The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q Series #1)

The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q Series #1)

4.2 142
by Jussi Adler-Olsen
     
 

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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, Dutton is thrilled to introduce him to America.

The Keeper of Lost Causes,

Overview

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, 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.

Editorial Reviews

Even attentive American mystery readers won't recognize the name of this book's author. Though a relative newcomer to the genre, Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark's most celebrated crime writer and a bestselling author in several European countries. Among other prizes, he has won the prestigious Glass Key Award, thus joining a roster of winners that includes Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell. The Keeper of Lost Causes introduces readers to Adler-Olsen's Department Q series and Carl Mørck, its damaged, yet brilliant chief protagonist. The department to which Mørck has been "promoted" is actually a place of solitary exile. To even his surprise, he finds one cold homicide case on his docket that captures his interest. (P.S. The husband and wife translators of this book have a proven track record: They collaborated on Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy.)

Hannoversche Allgemeine (Germany)
"This novel is for every Scandinavian crime fiction fan a must-read!"
The Independent
"As impressive as it is unnerving."
politiken.dk
"An unusually fine and extremely fascinating thriller, which will keep you breathless till the very last page."
C.J. Box
"The Keeper of Lost Causes is dark, atmospheric, and compelling. Those who loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will devour this book."
Jydske Vestkysten
"Jussi Adler-Olsen tells his stories as wickedly as Dean Koontz and has his detectives work as hard as Stieg Larsson."
The Guardian
"Gripping storytelling."
The Times (London)
"The new 'it' boy of Nordic Noir."
-C.J. Box
"The Keeper of Lost Causes is dark, atmospheric, and compelling. Those who loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will devour this book."
-The Guardian
"Gripping storytelling."
-Jydske Vestkysten (Denmark)
"Jussi Adler-Olsen tells his stories as wickedly as Dean Koontz and has his detectives work as hard as Stieg Larsson."
-Hannoversche Allgemeine (Germany)
"This novel is for every Scandinavian crime fiction fan a must-read!"
-The Independent
"As impressive as it is unnerving."
-politiken.dk
"An unusually fine and extremely fascinating thriller, which will keep you breathless till the very last page."
Library Journal
Following the success of other Scandinavian authors, Denmark's best-selling crime writer makes his American debut with this first novel in the Glass Key Award-winning Department Q series. Department Q is a new section of the Copenhagen Police, dedicated to resolving Denmark's most notorious unsolved crimes. A political solution to a bureaucratic problem, Department Q is further hampered by its only detective, Carl Mørck, who has lost his friends, his health, and his spirit in a recent shooting. His first case is to investigate the disappearance of a popular politician. After five years, everyone assumes she is dead, but Mørck and his assistant, Assad, who has his own political past to protect, begin to unravel her secrets. VERDICT 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. [See Prepub Alert, 2/14/11.]—Cathy Lantz, Morton Coll. Lib., Cicero, IL
Kirkus Reviews

Great news for fans who feared that the formula that shot Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy to the top of international bestseller lists couldn't be cloned: a big, leisurely Scandinavian thriller with dark hints of conspiracy, clunky descriptions, dozens of plot complications and the world's most unnuanced villains.

Five years after Danish stateswoman Merete Lynggaard vanished without a trace from a ferry crossing, Carl Mørck takes it upon himself to reopen the case. Despite the possible presence of an eyewitness, Merete's unreachably brain-damaged younger brother Uffe, the mystery has long been dismissed as unsolvable by the Copenhagen police, who think Merete must simply have slipped off the boat for reasons unknown. But Carl's in an unusually strong position to pick it up again. Banished to Department Q, his own personal cold-case unit, after a shooting left one of his best friends dead, another paralyzed and Carl himself with an incapacitating case of survivor's guilt and rage, he can choose his cases, control his budget and call on police departments throughout Denmark for help. And he'll need plenty of help, because the disappearance of Merete, who against all odds is still alive, held captive by a sociopathic family mad for revenge against the inoffensive minister, is only one of the problems he'll face. His colleagues produce painful new leads on the shooting that annihilated his own team; he's determined to put the moves on police crisis counselor Mona Ibsen, whose agenda emphatically doesn't include his romantic overtures; and he can't help growing suspicious of his remarkably talented new assistant, especially since he bears the name Hafez al-Assad. The trail to the truth is filled with authentically tedious loose ends and dead ends; the climactic confrontation with the monstrous malefactors is cathartically violent; and the final scene is unexpectedly touching.

The English-language success of Adler-Olsen's synthetic but sharply calculated debut, already a publishing phenomenon in Germany, Austria and its native Denmark, seems so assured that resistance would be futile.

-The Oregonian
“Plan on putting everything else in your life on hold if you pick up this book.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“Adler-Olsen's prose is superior to Larsson's, his tortures are less discomfiting, and he has a sense of humor.”
-C. J. Box
The Keeper of Lost Causes is dark, atmospheric, and compelling. Those who loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will devour this book.”
From the Publisher
“Plan on putting everything else in your life on hold if you pick up this book.” — The Oregonian

“The pages fly by as the twisty puzzle unfolds. Stieg Larsson fans will be delighted.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Far from being just another morose Nordic crime writer, Adler-Olsen creates a detective whose curiosity is as active as his soul is tortured.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Adler-Olsen's prose is superior to Larsson's, his tortures are less discomfiting, and he has a sense of humor.” — Booklist (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

-The Times (London)
“The new ‘it' boy of Nordic Noir.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525952480
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/23/2011
Series:
Department Q Series, #1
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
9.02(w) x 6.42(h) x 1.26(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

She was going to look after herself. For them she was the woman in the cage, but she was the one who decided how far apart the bars would be. She would think thoughts that opened out onto the world and kept madness at bay. They would never break her. That's what she decided as she lay there on the floor, her shoulder throbbing fiercely and the swelling around her eye forcing it closed. Someday she would get out of here.

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What People are saying about this

Jydske Vestkysten
"Jussi Adler-Olsen tells his stories as wickedly as Dean Koontz and has his detectives work as hard as Stieg Larsson."
C.J. Box
"The Keeper of Lost Causes is dark, atmospheric, and compelling. Those who loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will devour this book."

Meet 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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The Keeper of Lost Causes 4.2 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 142 reviews.
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
Detective Carl Morck reports back to work after being injured on the job. One partner died, the other hospitalized indefinitely. Carl is a flawed character, seemingly difficult to work with, so he is assigned to a new unit, Department Q. Relegated to the basement, assigned as an assistant an old Syrian, Assad, who won't leave the department alone, Carl passes time making piles of cold case folders. Eventually required to report something upstairs, Carl touches on the Merete Lynngaard disappearance and with Assad strangely helpful, Carl delves into the five year old mystery. I look forward to more books about Department Q and Carl Morck. I can only hope Adler-Olsen has already written them, the quicker to be translated and released on the American market.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Received ARC from Net Galley. A bit slow getting started (about 60 pgs) but definitely picked up and well worth the time. Inspector Carl Morck gets assigned to the newly formed Q Department (reminded me of Peter Benchley's Q Clearance). He's been assigned the old, unsolved cases and an assistant, Assad. The first case they re-open involves the suicide (was it??) of a goverment official (jumped from a ferry boat...or did she). Narratives switches back and forth from 2002 (when the 'suicide' took place) to 2007 when Carl re-opens the case. The villian's character is well developed and the tension steadily builds. Evolved into a real page turner. Great book by another (of many) accomplished and highly entertaining Scandanavian authors.
TWTaz More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book and the characters of detective Carl Mork and his assistant Assad in Department Q. The story drew me in from the beginning. There were a few spots in the book that were a little too slow paced for my liking, but it didn't detract from the overall tension for me of whether Carl would solve the mystery before it was too late for the victim. I also found myself laughing quite a bit throughout at Carl's opinion of some of his co-workers and at some of Assad's antics. I so wish everyone would stop comparing every book to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. Yes, I really liked all three books in that series. But in my opinion, this story was in no way, shape or form anything like Stieg Larsson's books, which I'm grateful for. If I want to read the same storyline over and over I'll just go back to those books and re-read them. The Keeper of Lost Causes was a great story with great characters that kept my interest throughout. I really hope the translation of the next book in the Department Q series hits the USA soon. I will definitely spend my money on that one as well.
JillBowling More than 1 year ago
I choose this book based on how much I enjoyed the Millenium Series and it did not fail me. First I must say that I don't like reading trillers where the victim get torn apart, shot to death or in some way tortured on the pages of the book. This crime novel has a victim and it does describe what she is going through, but it was in no way as disgusting as some crime novels I have read. I loved the detective team Carl and Assad. Assad's character brings a lot to the story for entertainment value and solving the crime. I definitely recommend this book to crime novel readers who don't like the gore that a lot of our novels possess. I am hoping that Jussi Adler-Olsen will now have the rest of this series translated for the American reading audience.
KAWKW More than 1 year ago
I especially like the detective in this novel. He is flawed like Wallander, but in a good way. The suspense builds and the ending is satisfying. I look forward to more from this series.
DianeCLI More than 1 year ago
One of the best detective stories I have read yet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hope this is the beginning of a new series. I definitely want more
Suspensemag More than 1 year ago
Don't get confused by the title. You'll soon find yourself enjoying "The Keeper of Lost Causes" with its subtle humor, interesting characters, and a unique take on kidnapping. Although this reader is usually wary of foreign police detective stories, I found myself moving through this story quickly, eagerly waiting to see where it would take me to next. Carl Morck is back to work in Copenhagen's homicide department after a murder investigation gone wrong, where one of his teammates died and another ended up paralyzed. He is promoted to Department Q, a newly created department in charge of what in layman's terms are called cold cases. Relegated to the basement and with the help of his enigmatic "assistant", Morck reluctantly eases himself into a five-year-old kidnapping case of Danish politician, Merete Lynggaard, as well as keeping his nose into current cases, including the one which temporarily put him out of action. The story jumps back and forth between the present day investigations and showing the horror Lynggaard suffers at the hands of her tormentors throughout the years. This story is character driven from the surly Mrs. Sorenson to the gruff, but empathetic Jacobsen to the mentally damaged Uffe. Adler-Olsen doesn't throw away minor characters, but brings them into a new light and shows the effect they have on others. You really feel the anguish of Lynggaard in her prison, the frustration of Morck with his assistant's tidbits of knowledge, his wife's constant nagging, and his tenant's quirks and sympathy for a confused Uffe. Despite the foreign locale, the unpronounceable Danish names, and the fact this reader deduced the bad guy early on, this award winning author's story is delightful, suspenseful, and makes you root for the good guys. Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, author of "Night Shadows" for Suspense Magazine
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just a fun read. Can't wait for more translations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
well plotted and characters are believable
Twink More than 1 year ago
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. She would think thought that opened out on to the world and kept madness at bay. They would never break her. that's what she decided as she lay there on the floor...." This was just a fantastic read for me. Adler-Olsen's dialogue runs the gamut from comic to compassionate. The plot is frightening and well thought out. The manner in which the case is slowly revealed was absolutely addicting, keeping me reading until late in the night. Carl's personal life is a mess, providing a secondary plot line that was also entertaining. But it is the flawed characters of Carl and Assad that are the real draw for me. A five star read for me - highly recommended. Adler-Olsen has released the fourth book of the Department Q series in Denmark. This reader will be eagerly awaiting the next North American release.
justpretty More than 1 year ago
Looking forward to more from this author. Captured my interest from the first chapter, liked the characters and moved along quickly . Read it in three days.
Gene-K More than 1 year ago
This was good, not as good as the "Dragon" books, but good. Some what more predictible, but I am looking forward to other Adler-Olsen trillers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A book that is pure pleasure to read. This is a first rate translation. Sure wish there was another available because I am ready for more!
chasVA More than 1 year ago
This novel had an excellant plot, well developed characters. Any fan of Henning Mankell should give it a shot- you will not be disappointed.
Anna_Sophie More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan on scandinavian mystery writers, spoiled by henning mankell. this is probably the first book that has come close to piquing my interest. the characters are believable, not overbearing; the plot is believable and involving; and it is a book that i, as a reader, hopes becomes a series. i must admit that the audiobook is great to listen to because it helps with the names and pronounciations, but this is a good weekend reader for sure.
GoldenGal More than 1 year ago
We listened to the audio version of this book on a road trip and found it immensely entertaining with many chapters ending in a cliffhanger that made you just want to continue the story. A wounded but recovering police officer is set up to Run Dept. Q - the department where dead cases have been sent. He picks a folder at random involving a missing woman member of Parliament who has presumed to have drown. His side-kick. a Syrian Muslim, adds a great dimension to the story. The plot is quite involved and keeps you in suspense wanting to learn the true motives of the kidnappers or killers. If you loved the Stieg Larson books, you will find this Danish author more than up to the task of holding your interest and entertaining you with a fantastic read. Buy it Now - don't wait and spread the word about this book - it's great.
Anonymous 11 months ago
My2CentsIL More than 1 year ago
Great series I started this series based on a book club member's recommendation and am thrilled with it. The perfect mix of interesting and flawed characters, of good old fashioned detective work and modern tricks of the trade, and old crimes woven into new.
Brodk More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book in the standard mystery genre. A detective, Carl Morck, at odds with his superiors since a tragic occurrence with criminals left his partners either dead or injured. Morck is given his own bailiwick and becomes involved with an old missing persons case. This is the bare bones of the novel, but the author is inventive and persuasive in both his depiction of characters and the truly awful predicament of the missing person. The ending was realistic to me and this was quite nice to see as many endings are distinct letdowns from the rest of the book. I recommend this book whole heartedly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nrichNJ More than 1 year ago
I had just finished the last book in a series by a favorite author, and I was glum. What to read next? Well, I am very glad I finished my other favorite series, because if I didn't, I would not have found the Department Q series. Jussi Adler-Olsen created highly believable characters who kept me alternately laughing out loud and rooting for. The novel starts out by introducing Deputy Detective Superintendent, Carl Morck, a police officer who just lived through a terrible tragedy, but instead of portraying him as a noble saint, Adler-Olsen paints a picture of a man with a sharp tongue, a somewhat lazy disposition, and a bit of a know-it-all attitude. Because he is so disliked by his colleagues, he is whisked away to a basement office and put in charge of the new Department Q which the Danish government has created to try to solve cold cases. Carl is no fool, however, and soon gets his chief to set him up with a car, a decent budget, and an assistant-Assad, a Jack-of-all-trades who plays exotic music and brews pot after pot of mint tea. Simultaneously, the author weaves in a tale from the past. A tale of an upcoming Danish politician, the intelligent and beautiful Merete Lynggaard. Her disappearance is the first case Carl and Assad tackle and it is frightening and extremely suspenseful. Both stories tie up at the very satisfying conclusion. If you want to meet great new characters, laugh out loud, and try to unravel a tightly woven mystery, read this book. One warning though, once you pick it up, you won't put it down. Be prepared to stay up all night!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't be afraid to dive into this novel, riveting it will only have a tighter grip on you as you read along! Trulya masterpiece. My only complaint is the translation is not 100%
Anonymous More than 1 year ago