Thursday, September 14, 2017

Review: The Scarred Woman by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Title: The Scarred Woman
Author: Jussi Adler-Olsen
Series: Department Q, #7
Published: September 2017, Dutton Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 486 pages
Source: Publisher
 
The New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Causes delivers his most captivating and suspenseful Department Q novel yet—perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson.
 
Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q, Copenhagen's cold cases division, meets his toughest challenge yet when the dark, troubled past of one of his own team members collides with a sinister unsolved murder.

In a Copenhagen park the body of an elderly woman is discovered. The case bears a striking resemblance to another unsolved homicide investigation from over a decade ago, but the connection between the two victims confounds the police. Across town a group of young women are being hunted. The attacks seem random, but could these brutal acts of violence be related? Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q is charged with solving the mystery.

Back at headquarters, Carl and his team are under pressure to deliver results: failure to meet his superiors’ expectations will mean the end of Department Q. Solving the case, however, is not their only concern. After an earlier breakdown, their colleague Rose is still struggling to deal with the reemergence of her past—a past in which a terrible crime may have been committed. It is up to Carl, Assad, and Gordon to uncover the dark and violent truth at the heart of Rose’s childhood before it is too late.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Jussi Adler-Olsen and while I am jumping into his Department Q series midway, I was told it would be a good place to start. I've been trying to broaden the scope of Scandinavian crime authors that I read and when I saw that this author was being compared to the likes of Stieg Larsson, who in fact got me hooked in this genre, I figured this would be a good fit...and I loved it!!!

While I was a bit apprehensive jumping into an already established series - this is book 7 after all - I found that I was able to pretty quickly figure out who was who and determine the relationships between the main characters with relative ease. The only drawback, if you will, is that there are some things that are referenced from earlier cases that I probably would have better understood had I read the earlier books - but I definitely plan to as soon as I get the chance as I really did like the dynamics of this team and would love to read more about them!

While the size of the book itself is quite daunting, coming in at just under 500 pages, believe me when I say, it moves quick. There is so much going on that you find yourself completely consumed. And maybe because I was coming in fresh and not having read the prior books, I found myself paying extra close attention to every little detail so as to not miss anything! At one point the team, made up of just Carl, Assad and Gordon due to Rose being out of commission, is juggling 5 different cases and trying to figure out if any of them are remotely connected! 

I really felt for Carl, Assad and Gordon as they rallied around Rose, who appeared to be having yet another (apparently the first happened in a prior book!) mental breakdown. I really got the sense that this team is like a big family. The fact that they have been told if they do not start pulling their weight and producing results, their unit may be shut down, is not helping matters. There is the urgency to solve their many cases, yet they also want to help their colleague, who they know is struggling.

This book is so tightly structured that once one piece comes unraveled, all the other pieces start falling into place. It's brilliantly written and really kept my attention held throughout. And what I loved is the little bits of humor thrown in throughout. There are some really heavy topics dealt with - the mental breakdown of a colleague, benefit fraud, prostitution - and yet it is counterbalanced with these little parts where you just have to laugh out loud. Not overly done, yet it just breaks the heaviness. 

I can tell this is a series that I am going to really enjoy - now I just have to go back and get my hands on the earlier books and find the time to read them!!! I'm glad I gave this one a chance - it was a really good read and gave me a good sense of how this series is.



Books in this series:
  1. The Keeper of Lost Causes
  2. The Absent One
  3. A Conspiracy of Faith
  4. The Purity of Vengeance
  5. The Marco Effect
  6. The Hanging Girl
  7. The Scarred Woman

2 comments:

  1. I've read this author before and felt that in the translation, the story was rather abruptly stated. I liked the mystery of it though.

    ReplyDelete
  2. They're all very, very good. I won an advanced reader copy of Keeper of Lost Causes years ago and I've been hooked ever since.

    ReplyDelete

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