Review: Disgrace


AuthorJussi Adler-Olsen
ISBN: 9780141399980

Why did I read it? Because it an unproofed copy was offered to me in exchange for a review and I really enjoyed The Keeper of Lost Causes by the same author, but in audio format.

What’s it about?  Comprised of some of the elite of Danish society, a pack of hunters are seeking the ultimate adrenaline rush when one of their former members, long since disappeared, decides she has had enough of hiding from them in plain sight.   Kimmie is on the move, and dangerous; dangerous because Kimmie knows their darkest secrets.   The hunters must find her before she finds them.

This is the second in what I believe will be a ten book series about Department Q of the Danish police, which consists of just two staff: the investigator Carl Mørck; and his Syrian assistant with the mysterious past, Assad.   Disgrace sees a new member join the team, Rose who has been reassigned after causing a stir in another division.    In Disgrace, Carl finds a file on his desk relating to the murder of a brother and sister 20 years ago.  One of a number of suspects from a  boarding school was convicted and is serving his time in gaol for the crime, so why has this file appeared at the top of Carl’s pile?  And, why now?

What did I like?   Disgrace was an easy, and surprisingly short read being a mere 500 pages.   Despite having come across a similar plot in the past, I was still drawn into the storyline, with it’s little tweaks.

It was also nice to see things developing in the background for the regular characters; i.e. hints, here and there, of what might be revealed later in the Department Q series.  I am certainly looking forward to learning more about the mysterious Assad, who appears to have grown in Carl’s estimation since the last book, and whose ability as an investigator now seems sharper, too.  The surprise was the appointment of a woman to Department Q: Rose who, right from the start, seemed more than capable at her job, as well as being  a match for both the less-than-personable Carl, and the more sociable Assad.

The light touch of humour was present in Disgrace, but only between Carl and Assad, and it wasn’t as marked as it had been in The Keeper of Lost Causes.

I must confess I think I shall wait until all the books in the Department Q series are in audio format, as the narrator of The Keeper of Lost Causes, Erik Davies, did a wonderful job of voicing Carl and Assad, so much so, it was his voices I heard when reading the paperback copy of Disgrace.

What didn’t I like?  Never again an unproofed copy.   There was whole sentences I could not comprehend, despite reading over and over again.  I think these were odd bits of bad translation to English, and as these often occurred when a character was speaking, I got a little bit lost.

I found the overall plot/crime a little limp in Disgrace especially when compared to that of the method employed by the perpetrator(s) in the first book, The Keeper of Lost Causes.  I also felt Disgrace lacked a little of the mystery (although easily guessed) of The Keeper of Lost Causes, but it didn’t make it any less enjoyable.

Unless a reader has read the first book  in the Department Q series, also known as Mercy, they won’t have much of an idea of Carl’s personality, or how he interacts with the other, ongoing characters, nor will the reader be aware of how Assad and Carl have come to work together which shapes their working relationship and determines the division of labour.   In Disgrace, the focus seems to be more on the lives, and personalities of the hunters rather than the investigators, but I’d like more light on Carl, Assad and, now, Rose, too.

Would I recommend it?   Oh, yes.   Once again, however, with the caveat that the first book – The Keeper of Lost Causes a.k.a. Mercy – be read first.

Rating:  4/5.

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