I enjoyed the first volume of this series very much when I read it in Danish a couple of years ago (Kvinden i buret, 2007), and it is a pleasure to see that my countryman is on his way to the USA as well as the UK (under the title of Mercy). No matter what it is called, this is a fine debut, and you have something to look forward to as the next volumes in the series are even better!
“She scratched her fingertips on the smooth walls until they bled, and pounded her fists on the thick panes until she could no longer feel her hands. At least ten times she had fumbled her way to the steel door and stuck her fingernails in the crack to try to pry it open, but the door could not be budged, and the edge was sharp.”
The woman in the dark keeps fighting to get out, determined not to let her captors win by breaking down.
After this meeting with the captured woman we are introduced to the protagonist Carl Mørck, recently scarred by a gunshot, but perhaps his internal wounds are worse. Earlier he was a dedicated criminal investigator from Jutland, but after his colleague Hardy was hospitalized and their third mate Anker was killed, Mørck has turned into a somewhat reluctant detective.
In between the scenes from a police perspective, we meet Merete Lynggaard, vice chairperson for the Social Democrats, a very secretive politician, who disappears during a trip on a ferry.
As Carl Mørck has grown ´lazy, surly, morose´ and hopeless to work with, his superiors decide to solve their problem by ´promoting´ him. They appoint him the leader of the new Department Q, a kind of cold-case unit, and equip him with a dark office in the basement. When Mørck grows tired of solving Sudoku and insists on having a couple of men he can boss around, they send him Hafez al-Assad. It seems as if Assad has not quite realized his role is to brew coffee and sweep the floors, but not a word more about one of my favourite sidekicks.
The story offers a nice touch of humour, interesting characters, and a find and exciting plot.
My example was a free review copy from NetGalley, published by the Penguin Group and expertly translated by Tiina Nunnally.
Also reviewed today by Kerrie, Mysteries in Paradise.