Books Magazine

Disgrace – Jussi Adler-Olsen

By Bibliobeth @bibliobeth1

11864960

What’s it all about?:

Kimmie’s home is on the streets of Copenhagen. To live she must steal. She has learned to avoid the police and never to stay in one place for long. But now others are trying to find her. And they won’t rest until she has stopped moving – for good. Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q, the cold cases division, has received a file concerning the brutal murder of a brother and sister twenty years earlier. A group of boarding school students were the suspects at the time – until one of their number confessed and was convicted. So why is the file of a closed case on Carl’s desk? Who put it there? Who believes the case is not solved? A police detective wants to talk to Kimmie and someone else is asking questions about her. They know she carries secrets certain powerful people want to stay buried deep. But Kimmie has one of her own. It’s the biggest secret of them all. And she can’t wait to share it with them…

What did I think?:

I bought this book on a bit of a whim years ago after being intrigued by the synopsis of the story. I finally got round to reading it last year and initially have to admit to being slightly wary as the translation didn’t really seem to gel. However, when I got used to the writing style I was captivated by the twists and turns of the plot and fascinated by the characters. First of all we have Detective Carl Mørck, who works in the cold cases division of Department Q, an arrogant “lone wolf” who prefers to work around as little people as possible and as a result is stuck with Assad, a hapless and yet hilarious assistant whose stumbles and utterings gave me quite a few chuckles – but is he is naive as he seems?

Carl stumbles over an old case file twenty years old, accidentally on purpose left on his desk describing the brutal murder of a brother and sister. Why was it left on his desk however when the case has been apparently solved? When Carl looks into it further he finds out that a group of students from an elite boarding school were suspected until one of their number confessed and is now behind bars. Case closed, right? Well, not exactly. It turns out this very exclusive group of high rolling men with a lot of money have a guard up against them that is iron-tight and pretty much impossible to penetrate.

Could the necessary link in this case be Kimmie? Unlike the group of men, she has been living rough on the streets, having to steal each day to survive. What is she hiding from and what is her secret connected to the group? Things turn out to become very dangerous for Kimmie as Carl re-opens the file, discovers her link to the men and attempts to find and talk to her. It’s time for some seriously dodgy skeletons to emerge from the closet and secrets that many thought long ago buried to be unearthed.

There are some absolutely brilliant characters in this book, from the humorous Assad to the fiercely strong and independent Kimmie that I fell in love with as the story progressed. Bear in mind though that it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted, there are some incredibly violent and shocking scenes, some of which made my skin crawl which I found surprising as I class myself as quite a hardened crime reader. We learn about Kimmie’s harrowing past and the reasons behind her living on the streets, constantly running and hiding from those that would do her harm. In fact, when the reader discovers her murky past (which keeps getting all the murkier and darker) it beggars belief that she has survived in her current situation so far. For me, she’s probably the ultimate “anti-heroine,” and it’s quite refreshing to read about someone that has made mistakes and will probably make more, yet comes across as an admirable human being.

Also published as The Absent One, this is the second in the author’s Department Q series which I didn’t realize until I came to read it, but can easily be read as a stand-alone. Reading this novel gives you access to the kind of evil you didn’t realize humanity was capable of, perpetuated by the most warped of minds. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it as a must-read Scandinavian crime novel for fans of the genre. I’m also now fully intending to purchase the first book in this series and watch out for any future books from this talented writer who made this story one to remember.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0


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