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The Absent One: A Department Q Novel Hardcover – August 21, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 526 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Adler-Olsen, Denmark’s leading crime fiction author, outdoes his outstanding debut, The Keeper of Lost Causes, with his second Department Q novel.”
Publishers Weekly, (starred review)

"Adler-Olsen's humor and his portrayal of Kimmie's sad life make The Absent One stand out among today's flood of Nordic mysteries."
Kirkus Reviews

"The Copenhagen-set sequel to The Keeper of Lost Causes is quirky and wry."
The Sacramento Bee

"Adler-Olsen has created a wonderful addition to the detective fiction genre...Readers of detective fiction, international crime fiction, and suspense fiction will highly enjoy this thriller."
Library Journal (starred review)

“The pages fly by as the twisty puzzle unfolds. Stieg Larsson fans will be delighted.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Keeper of Lost Causes

“[An] absorbing psychological thriller.” 
Library Journal (starred review) on The Keeper of Lost Causes

“Comparisons [to Stieg Larsson] are inevitable and, while he may lack a Salander, Adler-Olsen’s prose is superior to Larsson’s, his tortures are less discomfiting, and he has a sense of humor.”
Booklist (starred review) on The Keeper of Lost Causes

“Plan on putting everything else in your life on hold if you pick up this book.”
The Oregonian on The Keeper of Lost Causes

“A relentless thrill ride of surprise, shock and terror.”
The Sacramento Bee on The Keeper of Lost Causes

“The new ‘it’ boy of Nordic Noir.”
The Times, London on The Keeper of Lost Causes

"The Keeper of Lost Causes is the one I'd be most eager-and most reluctant-to loan."
The Boston Globe on The Keeper of Lost Causes

"The Keeper of Lost Causes is dark, atmospheric, and compelling. Those who loved The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will devour this book." 
— C.J. Box

About the Author

Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark's #1 crime writer and a New York Times bestseller. His books routinely top the bestseller lists in Europe, and he's won many prestigious Nordic crime-writing awards, including the Glass Key Award—also won by Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbø, Stieg Larsson, and Peter Høeg. He lives in Denmark.

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Product Details

  • Series: A Department Q Novel
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; First Edition edition (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525952896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525952893
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (526 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patto TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I pounced on this book because I loved the previous book, The Keeper of Lost Causes (alternate title Mercy), featuring Carl Mørck, head of department Q. To get full enjoyment out of this book, I'd suggest reading the earlier book first, where Carl's irascible, anti-social personality and personal troubles are introduced. Carl is such a difficult employee that the Homicide chief has given him his own department and stuck him in the basement, with a load of dead-end cases no one has been able to solve. Carl solved one such lost cause in the previous book.

This book begins with a case file that appears inexplicably on Carl's desk. Strangely, it's a closed case, with a conviction already in place. Two siblings were murdered, and a student at a prestigious boarding school confessed. So why should Carl bother with it? But he gets intrigued and discovers that the supposed killer was part of a rich kids' gang. The more he digs, the more he suspects the whole gang. But by now they've made their own millions and are roaming the upper echelons of Danish society.

No one wants Carl Mørck going after these financial demigods.

We know who the villains are, so the plot evolves around Carl's attempts to get evidence against them. In the background is a dangerous woman who used to be part of the gang and is now out to get them. Kimmie is a fascinating creature, part villainess, part victim; a rich girl turned bag lady.

I found the criminals and their doings a bit unbelievable, but I enjoyed the book anyway. I loved Carl's oddball team (a mysterious Muslim and a fierce feminist). And I was amused by Carl's lustful attraction to the woman shrink who's assigned to fix his personality disorders.

I definitely recommend Jussi Adler-Olsen's Department Q mysteries, especially to fans of Scandinavian Noir.
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Format: Hardcover
Readers who enjoyed Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen's first mystery to be translated into English, The Keeper of Lost Causes (published in the UK as Mercy), will probably enjoy this second unusual novel as much as the first. This mystery is somewhat different in its focus, however, spending less time on establishing the characters of out-of-favor Detective Carl Morck and his "assistant" Assad, hired originally as a custodian but with a remarkable talent for police investigation. Though little new or dramatic information is learned here about the intriguing personal lives of Morck and Assad (from a country in the Middle East), their characters deepen as the author shows them interacting with each other. Morck is also assigned a new employee, this one a secretary on "mile-high heels." All three characters work together when they decide to investigate a twenty-year-old case file that has mysteriously appeared on Morck's desk.

The case concerns a group of friends whose relationship goes back to prep school. Most have become immensely successful in the two decades since then. One is the owner of sixteen hospitals, one is an internationally recognized designer, one is a stock market analyst, and one, now deceased, has been a shipping magnate. Yet another, now in jail for confessing to a serious crime, has amassed a stock portfolio of incredible value. Rumors have swirled about this group from the time they were in school, since beatings, mayhem, and disappearances seemed to follow in their wake, but no one has ever been able to pin anything specific on any of them, and most have now become leaders of the community. The only female member of this group disappeared long ago.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the second in a series of books about 'Department Q', in Copenhagen, Police Department, which handles old, cold cases. The Department is headed by Carl Morck, with one assistant, Assad. Into their lives , Rose is foisted upon them. Essentially she caused trouble in her old job, but she thrives under Carl's form of leadership, receive assignment, get it done, and get it right. Carl loves his job, and is an excellent example of a hard working man whose life depends upon his work.

The current case fell into their hands, so to speak. Someone left the file and then one by one odelicious clues fall into their hands. A gruesome killing of a sister and brother turns into many killings, one more gruesome than the last. This is not a whodunit, we already know. The story is told crime by crime via one of the perpetrators, Kimmie. A group of four wealthy public school friends started drugging and beating. This all leads to savagery. Each member of the group becomes more wealthy, and lives exemplerary lives, at least on the surface. Carl and his team ferret out each clue and tell the rest of the story.

This novel was too pathological and gory for my tastes. Much of it, 'way out there'. The characters are nasty, without any remorse. I olike Carl and his team's efforts, but the mystery needs to be a little less complex in its savegery. It didn't live up to the first book in the series. Here's hoping for a real thriller in number three.

Recommended. prisrob 08-25-12

The Keeper of Lost Causes: A Department Q Novel

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