The Keeper of Lost Causes

The Keeper of Lost Causes

Book - 2011
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Jussi Adler-Olsen, author of The Absent One , is Denmark's premier crime writer. His books routinely top the bestseller lists in northern Europe, and he's won just about every Nordic crime-writing award, including the prestigious Glass Key Award-also won by Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson, and Jo Nesbo. Now, Dutton is thrilled to introduce him to America.

The Keeper of Lost Causes , the first installment of Adler- Olsen's Department Q series, features the deeply flawed chief detective Carl MØrck, who used to be a good homicide detective-one of Copenhagen's best. Then a bullet almost took his life. Two of his colleagues weren't so lucky, and Carl, who didn't draw his weapon, blames himself.

So a promotion is the last thing Carl expects.

But it all becomes clear when he sees his new office in the basement. Carl's been selected to run Department Q, a new special investigations division that turns out to be a department of one. With a stack of Copenhagen's coldest cases to keep him company, Carl's been put out to pasture. So he's as surprised as anyone when a case actually captures his interest. A missing politician vanished without a trace five years earlier. The world assumes she's dead. His colleagues snicker about the time he's wasting. But Carl may have the last laugh, and redeem himself in the process.

Because she isn't dead . . . yet.

Publisher: New York : Dutton, [2011].
Copyright Date: ©2011.
ISBN: 9780525952480
Characteristics: 396 pages ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Hartford, Lisa - Translator
Alternative Title: Mercy.


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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!

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Janina_13 Jul 21, 2014

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