Book Review: The Keeper of Lost Causes – Jussi Adler-Olsen

Title: The Keeper of Lost Causes
Author: Jussi Adler-Olsen
ISBN: 9780525952480
Pages: 400
Release Date: August 23, 2011
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Mystery
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Detective Carl Morck is emotionally wounded after a shooting left one of his partners dead and the other paralyzed.  He has become a liability to his department, and they plot to push him aside by promoting him to the head of Department Q, a new department directed by the government to solve old Danish cold cases.  What the department doesn’t expect, though, is that Morck will take his new position seriously and resurrect the case of Merete Lynggaard, an up-and-coming politician who disappeared from a ferry five years earlier.

Review:

Jussi Adler-Olsen is the latest Scandavian author billed to be the next “Stieg Larsson”.  Is he?  I say it’s irrelevant because Adler-Olsen stands on his own two feet with The Keeper of Lost Causes.  It’s a well-written and gripping thriller that will keep readers hooked from beginning to end.

The reader is treated to two different perspectives in The Keeper of Lost Causes.  The first is Carl Morck.  Carl isn’t the easiest person to like initially, but he grows on the reader as the book progresses.  He is tortured by the shooting that left his partner paralyzed, as Morck thinks it’s his fault for not drawing his gun.  Morck is shrewd and knows how to play the political game; he uses his knowledge as leverage in order to gain an assistant and some resources for Department Q.  He’s a great main character and has as-yet unimagined depths for the reader to explore over the course of future novels.

The other perspective in The Keeper of Lost Causes is that of Merete Lynggaard, who is being held by persons unknown.  The novel details her bizarre and twisted confinement, and here is where the book becomes incredibly dark.  Who is doing this to Merete, and why?  What is the point of these experiments, except to probe the limits of what the human psyche can withstand?  What Merete must undergo is incredibly disturbing, and readers will root for her as they hope that Carl will find her before it’s too late.

The Keeper of Lost Causes is twisted and at times horrifying, but it’s also got memorable characters in Carl and his assistant Assad.  They develop a great relationship over the course of the novel; each is appealingly flawed, and their banter is surprisingly funny for such a dark novel.  I found this novel to be completely gripping and am glad that Jussi Adler-Olsen is receiving acclaim in the United States for this book, as he certainly deserves it.

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Comments

  1. This one will be placed firmly on my list…love the dark, quirky, character-driven thrillers. Now when I will read it is a totally different deal. I’m predicting in 6 years.

  2. This one will be placed firmly on my list…love the dark, quirky, character-driven thrillers. Now when I will read it is a totally different deal. I’m predicting in 6 years.

  3. I enjoyed this novel a lot and reviewed the European version titled MERCY. A very apt name!

  4. I enjoyed this novel a lot and reviewed the European version titled MERCY. A very apt name!

  5. I too picked this one up at BEA, but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Great review…I’m already thinking which of my friends would love it!

  6. I too picked this one up at BEA, but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Great review…I’m already thinking which of my friends would love it!

  7. Next time in the mood for something dark and twisted, I’ll pick this up. It sounds fascinating!

  8. Next time in the mood for something dark and twisted, I’ll pick this up. It sounds fascinating!

  9. I loved this book and like you think that he can stand on his own merit. I’m tired of every Scandanavian author being compared to Mr. Larsson. 🙂

    I can’t wait for the next one in the series.

  10. I loved this book and like you think that he can stand on his own merit. I’m tired of every Scandanavian author being compared to Mr. Larsson. 🙂

    I can’t wait for the next one in the series.

  11. Oh, the way you described this book really caught my attention, and I can imagine that the elements you’ve described would be really engrossing. I don’t know how I would handle the torturing business, but it would be interesting to find out. And saying that he can hold his own against Larsson is a HUGE compliment. Must read this one.

  12. Oh, the way you described this book really caught my attention, and I can imagine that the elements you’ve described would be really engrossing. I don’t know how I would handle the torturing business, but it would be interesting to find out. And saying that he can hold his own against Larsson is a HUGE compliment. Must read this one.

  13. I have this one on my kindle, so I am glad to hear that you liked it. I am afraid, for some crazy reason, that I am not going to like it.

  14. I have this one on my kindle, so I am glad to hear that you liked it. I am afraid, for some crazy reason, that I am not going to like it.

  15. I don’t read many mystery/thrillers but this one sounds really good.

    I hate when authors are compared to other authors. I feel like they should stand on their own. Most of them do, and I hate to see them compared.

  16. I don’t read many mystery/thrillers but this one sounds really good.

    I hate when authors are compared to other authors. I feel like they should stand on their own. Most of them do, and I hate to see them compared.

  17. I’m reading this one right now — could hardly put it down but had to get a few other things done!

  18. I’m reading this one right now — could hardly put it down but had to get a few other things done!

  19. I’m glad to see you liked this one as much as I did. He’s got four in this series out already. I hope we get them here soon!!

    I loved how Carl and Assad interacted and developed their partnership throughout the book. It was just enough comic relief without resorting to too much contrived ‘witty banter’.

  20. I’m glad to see you liked this one as much as I did. He’s got four in this series out already. I hope we get them here soon!!

    I loved how Carl and Assad interacted and developed their partnership throughout the book. It was just enough comic relief without resorting to too much contrived ‘witty banter’.

  21. Re the banter in the book: truly intelligent banter is something that is almost entirely missing from TV; you have to go to books now to find it.

  22. Re the banter in the book: truly intelligent banter is something that is almost entirely missing from TV; you have to go to books now to find it.

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