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The Keeper of Lost Causes: A Department Q Novel [Hardcover]

Jussi Adler-Olsen
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 23 2011 A Department Q Novel

Jussi Adler-Olsen, author of The Absent One, 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, Dutton is thrilled to introduce him 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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"Far from being just another morose Nordic crime writer, Adler-Olsen creates a detective whose curiosity is as active as his soul is tortured. The villain is a monster and the crime horrendous, but readers will root for the victim and for the belabored Department Q. This absorbing psychological thriller is recommended not only for fans of Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbø, and Stieg Larsson but for true crime aficionados who might like to try fiction."
(-Library Journal, (starred review))

"The new 'it' boy of Nordic Noir."
(-The Times (London))

"The Keeper of Lost Causes is dark, atmospheric, and compelling. Those who loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will devour this book."
(-C.J. Box, New York Times bestselling author of Cold Wind)

"Gripping storytelling."
(-The Guardian)

"Jussi Adler-Olsen tells his stories as wickedly as Dean Koontz and has his detectives work as hard as Stieg Larsson."
(-Jydske Vestkysten (Denmark))

"This novel is for every Scandinavian crime fiction fan a must-read!"
(-Hannoversche Allgemeine (Germany))

"As impressive as it is unnerving."
(-The Independent)

"An unusually fine and extremely fascinating thriller, which will keep you breathless till the very last page."

About the Author

Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark's #1 crime writer. This novel has already appeared at the top of bestseller lists in Denmark and Germany, and subsequent entries in the series debuted at #1.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely recommended! Sept. 12 2011
By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Yes, there is a plethora (I love that word) of Nordic and Scandinavian authors making their names known in North America lately, but here's one you want to take note of and write down - Jussi Adler-Olsen. Adler-Olsen is the author of the "Department Q" series featuring Carl Morck. The Keeper of Lost Causes is the first in the series and newly released in North America.

"Twenty-five years on the police force and ten in the homicide division has hardened him. That's how things had gone until the day when a murder case pierced his armour." Both figuratively and literally.

Carl has just returned to the force since a situation gone terribly wrong leaves his partner paralyzed and Carl seriously wounded. His usual inability to get along with others gets even worse as he attempts to come to terms with his guilt. His superior, under pressure to deal with cold cases, see a win-win situation. Assign Carl to head up what will be the new 'Department Q'. And the department consists of only Carl until he demands an administrative assistant. Assad is assigned to work in the basement with Carl. Assad is a bit of a mystery as we come to discover.

The interplay between these two characters is fantastic. Carl's skills as a detective really are unparalleled in the department. Assad's myriad set of skills are revealed as the two work together reopening the case of a missing politician, gone for five years and presumed drowned.

The politician's fate is slowly revealed in flashback chapters as Carl and Assad uncover more and more that indicates the case was never properly investigated the first time.

"She was going to look after herself. For them she was the woman in the cage, but she was the one who decide how far apart the bars would be.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! Sept. 3 2011
By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Reason for Reading: The plot just screamed "read me!" and I'm a fan of Scandi Crime.

Outstanding! The first chapter had me hooked on the case and the second chapter had me fascinated with the main character, Copenhagen detective Carl Morck. Usually I'm into the serial killer type of crimes but this case involves a kidnapping/missing persons case that is incredibly taut and gripping. Carl Morck has just come back to work after being in a shoot-out where he was injured and each of his two partners were either killed or seriously impaired for life. Carl has never been a lovable guy and this emotional event has not helped matters. He is sent to the basement, given his own department, Department Q, where he will work on cold cases. The first one that he and his Syrian assistant choose is that of the missing persons case of a prominent young female politician who has been missing, presumed accidentally drowned, five years ago. But Carl and Assad find out that many things were not properly investigated at the time. Everyone assumes that she is dead, but Merete isn't dead and won't be until her kidnapper's appointed time of execution.

Carl is a flawed character with many problems but one that the reader routes for and agrees with as he fights against the establishment. His Syrian assistant, Assad, is both comic relief and a very intriguing character as he demonstrates great insight into detective work and has amazing contacts and capabilities which provoke interest in his mysterious past. Carl and Assad make a great team, their opposing characters bounce off each other as each gains great respect for the other.

The case was fabulous! Everything one can want in a thriller. Full of twists and turns and fantastic descriptions of the victim's suffering.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable, captivating read. Feb. 27 2013
Carl Morck has recently returned to work after he was injured in a shoot-out and his partner was left paralyzed. Racked with guilt and self-doubt, he does little all day and his superior doesn’t know what to do with him until the government provides funding for his department to reinvestigate unsolved cases. Assad, a Muslim of mysterious origins, has been hired as his assistant. Life and his work develop meaning when Assad tells him of a case he’s read about a beautiful politician that went missing off a boat five years previously. The reason for her disappearance is questionable to Carl and as he investigates further, he develops more questions. With the help of Assad, Carl slowly unravels the terrible realities of the woman’s disappearance. An enjoyable, captivating read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really hard to put this one down. Great book!! June 5 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really liked the main characters. I found that there're portrayed very realistically, although Assad is an interesting character I would like to know more about. The main story was excellent. I had a really hard time putting the book down. It was also nice to be able to relate to the place in Denmark. After finishing I immediately logged onto. and purchased the three Dept. Q books in 'stock'. This author is as enjoyable as Jo Nesbo.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very good April 15 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed it. I intend to read the other ones, and the complete serie of books from the same author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, stellar author March 4 2014
By Fiona
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This author is just fantastic. I find these books super interesting and so different from everything else out there. I have an intense interest in the characters that I normally don't feel at all in the average mystery. This is a terrific book and arrived quickly and in super condition. I am very very happy with this purchase.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars unique
The mystery was unique and the characters were good
This was a good police story and kept one guessing as to why and what was going on
Published 1 month ago by Mary Gina Machado
5.0 out of 5 stars Denmark makes its mark
Great plot, good characters - the translation started off a little shaky in the first few pages but smoothed out quickly. Really enjoyed this author.
Published 11 months ago by Alex Fischer
4.0 out of 5 stars Swedish Authors
Very well written and keeps you guessing a lot. Easy to follow, despite twists and turns. Makes me want to try some others in the series.
Published 16 months ago by Booklover
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner with intriguing plot
Book was easy to read with interesting, flawed characters. It is different from most "detective" stories and I look forward to the next in this series.
Published 18 months ago by Gwen Maden
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating
Department Q book #1

It seems to be at top bestseller in Northern Europe your mysteries have to feature a deeply flawed detective as a protagonist and it works. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Toni Osborne
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book - Great Characters
I read many detective stories and this is one of the best I have read in a long time. Great characters, great story line, I hated to put it down. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Max in BC
4.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Protagonist
There are all kinds of Scandinavian protagonists, but Carl Morsck, the irascible Danish detective introduced to readers in this novel, is up there with the best of them. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Ted Feit
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