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Continuation of an interesting series.
on 5 May 2012
Like others on this page, I`ve read "Mercy", the first novel in Adler-Olsen`s Department Q series, so it's with that perspective I`ll assess this follow-up. I won't trouble you with a long, unnecessary synopsis.
An apparently closed case-file mysteriously appears on Carl Mørck`s desk, leading to a re-opening of investigations which involve multiple murders and former pupils of an excusive school who are now in influential positions of Danish society; Mørck is determined to uncover the truth and find Kimmie, a key member of the group who has disappeared into Copenhagen's netherworld of drug addicts and down-and-outs.
This book consolidates the partnering of Mørck and Assad and adds another member to the team in the form of Rose, a secretary with police training; this new development speeds up the procedural parts of the story and introduces a different dynamic; Rose is a younger, feisty character whose presence irritates Mørck, but her value to the department is quickly demonstrated, despite his misgivings. This is likely to develop another interesting relationship strand in future novels; there are still hints as to Assad`s possibly murky past, and the incident that led to Mørck`s appointment to the department continues as a thread in the storyline. Mørck remains the lead character, still surly, but less indolent than in the previous book. The author clearly has a bigger background picture taking shape across the cycle.
"Disgrace" has a more conventionally structured plot, but has the same abrupt changes of scene and time-line that were present in Mercy - this seems to be a standard form for Adler-Olsen - but its easy to get used to; it's perhaps a better paced novel than the former, which relied heavily on the time-line device.
Disgrace also benefits from a new translator - gone are the incongruous Americanisms and clumsy attempts at colloquialisms that peppered the previous novel, replaced by a nicely flowing standard English narrative; one point however - and it must have been a real headache to deal with - how to convey that Assad is a foreigner speaking imperfect Danish without making the translation look wrong; Assad uses the word "then" too often - a mannerism Rose picks up on later in the novel. Its worth bearing in mind if you encounter the odd sentence that doesn't quite make sense.
This is quite a self-contained novel; despite being a sequel with a few references to the previous book, its a good stand-alone read; I preferred Mercy a little more, but this is a good continuation of the series.