Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Review: "The Hanging Girl" by Jussi Adler-Olsen

"The Hanging Girl" by Jussi Adler-Olsen will be published by Penguin Group Dutton on September 8, 2015. Jussi Adler-Olsen is an incredibly popular Danish mystery writer and is well known for the Department Q series. The series follows Carl Mørck, a Copenhagen homicide detective who starts working cold case files in the basement of Police Headquarters. So far there are six books in the Department Q series.

The mystery opens with Carl Mørck taking a phone call from a police officer who lives on the island of Bornholm, Denmark’s easternmost island. He tells Carl that he desperately needs help solving a cold case hit and run accident that has haunted him for years. He wants help clearing the case because he's retiring. When Carl doesn't respond the way the officer wants, he hangs up, leaving Carl staring at a dead phone line. A few hours later Rose, one of Carl's assistants, accusingly reports that the officer shot himself at his own retirement party. Now Carl and his assistants Rose and Assad are off to investigate both the suicide of the officer and his cold case.

I certainly think it would have helped if I had read the previous books in the Department Q series. Although this book gave some small insights into each of the characters, Carl, Assad and Rose, not having their back stories left me with the dilemma of having no previous connection or positive feelings for the characters. I think this really affected my enjoyment of the mystery. The book seemed slow to me, I found myself wishing something would happen. Instead, there were convoluted and twisty details leading the reader to the unexpected ending. Usually that's a good thing that I didn't know "who done it" until the end, but in this case I just found myself frustrated.

If you have read previous Department Q mysteries, I'm sure this book, although slower, will still satisfy. On the other hand, if you haven't yet indulged in a Department Q book, you might want to start at the beginning and avoid my somewhat disappointing enjoyment.


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