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I'd recommend this book only for followers of the series - SPOLIER review by Maurice Schlegel
on 30 November 2014
‘Mercy’ was a great read, I could hardly put it down and finished in record time for me! Perhaps there was a fault in the final overly neat denouement that one saw coming a mile off, but still very entertaining and our two leads (Carl and Merete) compelling with touches of honesty. ‘Disgrace’ was almost equally fast paced but let down by an exhaustive amount of 2-dimensional 'evil' characters. Now 'Redemption'...certainly the weakest so far.
The lead characters are refusing to develop emotionally in relationship to each other. Carl and Assad have been through horrific life changing events together in the previous books and yet the dull family secrets Assad keeps to himself can't be revealed, because they won't have an honest conversation? Don't believe it and it's less interesting.
For the majority of the investigation Carl doesn't feel particularly motivated and by the time he is makes repetitive (from previous books) inept decisions. For example, he rarely has his gun on him at crucial moments.
Finally we have the Rose & Yrsa debacle - hideous almost unforgivable choice. The reveal comes ages in and it’s painfully obvious - I kept hoping I was guessing incorrectly but alas no. Rose has always been a poorly written and frankly abused character. When she was introduced in 'Disgrace' it was of welcome interest to have a female perspective in that male dominated basement, but she's often humiliated by Carl and you sense the author (Adler-Olsen) has a lack of interest in her. Why have Rose around at all? Now this latest development is ridiculous and for the leads to not treat the condition with much serious concern is infuriating after you've endured many pages of the similar Yrsa caricature.
What I want from these novels is a sense of progression, the outside world affecting the inside of that frequently fascinating basement. Too often the author kills time with rather (by now) tired humour. I'd like to see Carl and Assad go out for a drink together after a hard day's work, something normal and yet revealing. Surely the reader should be rewarded with further development if you've continued on through the series?
Talking of progression, wouldn't it be nice not to have such a familiar climax? Why must every lead villain be terminated? How come little to no mention of previous cases arise? It would be great to see back Merete Lynggaard (the female lead from 'Mercy') - perhaps the most compelling female character from the whole series so far.
However, I still give this book 3 STARS and here's why... 'Redemption' on the whole still bares the mark of a page turner. I may have lost interest a few times but when the action and determination of characters is on I feel motivated to find out what happens next.
I also liked the way Adler-Olsen narrated chapters from our villain's childhood perspective followed sharply by a passage from his irredeemable adult self.
On reflection there are a couple of female characters that resonate; Isabelle's loneliness & yet fierce self-preservation and Rachel's quietly challenging perceptive suspicions were a welcome presence. Interesting to note that both these characters come in little contact with Carl.
I was disappointed not to have Hardy's journey move on more. The whole series is so out there logically you'd think perhaps the author would have allowed him to find some sanctuary whether it be physically or emotionally.
I'd like to have had more scenes with the new challenging Psychiatrist, although Carl's aggressive reaction to him felt like it betrayed his usual intelligence.
How about we move on a little in the fascinating original investigation - why was Carl spared in the shooting and not Anker or Hardy?
Must we always have a B investigation storyline? Who really cares about these arson attacks when we have two kidnapped children held up in a boathouse?
Finally, I don't understand Carl's slavery to his ex-wife? Yes he at last let rip in an outburst of anger but why would he agree to visit his ex Mother-in-law? Vigga is yet another painfully two dimensional female character that discredits our lead, how was he ever married to her? Adler-Olsen neglects to realise if you create paper thin female characters that are supposed to interact with our lead it let's down everything.
So, very much a mixed bag. Still a great series premise and an investigation you're fully behind resolving well. I'd recommend this book only for followers of the series. I'm going to take a break from it and if I return to Department Q I'll be hoping for a return to Mercy's standards