Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen – a review

I picked this book up purely because it was the only one being stocked in my local bookshop by one of the speakers in the Dead in Deutschland session (even though Jussi Adler-Olsen is actually Danish not German)

From the start I found this book gripping. As the cliché goes there are two sides to every story and this is no exception. The book flits between a woman imprisoned in a room. Her only contact with the outside world is a voice she hears asking her to guess why she has been taken. On the other side is detective Carl Morek who after being involved in a shooting incident has been taken off the homicide department and been given the task of setting up a new department to look at unsolved crimes. This department consists of him and his assistant Assad. Their first case is a female politician who disappeared five years ago.

This book manages to be both scary and funny at the same time. The chapters told from the woman’s point of view are incredibly disturbing. She is a very strong character but you get the sense of isolation and terror that she must feel not knowing why this has happened to her or what her captors intend to do.

The character of Carl manages to strike a balance between an obviously disturbed man who is the stereotypical damaged detective but this is offset by some much lighter moments in the form of Assad and his endless tea making and advice giving. Together they make an incredibly readable and entertaining pair.

The timeline of the story can be a little confusing at the beginning but it soon becomes clear, and the two sides begin to converge.

I felt that this was one of the best books that I’ve read in a while by a new author to me. Its definitely a must read for fans of scandanavian crime. If all the other authors in the same session are as good as this then I’ll definitely but reading some of them,

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