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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, interesting, well paced, and with some humour as well..
This is good, although both I and my other half who read it before me both found the beginning poor. He didn't like the very quick time changes, but those soon settle down, and I thought the translation was a bit clunky, although flicking back now I can't find anything specific to quote! HOWEVER, that all disappears and this quickly settles down into a gripping, well...
Published on 10 May 2011 by DebB

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but with serious flaws
I enjoyed this novel and would have given it three and a half stars but that option isn't available. It is a conventional page-turning Nordic noir crime thriller, and if that's the sort of thing you like, you will probably like this. There is nothing original or extraordinary about it. It clunks a bit in places but it's difficult to tell if that is the original writing...
Published 6 months ago by Gregory F Naylor


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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, interesting, well paced, and with some humour as well.., 10 May 2011
By 
DebB (Oxfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mercy (Department Q 1) (Paperback)
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This is good, although both I and my other half who read it before me both found the beginning poor. He didn't like the very quick time changes, but those soon settle down, and I thought the translation was a bit clunky, although flicking back now I can't find anything specific to quote! HOWEVER, that all disappears and this quickly settles down into a gripping, well paced, interesting book, with a scary story line and the odd unexpected lift of humour.
I liked our battered, stressed, damaged hero, loved his sidekick who started out as a bit of light entertainment, but acquired depth and character towards the end - and left unanswered questions, such as who was he, and how the heck did he get the job in the first place? The "heroine" is one tough cookie, and I read her chapters with as much interest and anticipation as I did the others - the author's trick of sliding her time line up to meet the book's present day created a gradual increase in tension that kept me seriously interested in what happened next.
So - I recommend this, I will be passing it onto other friends and family, and I'll keep an eye open for other work from this author.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new series of above-par Nordic noir. Recommended, 28 Jun 2011
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mercy (Department Q 1) (Paperback)
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'Mercy' contains all the correct ingredients to become a classic Scandinavian crime thriller. The lead detective is an on-the-edge maverick and soon is saddled with a quirky-yet-indispensible assistant. Sidelined into a pointless Police dept, they start peeling back the layers of what seems to be an old, cold case... and it suddenly comes alive.
Meanwhile, the action swaps to the appalling predicament of a young woman, kidnapped, brutalised and imprisoned. Her captors intend to kill her in a most unpleasant way, and the tension of her incarceration stretches taut throughout the novel. The final chapters race past as you scamper to the end to see what happens, and whether she can actually be rescued from the appalling prison in which she has spent years -- dazzled by bright light, or plunged into absolute darkness.
Although I didn't much warm to the character of the main protagonist, the has-been, irrascible detective, I thoroughly enjoyed the plot (even its far-fetched moments) and his intriguing assistant. After a slightly slow beginning -- this novel takes its time to establish the key characters and drags a little in the opening quarter -- the pace picks up and the story soon became compelling. (Had an extra-long bath to finish it!).
There are quite a few moments of bleak and sinister chills, lightened by an underlying thread of humour and not-too-much background domestic aggravation. Overall, 'Mercy' is a very competant and enjoyable thriller, and I'm looking forward to the next in the series.
8/10
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mercy, 16 Jun 2011
By 
B. Wright (Gloucester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mercy (Department Q 1) (Paperback)
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Mercy is the first of a trilogy of `Department Q' thrillers and an English debut for Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen. This book will suffer comparisons with the Millennium Trilogy - unfairly in my opinion - but it is a good book in its own right and a promising start to the trilogy.

The story begins with a brief prologue, depicting an unknown woman scratching at a concrete wall and trying to work out how to escape, how to survive in the dark. The first chapter then gives the first glimpse of Carl Mørck, the `hero' - though perhaps anti-hero is more fitting; a temperamental, often infuriating detective with a troubled past, considered lazy and disliked by his colleagues in the Copenhagen police department. He is `promoted' to Head of Department Q - a department in which he is the sole member of staff - and given a pile of unsolved case files, tasked with solving these mysteries long after the trail has gone cold. He picks the file on Merete Lynngaard, who disappeared 5 years earlier and was thought dead after a bungled police effort to find her.

As a police procedural, the story does not tread much new ground, though Merete's prison is a novel idea and one that helps create tension. The novel is told from different view points and times, helping to keep it varied and hold the reader's interest. However, as a procedural, at times the pace slows - particularly in the middle section - as the trail runs cold; at these moments the reader shares the same frustrations as the detectives. Fortunately it picks up again and the final few chapters are unrelenting.

This is a strong opening to the trilogy, and I am keen to read the next books. Adler-Olsen's writing occasionally stutters (possibly the translation is at fault here), but is mostly enjoyable and is buoyed by a dash of wit. The main characters are well rounded with Assad, Carl's brilliant, somewhat unpredictable side-kick, providing comic relief (and sometimes steals the show); and Lynngaard a believable victim. The ending is not entirely scripted, but could be guessed before the reveal. However, the story is well-paced for the most part and a good read. It is recommended for fans of `Scandinavian Noir' or crime/thrillers in general.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good one from up north, 5 Feb 2012
Carl, a grumpy but likeable detective, is given a basement office to head up a new department which is to work on cold cases. Assad, an alleged Syrian refugee, who is not a policeman, is assigned to help him. The first case they work on is the disappearance of a female politician some 5 years earlier.

This is a good, well-constructed and well-delivered story. It is related in the third person and switches between 2002 (the disappearance) and 2007 (the cold-case investigation) pretty seamlessly. I think observations in some reviews that Adler-Olsen is a poor man's Larsson and that the translation effort was poor are unfair and overly critical. I actually believe the translator did well in drawing on common English sayings to get equivalent meanings across. The reader is required to stretch her/his imagination a little but we do not have nonsense-overload here.

There were a couple of typos in the Kindle version but not serious enough to annoy.

Adler-Olsen has done enough with this book to get me interested in any sequels which may emerge - the plot and story-telling here kept me happy and I would also like to see how some some smaller open matters from this one are dealt with. 9/10
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Morck and Assad under pressure, 17 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Mercy (Department Q 1) (Paperback)
This Danish crime novel has most of the best ingredients of the genre plus a most unconventional character who you cannot fail to enjoy.
Detective Carl Morck and two colleagues have been shot and Carl is mentally disturbed by the event. Returning to work, he is deliberately isolated in a new department investigating old cases. The first is that of a female politician who disappeared years previously. Carl's investigation is sandwiched between the back-story of her horrifying, five year imprisonment. All this works well but it is the entrance of the other member of Carl's `team' that boosts the book above the average. Cleaner/driver and possible illegal immigrant, Assad, is a memorable creation from introduction and brilliantly provides comedy and narrative drive.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Pressure from Start to Finish!, 26 Mar 2011
By 
C. Hawkes "Livefats" (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mercy (Department Q 1) (Paperback)
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Jussi Adler-Olsen's Mercy, written as it is by a Scandinavian author, is inevitably going to invite comparison with Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. However, I have to confess at this point that although I've read all three of Larrson's novels, I failed to be convinced by them, finding the plot intricate, the characters engaging, but the novels over-written and underedited. As my 5 star review for this Danish novel suggests, I found Mercy much more compelling a read.

The plot is stark and gripping, segueing between Carl Mørck, damaged detective placed in charge of "Department Q", a police department ostensibly set up to look at significant unsolved cases (but actually intended as a means of sidelining Mørck, a potentially troublesome non-team player) and abductee Merete Lynggaard, imprisoned in a pressure chamber. Both characters are well drawn, and the plot moves at a relentless pace as the two narrative strands move closer.

Another feature of the novel I found fascinating was the relationship between Mørck and his assistant, Assad: these two oddball characters complement each other well, and the dynamic built up between them is a major factor in the novel's success.

Adler-Olsen has written two other novels about Department Q; all three have been bestsellers in Denmark, and I am sure that they will be received here with the same enthusiasm. I thoroughly recommend this novel to any reader interested in crime fiction - and wait eagerly for the translation and publication in Britain of the next two volumes!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good plot and well-written, 3 Jan 2012
This review is from: Mercy (Department Q 1) (Paperback)
This is a great read if you like a crime story with a tense and clever plot which is also well-written. All the central characters really lived and both atmosphere and place are vividly described. I loved the complexity of the story-line and the way the various strands come together as the time lines gradually converge. The humour gave the characters warmth and humanity, which provided a good contrast to the darker side of the story. I have recommended it to a friend and I will definitely read more Adler-Olsen in the future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but with serious flaws, 10 Feb 2014
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I enjoyed this novel and would have given it three and a half stars but that option isn't available. It is a conventional page-turning Nordic noir crime thriller, and if that's the sort of thing you like, you will probably like this. There is nothing original or extraordinary about it. It clunks a bit in places but it's difficult to tell if that is the original writing or the translation. The main character is OK but he is yet another rude, maverick cop, who does things his own way and is disliked by his colleagues. We've all come across guys like this in countless books and films and it's a bit tiresome to come across another incarnation in this book. The best character by far is the cop's sidekick - very interesting and original; I'd like to read a lot more about him.

The main problem with the book is that, like recent Scandinavian TV series, The Killing 2 and The Bridge 1, the relentless, drawn out lengths the villain goes to to exact his revenge just isn't believable. Having said that, I kept eagerly turning the pages until the end. It's enjoyable, undemanding but far from being a masterpiece.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Merciless tension, 15 May 2012
By 
Huck Flynn "huckleberry" (northern ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mercy (Department Q 1) (Paperback)
seems churlish to give this less than 5 stars - so much better than a lot of the stuff i've read recently (including nesbo, larsson, nesser and mankell)
- great new detective team (Carl and Assad - a dynamic and comic duo)
- good plot threads, trail of detection and revelation
- strong characterization
- very well paced
- well translated (by Lisa Hartford)
although it has lots of well used elements and plot devices it seems fresh and original
what more could you ask from a crime thriller ?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, 28 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Mercy (Department Q 1) (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book and I am waiting for more.It was quite fast paced and thankfully no padding. Entertaining, gripping and at times funny. What more does one want.?
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Mercy (Department Q 1)
Mercy (Department Q 1) by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Paperback - 20 Jun 2013)
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