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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the second novel featuring detective Carl Mørck - the first being Mercy where Department Q, which investigates cold cases, was introduced. I thoroughly enjoyed Mercy, so was interested to see if Jussi Adler-Olsen could continue to write in such a gripping fashion.

I think I actually enjoyed Disgrace more than Mercy. In this book the team end up looking into a cold case that, it would appear, lots of important people don't want revisited. It's never really a whodunnit for the reader as the perpetrators of the crime are well known to us from the beginning of the's more a case of following to see whether Carl and Assad, (his sidekick), can put all the pieces of the puzzle together, fend off the people trying to stop their investigation and, ultimately, bring the culprits to justice. It's worth noting that the crimes detailed in Disgrace are a little disturbing as they are pretty sadistic - be warned if you're overly unsettled by things like this!

Although I really enjoyed this read, there were a couple of minor niggles this time that hopefully will be smoothed out in the next book. There is a new addition to the team who didn't quite sit right with me - hopefully Rose will fit in better next time, (or disappear!). Also, I found that, in Disgrace, Assad occasionally became a little bit annoying instead of being the light relief that he was in Mercy.

Overall, though, another great book - I will definitely be getting the next one! Recommended.
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on 15 November 2012
I was enthusiastic about Adler-Olsen's first Department Q-series novel ("The Keeper of Lost Causes"/aka "Mercy" in the UK), and I eagerly bought this follow-up (also published as "The Absent One" in the USA). I was fearful of course that it might be a let-down, but I have been pleasantly confirmed in my hopes. No doubt about it, Adler-Olsen is a worthy heir to Stieg Larssen. Indeed, this second book is as good, or perhaps even better, than the first one. This time around, Carl Morck and his mysterious Syrian assistant Assad are joined by a new secretary, Rose, who adds a bit of variety to the story, also giving Morck a new target for his frustration (though adding little else to the story). As before, though, the heart of the book is in its two main characters, with both humor and mystery, and in the plot, an original, relentless page-turner just as before. Adler-Olsen uses a sort of "Colombo" technique, giving parallel story development to the "good guys" and the "bad guys", though here the we know more about the people Morck is chasing right from the start, and this perhaps may make it seem slower in development, less suspenseful than the first in the series, but again he ties things up with a bang at the end. The story will keep you on the edge of your seat as you wonder what will happen next and how it will all end. If you like entertaining and intelligent thrillers, then be sure not to miss this one! Of all the modish Scandivian "noir" writers, Adler-Olsen is the definitely the front-runner, several notches above the others in my opinion.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 August 2012
A word of warning. This book is the August 2012 United States release of the UK released DISGRACE from June 2012. This version has the title THE ABSENT ONE and if you have already read or bought DISGRACE, please AVOID this novel!!
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VINE VOICEon 25 April 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I enjoyed 'Mercy', the first book to feature a rather attractive character in the unremarkable shape of Deputy Superintendent Carl Morck. Attractive in that he stands no nonsense, suffers his very small coterie of assistants beyond the call of duty, puts up with an ineffectual superior officer and lusts after his psychotherapist or maybe she's a psychologist or maybe she's a well... she is paid for straightening out Morck's mind whether it needs it or not.

And, to cap it all, he has to wrestle with a nasty bunch of people, all of them psychopaths, all of them now powerful figures in Danish society but who started their dreadful little habits at a boarding school some twenty years previously. Within the group is Kimmie, the only girl, sadistically abused by each of the boys and who now is out for revenge after one of the boys, now a bruising man, caused her to miscarry.

In point of fact, I had rather a soft spot for Kimmie. A girl, all alone in the Danish world, a mother dying early, a father disappearing to Monaco, a ghastly stepmother and a group of friends who encouraged her to commit acts of pure evil. Not that I'm excusing her actions in this book but she deserved a break in my view. She fights hard, reminding me somewhat of Lisbeth Salander of Tattoo infamy though any similarity to that trilogy remains no more than that.

It's a long book but you don't notice it. In fact, the end arrives far too quickly, always a good sign that this is a book which grips you tight, consumes you and spits you out having relished a darn good read.

In 'Mercy' Morck's little helper, a Syrian civilian named Assad plays a much more important role, as does another little helper called Rose who has a view of life unique to her - only don't get her tipsy or else!! When this trio, Department Q, manages to relate to each other, their search for the incontravertable proof which will condemn and punish these people, the crucial thread running through the book, is slowly unravelled. The writing is compelling, the scenes of the sadistic beaviour are well defined without mawkishness and the end result is probably as gratifying as you're going to get.

All-in-all, a really excellent crime procedural with a definite wish from me to the author to hurry up with book 3!
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on 22 February 2016
I absolutely loved the first book in this series, i read it over and over again it was that good and i went and ordered every other book without reading the description as that is how much i loved it so if you haven't read it then please do, you won't be disappointed. This is the second book and as you can imagine i couldn't wait to start it, the first book is still my favorite but this one comes in a close second. The main characters in the police department are so good and there are times you will be laughing out loud at their antics which is strange for a gripping crime book but that is what i love about these books. The crimes are shocking, the story is gripping and yet you can have a chuckle in places too. I really enjoyed it and i like we are getting to know the characters better.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When it comes to detective/thriller/mystery novels I like quirky and I like to read novels based around foreign detectives, just as a change.

In Mercy I really enjoyed the interplay between the two main characters of Morck and Assad and was waiting for more of the same to push the character development along and create an identity that sets the Department Q series apart. I'm not quite sure whether this novel achieved that. I wondered and still wonder why there had to be such long-winded descriptions of gratuitous violence and what they really contributed to the story. However, I felt that this was a competent follow-up to Mercy and am waiting to see what happens next before I finally decide to stick with the series or let it go.

The movement in Scandinavian, Nordic and Icelandic detective/mystery fiction is to concentrate on the interplay between characters and the psychological baggage they all have as they solve crime in their unique eclectic anti-authoritarian ways whilst painting a pretty bleak picture of their respective societies as a whole. Addler-Olsen is no different in this respect. Mercy was better, but this one wasn't bad.
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on 29 June 2012
Had been really looking forward to this , a year later and I can still remember how gripping Mercy was but this is rather a let down in parts . Found it hard to have any feelings for the central character Kimmie , until the real end and there werent many twists and turns ; just a chase to catch the pantomime villians . Equally I am still not sure if I actually connect to detective Morck .Maybe its just the translation , for there were moments when I thought ... this is exciting ... if you are a total scandi fan then give it a read , but it shouldnt be compared to class such as The Killing . One for the pool side rather than to treasurely place in the book case by the bed . Still maybe his next novel will grip me again ......
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on 30 April 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I previously read and enjoyed Mercy by this author so I was looking forward to reading the latest in the series about Carl Mørck the detective. Carl was given his own department in Mercy reviewing cold cases and this is the next one. A little different as this case was actually solved some time ago. So why has it turned up for review? Exploring this gets Carl into various levels of hot water both with his seniors and some fairly unpleasant people who are involved with the case.

This is a good detective story which I enjoyed and would recommend to others however, for me, it was not quite as good as Mercy. At times it is quite graphically violent in its descriptions. The pace did not seem quite as consistent and the humour from his sidekick from the previous novel Assad didn't seem as smoothly written this time. The acquisition of another person in the department also felt a little contrived. The case itself is fairly extreme as seems quite common with some Nordic noir novels. Good and I will read the next one but I preferred Mercy - four and a half stars this time I think.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 November 2014
I don't really know what to write about this book as it is difficult to categorize. Firstly I will say that it is a good read which kept me up turning the pages. Carl Morck runs Department Q, the cold case unit, in Copenhagen Police. He is aided, or hindered depending on your viewpoint, by Assad, a Syrian civilian employee, and Rose, his new secretary. They are asked to investigate the murder of 2 siblings 10 years prior but don't know why as the murderer is in jail. Slowly it becomes apparent that the murderer "took the rap" for a group of over-privileged psychopaths. So you know the whodunnit and that it makes more about the why and their attempts to thwart the current investigation. Normally I don't like books where you know the culprit almost from the start but I found that in Disgrace knowing didn't detract from the plot. Morck and his motley crew are outsiders in the Police organisation and seem almost like amateurs as they go about their business but it all adds to the charm of the book. I don't feel I have done justice to a rather offbeat, quirky read which held my attention from first to last page.
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