The Keeper of Lost Causes

The Keeper of Lost Causes

Book - 2011
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Apr 25, 2021

Strong ending, as dynamic as the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Characterization and writing not as sophisticated as, e.g., Henning Mankell's Wallander novels. Glad I read it but may not return to Department Q for a while.

Mar 05, 2021

Carl Morck was once a good homicide detective working in one of the police departments in Copenhagen until the day that he was shot, while he watched one of his colleagues get killed and the other paralyzed. Carl blames himself for not drawing his weapon that day, and since his recovery, he has been very difficult to work with. His superiors decide to promote him to run a special investigative unit that consists of just him and is housed in the basement, where he is to work on solving unsolvable cold cases. His plan to spend the rest of his career killing time falls apart when his new assistant/janitor begins sorting through some of the cases and selects one regarding a politician who has been missing for five years and is presumed dead.

The Keeper of Lost Causes is told in two voices - Carl's in 2007 and politician Merete Lynggaard's from 2002-2007. Both are filled with a sense of loss and anger which the author seems to have added on purpose to show the similarities in their lives. Clues trickle into the early part of the story, but most of it is comprised of Carl's and Merete's backstories. As the plot reaches is climax, new clues are presented in a fast and furious manner, making the culprit clear, although by this point in the book, it is apparent who it has to be. The only real mystery is the character of Assad, who is evidently more than he seems to be. Overall, this story left me with mixed feelings due to all of the political content that had to be waded through, which had nothing to do with the story, to get to the actual mystery, but the pieces did come together in the end to form a satisfying conclusion.

Dec 01, 2020

It took an effort to get into this book, but I am glad I persisted.

May 10, 2020

This is the first of the Dept. Q Danish cop series and also the first of the series that I have read. I have seen a DVD but did not remember much about it except for the main guys name (Carl Morck). This was a very good book and I look forward to reading more of the series. Assad is for sure the best character and I also am curious as to his background. I thought I had figured out the bad guy early and I was correct! Usually, I am off base. I recommend this book and this series.

Jul 27, 2019

There were parts of this book I really loved ... and parts I didn't. I LOVED Assad, the quirky, Middle-Eastern immigrant hired to be Mørck’s office cleaner-coffee fetcher-driver. Instead, he becomes an unofficial assistant-investigator who not only chooses the case to be worked on but goads Mørck into actually working on it. As the story moves along, it becomes obvious that Assad is much more than he seems - and part of that includes a brilliant knack for detective work. If this series featured Assad as the main character, I'd be putting my life on hold so that I could read every book as quickly as possible!! Unfortunately, I didn't like Mørck NEARLY as well. Also, the book reeeally dragged in places in my opinion.

Mar 05, 2019

One more time here is a story about defaulter detective who unexpectedly solves a crime from the past.
Obviously author is interested in Danish politics and their intrigues, as he describes in details some aspects of political life in Denmark.
The story of survival of a victim is a little unrealistic.

Feb 20, 2019

Hold for later.

Hillsboro_JeanineM Jan 18, 2019

You want it darker - Denmark's Adler-Olsen has taken over the mantle of dark Scandinavian murder mystery from Stieg Larsson. There's no Lisbeth Salander equivalent but Assad has his own mysterious ways of assisting Carl Morck.

As a mystery reader and audiobook fan, I love it when both combine to create the perfect literary experience. The Keeper of Lost Causes, and other works by Jussi Adler-Olsen, are available in four formats but I highly recommend the audio narrated by Erik Davies. The Keeper of Lost Causes introduces Carl Morck, a crusty Danish cop who’s recovering from a brutal shootout that has left one of his partners dead and the other paralyzed. Unpopular with his peers, Carl is assigned to lead the newly created Department Q in Copenhagen to work on cold cases. There he battles his superiors, his guilt, personal life, and the complex, years-old case involving the disappearance of a young female politician.

All the characters, from the victim to Morck and his quirky team, quickly develop into people you want to know more about. None disappoint as they lead you through a satisfying plot to a knuckle-whitening conclusion. The great news is that there are more titles in this series, all equally as enthralling. (Submitted by Pippa)

DPLchandra Apr 03, 2018

As a huge Scandinavian crime novel nerd, I was so excited to find another great author. Like most murder mysteries in this genre, it is dark. It is also intense, thought-provoking and has twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat. Carl Merck is a great complicated and conflicted character.

Dec 11, 2017

I borrowed the DVD first – The Q Trilogy that covers the first three novels by Dane Jussi Adler-Olsen and it was very good, so I thought I’d read the books. I’ve read all of the novels by Norwegian Jo Nesbo with detective Harry Hole. Nesbo gets a bit sidetracked at times or at least the mystery gets a bit sidetracked by sending Hole to exotic locations and making the character a bit too hip for the storyline. I read the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Swedish author Stieg Larsson (and borrowed the DVD as well but didn’t love that storyline much.) The Q books involve a Danish detective and the first book is very good. Of course you get more details about the main characters in the book than you do in the DVD. Especially in this first novel, Carl Morck is fleshed out and his assistant Assad is an evolving mystery, he is originally from Syria and he seems to have a keen, intuitive mind that surprises Morck. The two of them are Department Q whose sole task is to investigate cold cases (unsolved police investigations). The police brass created the department to basically get rid of or hide Morck and Assad in the basement with 20 year old cases, but they are surprisingly adept at their job. Book 1 is an easy read if you enjoy police mysteries and you will want to read more! They are currently filming book 4, so get reading or watch the DVD!

Jul 15, 2017

It seems to me that there are an overwhelming number of these noir, police procedural novels with an irascible detective who has no friends on the force and is disliked by the bosses who would like to be rid of him;/her. I always find it hard to be patient with these intentionally unlikable characters. They act against their own best interests and they alienate everyone they come into contact with. In this case. the protagonist slowly comes to realize the immigrant who is assigned to be essentially a janitor for his newly formed department (designed to get rid of him) is a very talented researcher with an intuitive grasp of what might be important info. This story built to unbearable tension; in fact, it was so tense that I finally skipped ahead a few time to bypass the scary tension. Good plot line but I am getting tired of the characterization.

Natillez Jul 13, 2017

I love this noir detective series and the characters make me laugh

Jun 19, 2017

Absolutely loved this series and you can now catch 3 of the books made into movies on Netflix!

May 08, 2017

I have been a huge fan of Nordic Noir for about six years and have read most of the authors around. Jussi Adler-Olsen stands out for me because I really enjoy the curmudgeonly Copenhagen detective Carl Morck and his unflappable sidekick Assad, whose mysterious origins are revealed as the series progresses. In an attempt to segregate and dispirit the prickly detective, management has relegated him to a basement office and given him the impossible task of reviving cold cases. The disappearance of a young and attractive politician begins to give up clues as Morck and Assad chip away at the politician's past. These books do not spare you the grisly details, but beginning with The Keeper of Lost Causes, they provide a suspenseful read that will have you up way past your bed-time.

Nov 11, 2016

Very interesting main character with the European atmosphere and flair that nobody in America can imitate. It looks like Carl and Assad have a long career ahead of them. Definitely recommend this one

Nov 07, 2016

DANISH POLICE PROCEDURAL. The first book in the Department Q series

Oct 12, 2015

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this book. When DCI Carl Morck is involved in an incident that left one colleague dead and another paralyzed he ends up all by himself in a basement office investigating cold cases. Well, not quite by himself. Assad, a Syrian immigrant, is available at first to do cleaning, but he quickly joins the investigation. Told with humor and compassion (you do have to overlook some ridiculous and borderline offensive comments about women) Carl struggles with the lingering affects of the shooting (both physical and psychological) while investigating the disappearance of a government official. Onward to the next in the series.

Sep 23, 2015

This is a great mystery novel. I read the book more than ten months ago and I still think of the plot. This is the first book in a series and I'd recommend reading this first to get to know the characters. I think the author does a great job developing the characters. He had a great sense of humor while providing an engaging detective story. I highly recommend!

Oct 09, 2014

Excellent writing, excellent drama. Better than Steig Larson or the Keplers because it avoids graphic torture, but the tension is still there.

I cannot wait to find out who Assid really is--I am sure it will unfold very slowly. Carl is burned out; he was so tired of life that he couldn't even draw his weapon to save his partner and his best friend. So wracked with guilt he is nearly catatonic--and as addicted to Spider Solitaire as I am. As he slowly wakes up to life as the book progresses, I keep hoping all will be well for him, but with the press against him, his superiors determined to erase his existence, and his continuing guilt and lethargy, it doesn't seem likely.

The depth of characters is also excellent--reminds me of the crafting of personalities of the Inspector Gamashe/Three Pines series. I have already started on The Absent One and look forward to more.

Sep 28, 2014

I've tried two others & did not like the style at all, but this must be the first of series about Dept Q & I liked it well enough to finish. A better mystery despite the way this author goes back & forth between years, which I find a trick of distraction to a tight story line.

Sep 07, 2014

This is the first Jussi Adler-Olsen book I have read and hopefully will not be the last. I enjoyed the damaged detective Carl Morck and his mysterious assistant, Assad.

Carl is given the job of running Department Q - a one man "basement" department that is to investigate high-profile cold cases. Assad is assigned to be Carl's driver and janitor. It is Assad who puts forward the case of Merete Lynggaard. She was a powerful and attractive politician who went missing 5 years earlier. She spent her time working in her profession or spending time with her brain-damaged brother (the damage resulting from a horrific car crash that killed her parents and some passengers in another vehicle).

Although I felt confident who the perpetrator of the crime was and what the ending might be when I was only 1/2 way through the book, I still really enjoyed the novel. There was a lot of action, humour, background stories, and some great characters.

Jul 31, 2014

Scandinavian noir has become very popular and some of the novels are better than others. I enjoyed The Keeper of Lost Causes as it features a detective who really doesn’t want to do anything after being shot and nearly killed. He’s given a backwater job and eventually gets interested in a missing persons case. Humour is injected through his personal life which is a train wreck and through his assistant who is too helpful.

Jul 24, 2014

There are few things better to do on a sunny, global warming kind of day, than to kick back and enjoy a Jussi Adler-Olsen mystery. [Also, fantastic translation job by Lisa Hartford!] And would people -- the blurb writers -- stop comparing every book out of Scandinavia with Stieg Larsson, for gosh sakes? This is a Danish mystery/offbeat police procedural, it has absolutely nothing in common with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Janina_13 Jul 21, 2014

This book was absolutely incredible! The mystery was extremely riveting and kept me turning pages as I tried to figure out where Merete Lynggard was, and whether or not she was still alive. Carl Morck is a detective who comes off as mean and temperamental, however his character thoroughly enriched the story. This is a book deserving 5 stars for sure! I can't wait to read the next book in the Department Q series!

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