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

( 126 )

Overview

The first book in New York Times bestsellerJussi Adler-Olsen's electrifying Department Q series.

The #1 international bestseller from Jussi Adler-Olsen, author of The Absent One—perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 

Carl Mørck used to be one of Copenhagen’s best homicide detectives. Then a hail of bullets destroyed the lives of two fellow cops, and Carl—who didn’t draw his weapon—blames himself. So a ...

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Overview

The first book in New York Times bestsellerJussi Adler-Olsen's electrifying Department Q series.

The #1 international bestseller from Jussi Adler-Olsen, author of The Absent One—perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 

Carl Mørck used to be one of Copenhagen’s best homicide detectives. Then a hail of bullets destroyed the lives of two fellow cops, and Carl—who didn’t draw his weapon—blames himself. So a promotion is the last thing he expects. But Department Q is a department of one, and Carl’s got only a stack of Copenhagen’s coldest cases for company. His colleagues snicker, but Carl may have the last laugh, because one file keeps nagging at him: a liberal politician vanished five years earlier and is presumed dead. But she isn’t dead … yet.

Darkly humorous, propulsive, and atmospheric, The Keeper of Lost Causes introduces American readers to the mega-bestselling series fast becoming an international sensation.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

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 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."
-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.”
The Guardian
"Gripping storytelling."
The Times (London)
"The new 'it' boy of Nordic Noir."
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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594469193
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/23/2011
  • Series: Department Q Series , #1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jussi Adler-Olsen lives in Denmark.

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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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 126 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(64)

4 Star

(41)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 126 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 31, 2011

    More great Scandinavian crime fiction

    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.

    15 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2011

    Another great Scandanavian author

    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.

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Good Book

    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.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

    A Great Read

    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.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Delightful, suspenseful, and makes you root for the good guys.

    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

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2011

    We hear you

    But who cares about your opinion of cover and layout. Was it or not a good book. What a bore you are

    4 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2012

    Recommended

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2012

    One of the best detective stories I have read yet.

    One of the best detective stories I have read yet.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2011

    Very Good

    I hope this is the beginning of a new series. I definitely want more

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 27, 2011

    Copycat

    Cover and layout is such an obvious duplicate of the Dragon Tattoo series that it's downright embarrassing. Apparently, there is only one cover-art designer in Denmark.

    3 out of 52 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    This is NOT under $5

    This not undet $5!!! ITS $9.99

    2 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2012

    A fun read

    Just a fun read. Can't wait for more translations.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2011

    looking forward to the next one

    well plotted and characters are believable

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great characters!

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 4, 2011

    Excellent read.

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2012

    Interesting Book

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Fantastic

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    While I liked the Department Q team, the over-the-top ridiculous

    While I liked the Department Q team, the over-the-top ridiculous villain had me rolling my eyes through the whole book.

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  • Posted February 9, 2014

    This is just a great mystery read. I love the characters and th

    This is just a great mystery read. I love the characters and the pacing, and the story is good and makes sense. People keep comparing it to the Dragon Tattoo books, but it's not nearly so dark. The main characters have secrets, but they also inspire trust (to the extent that I trust fictional characters...hmmm...). I really enjoyed it and read it quickly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    STRIKING TO ALL

    MOVE TO RES TWO

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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