Writing is always a challenge for me. Since the end of 2012 is almost here, I am trying to finish some of the book reviews that I started and did not finish. Here is one for a book I read in late summer. It's not as good as the first in the series, but I like the characters and I will definitely stick with the series.
I was excited to learn that Carl and Assad from Department Q were back with another cold case. The Absent One is Jussi Alder-Olsen's followup to 2011's exceptional Keeper of Lost Causes (which both Jane and Mary reviewed). It introduced us to the complicated Copenhagen police department, Deputy Detective Supt. Carl Morck, the head of Dept. Q, and his mysterious assistant, Assad. Because they successfully solved the Merele Lynggard case [see Keeper of Lost Causes] they've proved their worth as cold case investigators. In this second Dept Q novel the team gains another assistant. Rose Knudsen is a talented researcher who didn't make it at the police academy. When Carl comes back from holiday, he inherits a new staff person, Rose, and a old case from the summer of 1987. Initially, neither Carl nor Assad want Rose around, but she becomes a valuable member of the team.
The cold case is the murder of the Jorgensen siblings who were beaten to death by a gang of boarding school brats. Nine years after the murder, a man who was in that boarding school gang confessed and went to prison for the crime. So why is the file sitting on Carl's desk? Who sent it? What role does a homeless woman and former classmate play? Carl and his small staff get sucked in once again, despite the fact that his boss, Homicide Chief Marcus Jacobsen, doesn't want him wasting his time on a closed case. In fact, as he continues to investigate Carl makes some powerful enemies, rich enough to keep their secrets buried. So maybe there is more to this case than just the confession of Bjarne Thogersen to the 1987 murders? The past will not stay dead. Will Carl and company figure out it out in time before someone else dies?
In between working the cold case he visits his injured friend and colleague. Carl is still dealing with the effects of the case that put his friend in the hospital. Eight months ago Carl was involved in a shooting where one fellow officer was killed and another became a quadriplegic. This case lead him to Dept Q, a place for the burned out detective. But the shooting is unsolved and his friend Hardy, who is paralyzed from the neck down and wants to die, thinks that maybe one of the three of them were dirty cops. So Carl is not only dealing with the aftereffects of losing a colleague, but the possibility that someone he trusted was corrupt. I hope they explore this more in the next book.
Although I was a bit disappointed with the over-the-top villans, this is still a good thriller and worth reading. I look forward to more adventures of Carl and Dept Q. The next one A Conspiracy of Faith: A Department Q Novel, is due in May 2013.