By Jussi Adler-Olsen
Dutton, $25.95, 490 pages

Carl Mork, a Copenhagen homicide detective, has been removed from his position, traumatized from watching two colleagues gunned down. He is now the head of Department Q, which follows “cold cases,” as we call them in the States – cases on which there have been no recent leads. Mork is “the keeper of lost causes.” One of these lost causes is the case of Merete Lynggaard, a young member of parliament who disappeared from a ship while on vacation with her brother five years prior. She is assumed dead. We learn, as her story alternates with Carl’s, that she was in a car accident many years prior that took the lives of her parents and left her brother gravely disabled. Now she has been kidnapped and is being held captive and tortured. She has no idea about her kidnappers or their motives: Is it money? Political?

I found the story suspenseful and well written, and the translation strong. However, the motive of the kidnappers (learned near the end of the story) strains credulity, and the ending seems rushed. The best part of the novel is learning something about Danish culture. Who would have thought that Danish money is called “kroner”?

Reviewed by Stacia Levy