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The Keeper of Lost Causes: A Department Q Novel (Paperback)

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The Keeper of Lost Causes: A Department Q Novel Cover Image
By Jussi Adler-Olsen, Lisa Hartford (Translator)
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2 on hand, as of Jun 28 2:39pm

Staff Reviews

Adele talked me into reading Jussi Adler-Olsen's first book, The Keeper of Lost Causes and so I absolutely had to read The Absent One, and it's just as much fun as the second one! 

Carl Mørck is still head of Department Q, and he's not sure which cold case to take on next. But his assistant, Assad, has one already picked out, and it's one that's going to cause controversy. You see, the murder of the two siblings back in 1988 has been solved; someone confessed and is doing time. So why should Department Q take another look? Because perhaps those weren't the only two murders. And perhaps some of the assailants are now high-society members. Carl's not convinced, until his supervisor tells him to leave it alone. Nothing will get Carl Mørck's attention faster than being told to go away.

Adler-Olsen has added a new member to Department Q, a secretary named Rose who is definitely thorny, and he's set up a story that is fast- and well-paced, filled with unique and intriguing people, and has managed to make someone who's really a dreadful person be sympathetic. That's no easy feat!

And the humor comes through as well, maybe not as clearly as in the first one, but different translators do sometimes emphasize different aspects. Still, I found myself snorting in amusment at times.

— Fran

This is one of those books you put on your wish list then slowly watch the calendar to see if it's actually made it to the bookstore. Aside from the bright orange cover, I'd read nothing but high praise for Jussi Adler-Olsen and once I had the book in hand there came that moment of trepidation. One thought going through my mind: if he's an international best-selling author why has it taken so long to get published in the States? Be that as it may, not every Scandinavian author can be as good as Stieg Larsson, even though every dust-jacket would have you believing so.


I started the prologue on the way home from the bookstore via the Link Lite Rail. And just that small piece, a little more than a page long, I knew the author had me hooked.


Carl Mørck is a homicide detective recovering from a gunshot wound to his temple. His two colleagues weren't as lucky, one dead and the other paralyzed from the neck down. The other detectives in the squad deem him a belligerent pest and don't want to work with him. The solution of how to handle the independent and outspoken detective comes down through parliament when a new directive is posted, creating a cold cases department within the police station.


This new post seems the perfect nook for Carl and he finds himself relegated to a far corner of the basement with a door propped against the wall next to his office and no case files. At first he finds this suitable to his needs as propping his feet on the corner of his desk and leaning back for an afternoon nap is all he has the energy for. We discover quickly why Carl wasn't kicked out the door and forced into retirement. He's rather good at what he does. Detecting.


It isn't long before he discovers the allotment for his new department, Department Q, already has funding being redirected into other areas. Bringing this discrepancy to light for his superior, he is able to make a few demands and soon he's got an office complete with a large screen television, unlimited internet access, his own vehicle and an assistant, Assad. Assad is the spark that ignites the fire under Carl, but in a very subtle way and with all his quirks and secrets, he's one of the more interesting sidekicks around. At first only thought of as the cleaner, he's soon given more important tasks, such as chasing paperwork from the secretaries upstairs or following leads via the phone. His timely insights and perspectives keep Carl focused on the first case he decides to pursue.


A missing person's case over five years old, involving a politician. Following the paper trail in the case file, Carl soon thinks it is a fairly easy open and shut case. It doesn't take long to realize there is much more involved in the disappearance and new facts begin to come to light.


Overall, Carl is an interesting character. He's dealing with the trauma of being shot and blaming himself in part for the outcome, he's playing surrogate father to his step-son while his wife (who doesn't want a divorce) is living with another man and still calling on him for financial backing. He's a bit lazy, short-tempered and has a wry sense of humor. His deals with those he works with in almost a state of tolerance, and is quick to point out their shortcomings while being just as quick to offer assistance. They're on the same team, but they don't have to get along.


Part mystery, part thriller, Jussi Adler-Olsen does a fantastic job of weaving a storyline and feeding out just enough clues to keep you guessing. Forget about the comparisons, he ranks beside the top in his field. And the dogged persistence of his detective leads us to believe Department Q will provide a few more cases worth reading about.


For a moment Carl tried to picture everything in his mind, and then it happened. Somewhere inside of him, where cause and effect were not weighed against each other, and where logic and explanations never challenged consciousness, in the place where thoughts could live freely and be played out against each other – right there in that spot, things fell into place, and he understood how it all fitted together.”

— Special Guest

September 2011 Indie Next List

“Chief Detective Carl Morck doesn't play by the book, but he has been successful at solving Denmark's most difficult homicide cases. When a bullet almost takes his life and two of his partners are not so lucky, he changes his outlook. Being assigned to work on cold cases satisfies his need to do nothing, but his request for an assistant interferes with his apathy. Adler-Olsen has created a hero with a keen sense of both humor and honor, an assistant who is clever and determined, and a case that keeps the clues coming but won't be solved until the last page.”
— Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI


The first book in "New York Times" bestsellerJussi Adler-Olsen's electrifying Department Q series.
The #1 international bestseller from Jussi Adler-Olsen, author of "The Absent One" perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Carl Morck 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.
Darkly humorous, propulsive, and atmospheric, "The Keeper of Lost Causes" introduces American readers to the mega-bestselling series fast becoming an international sensation.

About the Author

Ne a Copenhague, Jussi Adler-Olsen a etudie la medecine, la sociologie, le cinema et la politique. Ancien editeur, il connait un succes sans precedent avec la serie bestseller des Enquetes du Departement V dont "Profanation" et Misericorde, Prix des lecteurs du Livre de Poche 2013 et Grand Prix des lectrices ELLE Policier en 2012.

Praise For…

“Plan on putting everything else in your life on hold if you pick up this book.”
--The Oregonian

“The pages fly by as the twisty puzzle unfolds. Stieg Larsson fans will be delighted.”
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Far from being just another morose Nordic crime writer, Adler-Olsen creates a detective whose curiosity is as active as his soul is tortured.”
--Library Journal (starred review)

“Adler-Olsen's prose is superior to Larsson's, his tortures are less discomfiting, and he has a sense of humor.”
--Booklist (starred review)

“The new ‘it' boy of Nordic Noir.”
--The Times (London)

The Keeper of Lost Causes is dark, atmospheric, and compelling. Those who loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will devour this book.”
--C. J. Box, New York Times bestselling author of Cold Wind

Product Details
ISBN: 9780452297906
ISBN-10: 0452297907
Publisher: Plume Books
Publication Date: July 31st, 2012
Pages: 407
Language: English