Thursday, 2 October 2014

Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen

If you’re thinking about some Scandinavian crime fiction,
don’t overlook Danish author, Jussi Adler-Olsen. His Department Q series features maverick detective Carl Morck, a difficult character who doesn’t get on well with fellow officers. In Mercy, Morck returns to work following a shooting that had left him injured and plagued with guilt. His boss is happy to send him to the basement, out of sight and out of mind, to review a stash of high-profile cold cases.

Morck is to be assisted by a Syrian refugee named Assad, who with no police credentials, is expected to do little more than to clean up and fetch files. But Assad is way too smart for that, and his unfailingly cheery countenance is the perfect foil for his boss’s ill humour. The two are set to be a brilliant team.

Somehow their interest alights on a missing person’s case – that of high-flying politician, Merete Lynggard. However we already know all about her because the author has been weaving in scenes to show us that Merete isn’t dead, presumed drowned five years ago, but locked up in an underground bunker. Rather than a cold case, Mercy turns into a race against time to rescue Merete from captors planning her death in the most unpleasant way imaginable. And the reader is left having kittens, waiting for Morck and Assad to figure out what’s going on.

Mercy stacks up well against the Nesbo/Mankell/Larsson novels we have come to know and love so well. Ticking all the boxes for smart characterisation, clever plotting and nail-biting action, the novel is the first of the Department Q series with another three on the shelves waiting to sample. Marvellous.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: Mercy

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