Friday, August 5, 2011

A Review of "The Keeper of Lost Causes" [50]

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Dutton Adult, ISBN 978-0525952480
400 pages, August 23, 2011

I know what you are all looking for. Another new series to start!
Well, I have one for you and the good news is that it starts with a very good book. The even better news, for you TBR challenged, with piles of unread books, is that while this is the first in a multi-book series, this is the only one of Jussi Adler-Olsen's 4 books in the series that so far has been translated into English. So you have a bit of a breather.

As the book opens, we find a young woman being held captive in a locked room, in total darkness. At first, we have no idea who she is, where she is or how long she has been there. Soon, it will start to make sense. A very creepy, scary, sick sense.

We meet Carl Morck, a police detective with a very bad attitude. It seems that he was one of three detectives investigating a homicide who were attacked in an ambush. One was killed, the second left a quadriplegic and Carl, wounded, was left with terrible survivor guilt. He feel that somehow he should have been able to save his comrades and he is troubled that the case has yet to have been solved. He was never the most friendly or popular fellow, but now his terrible attitude is starting to cause some real problems with his fellow detectives. So his bosses come up with a unique solution. He will be promoted, put in charge of a new Department Q..a department that will consist of only himself and will be charged with investigating cold cases. In reality, his bosses will be content if he just sits in his windowless basement office, with a pile of forgotten files on his desk and do nothing..while they use the large large sum of money the government has given them for this department for other uses.

And so it might have gone if they had not decided to assign him a rather mysterious young Muslim man named Hafez el-Assad. OK, it was not their idea. Rather Carl finds out about the money and 'blackmails' his bosses into giving him an assistant.  Hafez's job is to clean up, set up equipment, make coffee and run errands, but it is soon apparent that he has other interests and other talents. When he starts to organize the files, it seems he can not help himself from reading them as well. Hafez may have a few secret talents in his own past too, one of which is finally forcing Carl into taking a look into one specific case.

Five years ago a talented and beautiful young woman politician disappeared. Did she fall off the ferry she was traveling on, did she kill herself or did someone, for some unknown reason abduct her? As Assad turns up interesting fact after interesting fact, Carl can not help but take an interest and be true to the excellent investigator he is, looking into the cold case.
Most people assume she is dead. Except as we know, from the descriptions of a woman being held captive, it seems that she may not be.

While I had a slight issue with a seemingly rather clunky translation, overall I though this was a very good book. The story is so goo that once you gat into it, any other small isuues will be forgotten. And yes, while I have no need for anymore series to read, I must say that I hope we will see some of Adler-Olsen's other books translated soon.
Carl is my favorite sort of detective, trouble and flawed but at heart a good man and a great investigator, with a dark sense of humor. And our victim, as we relive her experiences in a series of flashbacks is smart and clever and resourceful, trying her best to figure out her mysterious situation and save herself. She may go down, but it will not be without a fight. But maybe my favorite character is the mysterious Assad, a man who , no doubt, has an interesting past of his own to be discovered.

This is a very good book and I will anxiously be awaiting for future books in the series to make their way into the English market.
This book will be available August 23rd.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book for review


  1. Oooo, I would like this, I can tell! Actually, the way it starts is EXACTLY the way Jo Nesbo's book THE LEOPARD starts. Very creepy and scary! Maybe this should be my new series instead of Gerritson!

  2. since this series only has one book in english so far, you can read that and then start the Gerritsens...

  3. You know Caite, that is EXACTLY what I was looking for! Another series to completely knock me off my track, like Jo Nesbo has. Sure why not? *sigh* Dammit.

  4. I can't keep up with the series I already enjoy and really given up trying to. I would still be willing to start a new one that sounds this good.

  5. Sounds intriguing! And I like the idea of having a breather between translations. But then I really have no business starting a new series with all the books I have still to read right now. But I think every reader worth their salt has that problem.


please speak up, I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!