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Monday, February 24, 2014
The Purity of Vengeance by Jussi Adler-Olsen
When it comes to a department that is maintained, staffed and operates unlike any other, then Department Q of the Copenhagen Police Department is the one.
Headed by Detective Carl Mørck, with his Syrian assistant Assad and zany secretary Rose, Department Q is a distinct police unit in more ways than one. Located in the basement of HQ, the trio investigate only cold cases with their own unique ways of discovering information.
Narrator Graeme Malcolm does an excellent job bringing the characters to life in this latest thriller by Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen. Malcolm's cadence and mannerism add depth to the story. His interruption of the dialect enhances THE PURITY OF VENGEANCE and draws the listener in.
Nete Hermansen’s life once again came crashing down around her in 1987. She decided her own form of revenge against those who abused her in her youth would set her on the right path. Her main focus was on Dr. Curt Wad, a surgeon who, along with his father, headed the movement to sterilize those women they concerned wayward in 1950s Denmark. She also sought out others who lead to her time on Sprogø Island, the facility where women deemed promiscuous and mentally unfit were contained.
Back to present day, a case more than 20 years old concerning a missing brothel owner named Rita is the latest case for Department Q. In addition, new evidence is coming to light in the nail gun shooting case that originally sent Mørck to the basement, killed one of his partners and paralyzed the other.
As they look closer at the new case, Rose and Assad discover several other people disappeared at the same time as the brothel owner. As they start putting the pieces together, the trio move closer to Wad’s involvement. Meanwhile, now in his eighties, Wad is determined to see those involved in his cause come to political power no matter what it takes. The closer Mørck and his team come to uncovering the truth, the closer they come to life-threatening decisions.
The story flows back and forth from Nete’s experiences leading to her confinement on Sprogø to carrying out her revenge to Department Q’s investigation of the cold cases to Wad’s ongoing cause to preserve humanity as he sees it. Since Department Q dealings with cold cases, it’s only natural that matters from the past would have to be revisited. Adler-Olsen does a good job of keeping the transitions smooth while keeping a number of subplots working alongside the main story.
Though this story deals with murder, Adler-Olsen also vividly depicts the abuse and manner in which young girls were treated by those in authority when sent to Sprogø Island. The darkness of those trying to purify the human race comes through in Adler-Olsen’s descriptions.
The story wasn’t without bits of humor woven throughout. The quirky behavior of the merry band of Department Q shone through in their bantering with each other, as well as the entire police department’s battle with a stomach virus. In addition, Mørck’s love life or lack of one was intermingled with the case.
As the story drew to a conclusion, there were moments of suspense and anticipation as to what would happen. Even though the story does provide closure for some issues, there is still much to be discovered about Mørck, the nail gun shooting, Assad’s true identify and Rose’s personality.
THE PURITY OF VENGEANCE is the fourth Department Q novel translated into English. Although it can be read (or listened to) on its own, readers (listeners) would have a much better understanding of the trio and their actions by reading the stories in order.
This story is well-written with fascinating characters, interesting locations, and an intriguing plot. But to further enhance the pleasure of the adventure, I would recommend the audio version in order to appreciate the dialect and flavor of the setting.
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