Sunday, March 4, 2012

#10: The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

A Copenhagen cop is wounded in a shootout, while another partner is wounded and a third killed; in the aftermath, the burned-out cop is content to be assigned to the cold case files deep in a windowless basement.  However, he meets a janitor/driver named Assad (with mysterious skills far above his station in life) and is gradually coaxed back to life in The Keeper of Lost Causes.

This is the first of Jussi Adler-Olsen's crime novels translated into English, and it is quite a tale.  Our cop and his assistant become interested in a female politician who went missing five years before and is presumed dead.  They rather quickly find out there may be more to the disappearance and take off on a winding mystery, leavened by surprising bits of humor in the relationship between the two lead characters, somewhat rare in the typically gloomy Scandinavian mystery.

Meanwhile, a parallel story is a particularly gruesome one as the missing woman deals with being imprisoned and tortured in a small chamber for years on end, a grim counterpart to the main plot and more in line with the typically downbeat offerings from these authors.  The burned-out cop's intent to keep his feet up and drink coffee often acts as an agonizing contrast to these scenes.

I found this to be one of my favorite reads in the Scandinavian mystery genre and would recommend this to fans of Stieg Larsson and others.

I checked this out from the Morrison-Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana and read it quickly.

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