Monday, September 24, 2012

The Keeper of Lost Causes

The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q, 1) by Jussi Adler-Olsen, 2012. 416 pages. Published by Plume Books. Source: Publisher.
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.
First Sentence:
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.
I am starting to realize that foreign mystery/thriller authors are aces when it comes to building an atmospheric read that is nearly impossible to avert your gaze from.

The Keeper of Lost Causes has one of the best mystery plots I've read in quite some time. I loved the way there were two different plot lines running throughout the majority of the book, but even more I loved the way they came together pulling the whole plot to a close. While I may have worked the plot out early on, I thought it was extremely suspenseful because you had no idea if Carl would actually be able to save the day and redeem himself in the process.
The author definitely makes good use of multiple plot points, but also manages to keep things from getting all muddled up giving the story layers of complexity that left me hooked till the end.

Carl was not the most likable character and was definitely frustrating to read about. I believe I would have liked him a little more if he had tried a little harder earlier on in the book. I know, I'm being harsh to the character who'd been through quite a bit, but I have a hard time tolerating characters that wallow in the shame they feel over something that cannot be changed. While I may not have been keen about Carl in the beginning of the book, I liked him once he finally starting digging in to find out the truth about the cold case that crossed his desk.

The suspenseful way that the author, Jussi Adler-Olsen, wove the two stories together is what made The Keeper of Lost Causes such an unforgettable read. I really liked the way that he kept the story moving and how he pulled the time timelines of the story into a whole piece because it was done pretty seamlessly. The way the story was laid out definitely gave it a unique spin that I haven't read.

Even though I enjoyed The Keeper of Lost Causes a lot, I wish that there had been less swearing in the book. My other complaint with the book would have to be that Carl, the main character, was a little hard to take at times because he was so negative and stuck in a doom spiral for most of the book. While his personality was not the best, I till enjoyed the book.

Content (will contain spoilers; highlight to see):

I would love nothing more than to say that The Keeper of Lost Causes was a clean read that was just filled with excellent plot twists, but that would be lying.
The swearing was a little to profuse for my delicate ears and every time the characters went on a swearing streak made me put down the book for a spell because it threw me right out of the story.  They dropped just about every swear under the sun and that was just not cool.

I warn y'all that this is a pretty violent book. So if you are uncomfortable with extreme violence and torture you may want to bypass this read. The worst of the violence is directed at Merete as she is tortured for her role in the deaths of those close to the villain. What she went through in the time she was there was at times graphic and at others a little vague.

Final Verdict: Ah, the plot twists in The Keeper of Lost Causes were excellent. Definitely a fascinating mystery.

The Keeper of Lost Causes earns 4 out of 5 pineapples.

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