Newest Review: ... to get rid of him without actually getting rid of him. After this realisation hits home, Carl isn't really interested in the task ahead a... more
Death is too good for her...
Mercy - Jussi Adler-Olsen
Member Name: jeffjen
Mercy - Jussi Adler-Olsen
Advantages: A good thriller, great characters.
Disadvantages: I struggled with a little of the translation, but overall it was very good.
Carl Mørck used to be a good homicide detective and was considered to be one of Copenhagen's best until a bullet almost ended his life. Two of his colleagues who were with him that day weren't so lucky and Carl, because he didn't draw his gun, blames himself for their deaths. Now his erratic behaviour is causing concern and it is feared he could lose his job.
Therefore a promotion is the last thing he expects when he is called in to see his boss, the chief of Homicide, Marcus Jacobsen. However a promotion is what is offered as Jacobsen informs him they are going to give him a slight change of air whilst still making good use of Carl's excellent skills as an invetigator. Carl is going to be promoted to department head of a new division to be known as Department Q, whose goal is to investigate cases that have been shelved but are of particular interest to the public welfare.
Located on his own in the basement, Carl is told he will be running the show alone. A clever move he thinks, to get rid of him without actually getting rid of him. After this realisation hits home, Carl isn't really interested in the task ahead and it's not until a Syrian guy by the name of Assad, turns up to do the cleaning, make coffee and drive Carl around that things begin to change.
Assad begins reading the files of the old cases and gets Carl to begin investigating a case of a missing politician, Merete Lynggaard, whose body was never found as she disappeared whilst on a ferry and was presumed drowned five years ago. Everyone assumes she is dead and that the case is a waste of time but as Carl delves into the case he realises that Merete maybe isn't dead at all - at least not yet.
Mercy is the first book in a series of three 'Department Q' thrillers set for release in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Set in Denmark and translated to English, I struggled a little at first to get into reading this book, but I am pleased I stuck with it as it turned out to be a good read.
Carl Mørck was initially a very difficult character to like, but as time went on and I found out more about him and the events which left his colleagues dead, it endeared him to me more. Carl has lost motivation and enthusiasm for his job and feels anger at being dumped down in the basement under the guise of a promotion. Even his former colleagues think it is a joke, but with the introduction of cleaner, Assad, Carl once more finds himself becoming interested in his work and even shames the original investigators who did not carry out a thorough job of investigating the case of the missing politician five years previously.
Assad's character is a revelation, as despite all odds he brings out the best in Carl and also injects some humour, as this glove-wearing cleaner proves to have a great talent for analysing and is deserving of much more than his job title suggests. Assad demonstrates great versatility in ways you would not expect and his pairing with Carl Mørck makes for excellent reading. Assad has no right to be a detective but so endearing and enjoyable is his character, that you find you are forgiving the fact that he shouldn't really be involved as a sleuth at all. Maybe this isn't very realistic either, but I found I delighted in applauding his character and his skills. His pairing with Carl as they slowly form an understanding and relationship is very well written.
I struggled a little with the translation in a couple of places but overall it worked very well. Something I found particularly pleasing was the distinct accent the author gave to Assad throughout, capturing his Syrian background with clever use of mannerisms and dialogue.
Mercy isn't a fast-paced novel but ceratinly became a page-turner. Initial alternating chapters featuring the woman in the pressure chamber and Carl setting up his Department Q in the basement allowed the tension to slowly build and despite a couple of reservations after reading the first couple of chapters, I began to find I was enjoying reading this book more and more. It does however, make for some disturbing reading in places, particularly when featuring the woman held in the pressure chamber with no hope of escape. The descriptions of her clawing at the walls etc make for some harrowing reading and some of this story may shock you, but the author has managed to blend very well some lighter moments featuring Assad's character, to even it out.
The way the story develops and the conclusion at the end I can find no fault with, it was a highly readable novel once I got past the first couple of chapters.
As shocked and sickened as reading some of this made me feel, I also found myself smiling on several occasions and overall I was left with thinking what a great partenrship Carl and Assad made and I am very much looking foward to reading the following books.
Summary: The first thriller in a new series which I am happy to recommend.