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The Purity of Vengeance: A Department Q Novel Hardcover – December 31, 2013
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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—even if he’s getting just a little bit less successful with each successive book. The fourth Department Q novel finds cranky Copenhagen detective Carl Mørck and his quirky but competent assistants, Assad and Rose, puzzling over a seemingly unconnected group of people who all went missing at the same time. We learn the perpetrator and her motive early on; the tension comes from Mørck’s missteps and the dangers he’s blind to. And while this labyrinthine revenge plot encompasses everything from eugenics and right-wing politics to Mørck’s rocky love life, and includes a nifty twist at the end, the seams are starting to show. Police procedure is an afterthought, repercussions almost nonexistent, and the mystery of Assad’s secret life has dragged on too long without meaningful development. Still good reading, but Adler-Olsen needs to tighten it up a little. --Keir Graff
Praise for The Purity of Vengeance
“[A] sordid tale… inspired by actual events during a dark period of Danish history. Ah, but there more, so much more in this frenzied thriller…” -The New York Times Book Review
"The Purity of Vengeance is an enjoyable and eye-opening way to learn about the real Scandinavia, a story so outrageous that not even the best mystery writer can make it up." - The Boston Globe
“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
"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)
"Another accomplished exercise in three-decker suspense" - Kirkus Reviews
"Surprises, twists and turns galore" - Bookreporter.com
“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) on A Conspiracy of Faith
"From the busy efforts of forensics to some riveting train-and-car chasing near the end, there is no lack of action in A Conspiracy of Faith."
“A shattering parable of honest individuals caught up in the corruption of our times.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review) on A Conspiracy of Faith
“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
“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) on The Absent One
Praise for The Absent One:
“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 has created a wonderful addition to the detective fiction genre in his sleuth….While the book can be read as a stand-alone novel, readers will be unable to resist seeking out and devouring the first and subsequent series titles.” — Library Journal (starred review)
Praise for The Keeper of Lost Causes:
“The pages fly by as the twisty puzzle unfolds. Stieg Larsson fans will be delighted.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[An] absorbing psychological thriller.” — Library Journal (starred review)
“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)
“Plan on putting everything else in your life on hold if you pick up this book.” — The Oregonian
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Top Customer Reviews
Three brilliant misfits
Department Q, the cold case unit of the Copenhagen Police, is staffed by three brilliant misfits. Detective Carl Mørck is still wrestling with guilt and pain two years after one of his partners was killed and the other paralyzed from the neck down in a shootout he thought he should have prevented. He is a disagreeable sort, disliked by most of his colleagues. Carl’s assistant, Asaad, is a physically imposing Syrian immigrant with a mysterious past and a tendency to violence. Rose, the unit’s “secretary,” is a bossy schizophrenic with awesome research skills. She has little respect for Carl and regularly shows it. These three mismatched people hold forth from former storage closets in the basement of Copenhagen Police HQ. This is the motley team that initiates an investigation into the simultaneous disappearance of four seemingly unconnected people in 1987 in The Purity of Vengeance.
Two parallel plotlines
While Department Q begins its slow inquiry into the curious case of the disappearing Danes, a new fascist organization called the Purity Party is readying itself for the upcoming elections, when it hopes to gain seats for the first time. The party’s autocratic leader is an 87-year-old physician named Curt Wad. He’s a fertility doctor who is widely rumored to have performed a great many abortions over the years, most of them unauthorized. Wad is a clever and articulate spokesperson for the party and is steadily gaining adherents through frequent television and radio interviews.
No reader of crime fiction will be surprised to learn that these two plotlines—the 25-year-old disappearances and the rise of the fascist party—will eventually intersect. However, there is a great deal of action along the way, and lots of surprises. Adler-Olsen has written a top-flight thriller, with palpable suspense until the very end.
Forced sterilization in Denmark’s recent history
As The Economist explained in a 1997 article entitled “Here, of all places,” Nazi Germany was not the only place where dark-skinned and mentally or physically disabled people were classified as inferior and sometimes forcibly sterilized. “All four main Nordic countries—Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden—brought in eugenics laws in the 1930s. More remarkably, some of those laws stayed on the statute books until the mid-1970s, though apparently they were not latterly used very often.” About 11,000 Danish women were forcibly sterilized under such laws between 1929 and 1967. The plot in The Purity of Vengeance rests on this disgraceful history.
Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Department Q series, is one of the more interesting series coming from Denmark. Carl Morck is a detective covering Cold Cases. He was demoted after a big case went wrong. He has his own method of detecting, and has two people working with him. Assad, of questionable ethics, but who has become one of the more interesting of colleagues. Where he came from and how he became part of Carl's group, who knows. Rose, the secretary,who is better as a detective than many others. The fact that she has several different personalities, makes life interesting, and she fits right into this group.
It is flu season, and everyone's nose is dripping, the bathrooms have a waiting line. None of these people should be working, but, there you have it. One of the cold cases Carl Morck picks up is a case of a missing woman, which turns into 4 or more people missing. Than the case that sent Carl to Department Q has rebounded with new clues. Someone is out to get Carl, and this man has more lives than a cat.
At the same time, we learn the story of Nete Hermansen, a woman who was violently abused and has a story to tell. This is the part of the book I thought was too clever and complicated and could have used a book of it's own. Jumping from one story to another was disconcerting, and the disconnection was too abrupt.
The real story, as always is Carl's to tell. He is one lovable fellow. I have in my mind's eye a picture of him, but I am subject to change. He and his wife have separated, he has custody of his wife's son, he is seeing a beautiful woman, but he is not sure how well that is going. His relationships with his colleagues at the force are so, so. Rose and Assad know him best, and they will go the distance. Looking forward to the fourth book...
Recommended. prisrob 01-08-14