2 December 2015

Review: THE HANGING GIRL, Jussi Adler-Olssen

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 3470 KB
  • Print Length: 514 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (September 3, 2015)
  • Translated  from Danish into English  by William Frost 2015
  • Publication Date: September 3, 2015
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00YS5M060
  • Department Q #6 
Synopsis (Amazon)

In the middle of a hard-won morning nap in the basement of police headquarters, Carl Mørck, head of Department Q, receives a call from a colleague working on the Danish island of Bornholm. Carl is dismissive at first, but then he receives some shocking news.

Carl then has no choice but to lead Department Q into the tragic cold case of a vivacious seventeen-year-old girl who vanished from school, only to be found dead hanging high up in a tree. The investigation will take them from the remote island of Bornholm to a hidden cult, where Carl and his assistants must stop a string of new murders by a skilled manipulator who refuses to let anything-or anyone-get in the way.

My Take

A friend told me that this was his best read for 2015, and while it won't be my top read, it will certainly make it into my top 10 for the year. It took me quite a long time to read it, well over 10 days, which is long for me. I'm sure whether I had been hit by jet lag after my recent travels, or whether it was some how due to the translation and structure of the novel.

As always, someone will ask, "should I read the Carl Morck series in order"? This is #6 in the series, and I have only read three others. So there in part is your answer I guess. But I've certainly benefitted from reading earlier titles. They have contributed to my understanding of the composition of Department Q and of the relationships between its members. I also have some understanding of what happened to Morck's friend and colleague Hardy.

Carl Morck receives a phone call from a former colleague whose career has been blighted by his obsession with a murder that took place over three decades earlier. When Morck refuses to help by taking a look at the case, his former colleague commits suicide at his own retirement party, thus forcing Morck to at least visit Bornholm to look at the cause of the suicide. He takes Assad and Rose with him and between they decide that they need to look at the case that had so obsessed Christian Habersaat. In the long run, nothing is what it seems. The threads lead everywhere and finding continuous strings is hard.

When Assad and Carl get close to identifying the person they think was the original murderer, their own lives are put into danger. And meanwhile the author is layering more and more information onto our plates, for us to sift and decide what to discard. This is certainly one of those novels where the reader gets a strong intimation of what is required of the detective.

One of the things that struck me about this novel is a level of humour created by Assad's literal interpretation of idiomatic language. It wasn't an element that had struck me so much in earlier novels. And Morck begins to understand that he doesn't know everything to know about Assad.

My rating : 4.8

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