Book Review: The Keeper of Lost Causes

I still remember the summer I discovered The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and how I devoured the books, one after another. Maybe you remember, too. The problem, of course, is that the series ended, and the novelist is long dead, and so that was that. Done.  But the series certainly opened my eyes to Scandinavian mystery writers, and I have been on the prowl for other series. In this way, I am a marketing dream for book publishers, right? I know. I know. I admit it.

I recently came across The Keeper of Lost Causes mainly because a piece in a magazine was making connections back to The Girl series. (See? Marketing gimmick works. Actually, my wife commented on the book cover design, noting the similarities to The Girl covers) And while this first book in a series called Department Q (a police department whose task is to clear out old cases) by writer Jussi Adler-Olsen is not nearly as engaging as I remember The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it worked for me.

I liked the main character — Carl Mørck, a detective with some demons, and gruff nature — and the twin storylines (that I won’t give away) that slowly connected together. It’s not really a mystery of unknowns, per se, but the story unfolds at a nice pace, with interesting characters, and the use of humor and the Dutch setting gives it an interesting feel. It’s not deeply political, but there are some politics at the edges of the story.  The Keeper of Lost Causes kept me hooked this summer, and I went out to get the second in the series — The Absent One — so that I could keep going. (A third book — A Conspiracy of Faith — was just published here in the US, too.)

Peace (in the pages),


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