The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q #1) by Jussi-Adler Olsen, translated by Lisa Hartford
Rating: ★★ // yeah…not quite Girl With the Dragon Tattoo…
Opening Line: She scratched her fingertips on the smooth walls until they bled, and pounded her fists on the thick panes until she could no longer feel her hands.
I usually wait to review books in a series until I finish the whole thing, but as I won’t be finishing this series, I might as well review it now. This review contains spoilers, but not super major ones.
Summary (via GoodReads)
Carl Mørck used to be one of Copenhagen’s best homicide detectives. Then a hail of bullets destroyed the lives of two fellow cops, and Carl—who didn’t draw his weapon—blames himself. So a promotion is the last thing he expects. But Department Q is a department of one, and Carl’s got only a stack of Copenhagen’s coldest cases for company. His colleagues snicker, but Carl may have the last laugh, because one file keeps nagging at him: a liberal politician vanished five years earlier and is presumed dead. But she isn’t dead … yet.
To all those who compared this book to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, thanks for nothing, because you are a liar.
Now, I have to point out that my dislike of the book may come solely from the translation, but because I don’t speak Danish, that’s really all I have to go on.
The plot of this book was actually pretty interesting. Carl Morck is assigned to a new department to solve crimes that were left unsolved…pretty cool idea. Furthermore, his fist case he picks up is that of a missing government official, Merete Lynggaard, who has been missing for 5 years…again, pretty good plot. It’s gets better (the plot, that is) when we start hearing the story from Merete’s point-of-view, and the story continues jumping back from her to Morck, which is the only thing that makes this book good and worth continuing.
The main plot, like I said above, was intriguing, but it still didn’t really hold up. Along with the main one, there was also the side plot about the guy who shot Morck and his teammates. This side plot made it just more confusing than it needed to be, and somehow they tried to tie them together and it just didn’t seem natural.
Carl Morck: self-consumed jerk, who spends 75% of the book feeling sorry for himself and whining about his predicament, and the other 25% idolizing over women.
Assad: Carl’s quirky middle-eastern sidekick, who for some reason doesn’t care that Carl constantly makes fun of his race and his religion…and his food. Oh, and he also constantly idolizes over women.
Merete: The damsel in distress, except she holds her own pretty well. She’s physically and mentally tough, but her character is not written in a way that is believable.
Merete’s kidnappers: These people are the worst. Their is literally nothing good about them, which, you would think, would make them good villains, but no, they suck at that too. Also, their reason for kidnapping her is the dumbest reason in the world.
Every other detective/policeman: Jerks/womanizers.
Seriously, everyone was terrible, except for Merete’s younger brother, who was innocent and good, but didn’t play a big enough role to make up for the everyone else being horrible.
I am not usually sensitive to certain language in books, I mean, if there is an excessive and unnecessary amount of f-bombs I tend not to read it, or if there is an excessive amount of sexual material, I tend not to read it because that’s not my cup o’ tea, but other than that I’m pretty ok with language in a book. With that being said, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that was as sexist as this book. Even with the crappy characters and the so-so plot, I might have decently liked the book, but it was all ruined by the sexism.
Again, this may be a translator issue, but every single time a woman was mentioned, there was some comment about her looks or her body. The main character couldn’t even go to his therapist without gaping over her. And it wasn’t even subtle, it was down right disgusting. By the end if I heard one more line about “luscious lips” or “desirous eyes” my own eyes were going to roll right out of my head.
I could go on and on about this, but I’ll save you the time. Basically, I was extremely disappointed with this book, especially after all the good reviews. I usually advice that people check it out for themselves, but really, ugh, I wouldn’t waste your time with this one. 😦