A riveting tale of suspense, THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES is told from two viewpoints and begins five years apart.
In 2002 Merete Lynggard was a young, rising political star in Denmark. While a bit controversial, everyone seemed to like her. She cared for her younger brother who was unable to speak. He had been severely injured in a car wreck that had also killed their parents. One day on a boat ride with her brother, Merete disappeared.
At first there was speculation that her brother had pushed her overboard. Some believed she committed suicide, while others thought she just ran away. In the end it was listed as an accidental drowning and the case went cold since her body was never found.
Five years later an ambush leaves one officer dead, one permanently paralyzed, and one who no longer seems to care as he doubts his abilities.
Once Copenhagen’s best homicide detective, Carl Morck has now been assigned to head up Department Q. The department consists of Carl and a custodian, Muslim immigrant Assad, who turns out to be more like a partner half way through the story. Department Q, housed in the police headquarters basement, is given cold case files of ‘special focus’ to solve.
Not really caring, Carl selects Merete’s case from the stack on his desk. As he begins to dig into the case, with great assistance from Assad, he starts to care bit by bit. He finds unanswered questions and unchecked leads in the original case.
Author Jussi Adler-Olsen takes the chapters back and forth between Merete in 2002 and Carl in 2007. Readers learn Merete has been kidnapped and held prisoner in a small cell. It’s also discover that Merete is still alive in 2007, but will soon die as her kidnappers have a set date for her execution. She has devised a way to take her own life and deprive her kidnappers of killing her in the gruesome way they have planned. The closer Carl and Assad get to finding out the truth and discovering Merete, the more panicked her kidnappers become.
This psychological thriller will have you on the edge of your seat, holding your breath, hoping Merete is found before the clock runs out. While you may be able to guess the kidnappers identities, the author still has a few twists at the end to get your pulse racing. It’s a roller coaster ride till the very end.
The characters are compelling and the story flows smoothly despite jumping back and forth. Switching between past and present sets the reader on track for the two realities to collide in a dramatic conclusion. Merete is a strong, determine woman who has a fierce love for her brother. Carl is a dedicated, but burnt out, detective burdened with guilt over the outcome of the ambush. Assad is a colorful sidekick with a hidden past that could hold endless possibilities. For a touch of humor there is also Carl’s stepson who needs severe discipline; a zany tenant who has a most unusual collection; and Carl’s wife who prefers to live with her latest fling but won’t give him a divorce.
This is a gripping, fast-pace story on its own, but I would highly recommend the audio version. Narrator Erik Davies does a wonderful job of bring these characters to life. Hearing the lovely Danish names and phrases spoken by Davies’ accent is an added bonus.
THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES is the winner of the prestigious Glass Key Award given to top Scandinavian crime writers. Originally titled, THE WOMAN IN THE CAGE (and also MERCY), this is the first installment in the Department Q series and Adler-Olsen’s debut into the US market. I hope we can expect the other installments in this series very soon.
Author Jussi Adler-Olsen’s website is http://www.jussiadlerolsen.dk/
The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen, A Department Q Novel, Read by Erik Davies, Penguin Audio, @2011, ISBN: 9781611760354, 13 Discs, Listening Time: 15½ Hours
FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
*Author Elizabeth Edmondson was scheduled to guest blog today but due to sickness in her family, she was unable to. We hope to be able to reschedule her post as soon as her family member is better. Please send healing thoughts to her and her family. Thanks so much.
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