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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