18 May 2014

Review: REDEMPTION, Jussi Adler-Olsen

  • REDEMPTION is UK market title
  • apa A CONSPIRACY OF FAITH (US Market) or MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE (Danish title)
  • #3 in the Carl Morck series
  • first published 2009
  • translated from Danish into English by Martin Aitken
  • published by Penguin Books 2013
  • ISBN 978-0-141-39999-7
  • 632 pages
  • source: my local library
  • Author website: www.jussiadlerolsen.com
Synopsis (author website)

In a far corner of Scotland, at the police station in Wick, a bottle was forgotten in a windowsill for a long, long time. Inside the bottle was a barely readable note; the only two things that were certain were that the first word was the Danish word for HELP and that it was written in blood.

When the horrifying message in the bottle finally makes its way to the desk of Carl Mørck at Department Q - the Danish department for "cases of special focus" - terrible events begin to unfold. Carl Mørck and his assistant Assad find themselves drawn into a scary case of cults and disappearing siblings, whose parents have never reported them missing. They suddenly realise that time is running short.

From the author
Jussi, can you give us a hint about what the main themes of Message in a Bottle are - what are we to expect?

Well, what to expect? Hopefully, that Carl Mørck and Assad will keep moving in their own strange ways, while a horrible case is turned upside down. They have a lot on their plate in Message in a Bottle. Not least when a new personage, who was definitely not invited, shows up in the basement. At the same time, terrible things happen in Denmark, which... well as you may have guessed by now, I am not going to say anything at all ... Message in a Bottle is a case for Department Q. And as you may well know, they keep it to themselves.

My Take

Department Q are in the middle of researching arson cases, and looking for connections with more recent examples of arson, when the hand written message in the bottle turns up. Transcribing the message is just the sort of thing that Department Q, and in particular Morck's oddball assistant Rose, and her sister Yrsa, are good at. The more letters that Rose manages to decipher from the note, the more Morck recognises that this is a piteous plea for help.

To say that this is a long and rather involved plot is probably an understatement. By the time I'd got about half way through though the length had ceased to matter and I was caught up in the mounting suspense of whether Department Q could locate another more recent pair of victims in time.

I missed reading #2 in the series, which meant that I was in the dark about how some circumstances in REDEMPTION had occurred. So my recommendation is that you tackle the books in order (see below), although I think I managed to piece things together pretty well.

For some readers there will be too many coincidences (see the review on Reactions to Reading.) and certainly the main plot is rather fantastical, but every now and then it hits the level of the possible, and that is what kept me reading.

My rating: 4.5

I have also reviewed

The series (Fantastic Fiction)
Department Q
1. Mercy (2011)
     aka The Keeper of Lost Causes
2. Disgrace (2012)
     aka The Absent One
3. Redemption (2013)
     aka A Conspiracy of Faith
4. The Purity of Vengeance (2013)
     aka Guilt
5. The Marco Effect (2014)

Wikipedia article about the author.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Glad you enjoyed this one. I like the Department Q series myself. And I agree, it's best read in order.


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