Sunday, December 11, 2011

Never Enough Nordic Noir

I'm always on the lookout for another Nordic Noir that catches my eye - so special thanks to my Goodreads friend for giving The Keeper of Lost Causes a 5-star review. I had seen this one come through the library, but it took a friend's rating to inspire me to read it. Jussi Adler-Olsen, winner of The Glass Key award, is promoted as Denmark's #1 crime writer. This is his first book published in the United States. The Keeper of Lost Causes is part thriller, part police procedural and entirely worth reading.

The Keeper of Lost Causes has everything I like in a series: troubled hero, great side-kicks and a fast moving plot. The book opens with detective Carl Morck returning to work after time off on sick leave. While investigating a previous case, Carl was wounded and his partners fared even worse. Back at the station, Carl's colleagues figure the best way to isolate him is to make him head of a new department investigating cold cases.

Carl's first case is the disappearance of a government minister, Merette Lynggaard. Merete disappeared 5 years earlier and was presumed dead. However, irregularities come to light as the investigation progresses. The novel jumps back and forth in time, weaving the past with the present until the climax.

Hafez el-Assad, Carl's newly appointed assistant, steals the show throughout the story. Assad, a Syrian refugee, livens up the book with his unpredictable behavior and erratic driving. While Carl might have been content to smoke and sulk in his new office, Assad's dogged pursuit of old leads propels Carl to actually investigate.  I'll be interested to see how the Syrian's background is revealed in future books in the series. Rumor is that there are two more books in the series awaiting translation. I can't wait!

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