Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olson

11316562-1While this is the first book by Jussi Adler-Olson I have read, the inaugural novel in the Department Q series, titled Mercy of The Keeper of Lost Causes, won’t be the last.

Deputy Detective Superintendent, Carl Mork, returns to work after surviving a situation that kills one colleague and permanently paralyses another. Unpopular, argumentative and prone to alienating his peers, Carl is nonetheless an excellent cop, something his reasonable boss recognises and, in a sense, rewards when he places him in charge of a new department, called Q that’s responsible for cold cases. Given an inexperienced non-law enforcement but canny assistant who is quirky and intelligent, Carl isn’t keen on his new assignment, but when he starts to look into the circumstances surrounding the mysterious disappearance and assumed death of a successful and beautiful politician five years earlier, Carl discovers discrepancies in the case; discrepancies and oversights that lead him and his accidental new partner down unexpected and ultimately very dangerous paths…

Slow to start, but never boring, Mercy is a fabulous novel with marvellous characters and a plot that draws you in. The writing is clever and contained, the atmosphere that’s created, whether it’s in the basement to which Carl is assigned, to those of the alternate chapters, is suffocating. You find yourself longing to escape, not from the book, which is difficult to tear yourself away from, but the unfolding events and the inevitable consequences.

This is a masterful novel, at once suspenseful but also authentic. Highly recommended for lovers of good crime, with well-drawn characters and tight plotting.

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