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The Hanging Girl: A Department Q Novel Hardcover – September 8, 2015
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Praise for The Hanging Girl
“Adler-Olsen wields a one-two punch of psychological suspense, as his trademark parallel plot follows the remorseless killer’s manipulations while the humorous, sometimes touching rapport between Mørck and Assad threatens to steal the show. A must for procedural devotees and fans of Scandinavian mysteries.”—Booklist (starred review)
“All the requisite Adler-Olsen hallmarks are on display here: the easy camaraderie of the investigative team; great moments of humor; and Mørck’s crotchety disposition. It helps to read the series in order, but these books are so good that it’s no hardship to start at the beginning.”—Bookpage
“An intriguing read for devoted fans.”—Library Journal
“Simultaneously sardonic and funny.”—Sacramento Bee
“This book is not for the faint of heart, but for readers who enjoy dark humor and wisecracking heroes and heroines, you’ll love Department Q.”—Suspense Magazine
“It can be hard to distinguish Scandinavian crime writers—there are a lot of them, and their names have consonant clusters and umlauts and all that jazz—but Jussi Adler-Olsen is a name to know. In a crowded genre, Adler-Olsen is an outlier.”—GQ.com
More Praise for Jussi Adler-Olsen's Department Q series
“If you like the dark humor, wisecracking, and layered betrayals of Raymond Chandler, then read Adler-Olsen’s Department Q series.”—Men's Journal
“A tense, pleasurable read.”—USA Today
“[A] sordid tale… inspired by actual events during a dark period of Danish history. Ah, but there is more, so much more in this frenzied thriller.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Adler-Olsen merges story lines...with ingenious aplomb, effortlessly mixing hilarities with horrors...This crime fiction tour de force could only have been devised by an author who can even turn stomach flu into a belly laugh.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This series has enough twists to captivate contemporary mystery readers and enough substance and background to entertain readers with historical and literary tastes.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“When your series relies on cold cases, it’s not always easy to craft plots that have both historical interest and an air of urgency, but it’s something Adler-Olsen is very good at.”—Booklist
About the Author
Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark’s #1 crime writer and a New York Times bestselling author. His books, including the Department Q series, routinely top the bestseller lists in Europe and have sold more than fifteen million copies around the world. His many prestigious Nordic crime-writing awards include the Glass Key Award, also won by Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbø, Stieg Larsson, and Peter Høeg.
Top customer reviews
After that, there's no more napping for Carl. Guilt drives him to investigate.
The investigation takes the team to the remote island of Bornholm, Denmark's smallest police district. Here a beautiful young woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver some twenty years earlier, her body left hung up in a tree. Carl and team have to prove that it was murder, not an accident. Then they have to track down a certain person of interest.
In search of this shadowy figure, Carl and his assistants enter a weird world of alternative spirituality and healing -- sun cults, aura-soma therapy, iris analysis, trance channeling, electromagnetic therapy, angel dancing, drum therapy and hypnotherapy. Carl and team undergo some strange experiences before they're done. This gets pretty funny especially in Carl's case, because he's the polar opposite of a new age type.
Carl's teammates continue to exhibit entertaining foibles. Rose, a ferocious feminist, enjoys bullying Carl. Assad, Carl's mysterious Middle Eastern sidekick, once again reveals unsuspected, outré talents. Assad also has a bottomless supply of camel jokes and proverbs.
The killer is a frightening creature, but this novel is not quite as steeped in sickening violence as some earlier books. The plot is engaging and takes surprising turns in the end. I have enjoyed every Department Q mystery, most of all for the quirky characters. This one has a different feel, but is very satisfying.
Of course, we readers know well that Department Q will, in fact, take on the case. Carl is forced to do so the following day when his assistant, Rose, guilt-trips him with the accusation that his refusal to help the man led to his suicide. The team's one-day exploratory visit to the distant Baltic Sea island of Bornholm devolves into an investigation that drags on for weeks. Painstakingly, Carl and his staff pursue one fruitless lead after another—until, at long last, their persistence begins to pay off.
Meanwhile, a religious cult led by a sex-crazed charismatic man is thriving, first in the Danish countryside and then in Sweden. "Atu Abanashamash Dumuzi"—obviously not his name at birth—leads a group of several dozen misfits pursuing the belief that all religions have a common origin in sun-worship. Their operations center is called the Nature Absorption Academy. The Academy is run in practice by a fiercely protective Finnish woman named Pirjo Abanashamash Dumuzi. Though the two aren't married, Pirjo desperately wants to bear a child with Atu. And she is clearly prepared to murder any woman who threatens her primacy in the cult. "Pirjo became the last remaining disciple who'd followed Atu Abanashamash Dumuzi from the beginning, when he'd been in a completely different place in life and was called Frank."
Unsurprisingly, these two threads of the plot will converge, but that's a long time coming. Suspense builds all the way. And things do not turn out the way a reader will suspect.
The Hanging Girl is the sixth of the bestselling Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen's Department Q novels, and the sixth I've read. Adler-Olsen does a brilliant job with plotting, and his books cast a spotlight on Danish society that I find intriguing. In the earlier Department Q novels, I was charmed by the three characters who comprise the department: Deputy Chief Inspector Carl Mørck and his two (now three) assistants, Assad, Rose, and Gordon. All four of these people are annoying, each in their own way. And I must admit that I'm tiring of their antics. The Hanging Girl works nonetheless because the novel is so cleverly plotted and the author's research into religious cults has turned up so much fascinating information.
Olsen has won literary prizes, and he is one of the best contemporary crime authors in Scandinavia. He has also published other novels (not detective stories).