attempt to solve the mysterious disappearance of a young politician , Merete, who, several years ago, supposedly fell off a ferry and drowned.

The only problem I had with this book was that after the impact of the prologue the next fifty pages were rather slow and I became a bit bored with office and parliamentary politics but at the same time I know it is necessary to build the background and once the action did start it was non-stop and unputdownable.

I really enjoyed the format which is different in that the reader knows right from the start exactly what has happened to Merete and the tension and suspense come from following Morck's investigation and hoping he'll succeed in time.

Carl Morck and Assad make a great team and their relationship adds a marvellous touch of humour which gives a lift to the more serious side of the story.

Mercy is the first of four books featuring Department Q to be translated into English and I'll be loooking forward to the next in the series.
An excellent suspense thriller which I enjoyed immensely!

translated from the Danish by Tuna Nunnally
Publisher: Penguin, 2011

1 comment:

  1. I've got this one waiting on my shelf--sounds like I really need to pull it off soon!