We’ve all been there before, having read the first of a series, keening on edge at the very end and itching like mad for the second book. Heaven help us if the second one hasn’t come out yet. Waiting patiently? Preposterous! And when we get that second book, we devour it even faster than the first, if at all possible. At the end, we know we will be deeply satisfied and hungry for more or oddly displeased, closing it with a foul taste in our mouths, nudging the book gently out of sight disappointingly (yes, Hunger Games, you know that I’m talking about you). I had to do it, with the Jussi Adler-Olsen Department Q series, I had to order the second one (The Absent One). And luckily, he does not disappoint.
Adler-Olsen has stumbled upon a winning formula for an exciting and stimulating crime / thriller / mystery novel. His main character, Detective Carl Morck is not particularly likable but very human. Morck surrounds himself with a cast of character that makes his plain vanilla-ness act as a palate cleanser for the reader. You’re always a bit relieved when you read a Morck chapter. And, if I forgot to mention this before, the chapters of Adler-Olsen’s book are divided into different characters within the novel. You get to know your victims and villains intimately. Motive is not only a reason for why so-and-so did this, it is half the story. Before you know it, you’re cheering for the victim, whom you are getting to know better and better as the pages progress.
The story of the Absent One is around the cold case vicious murder of a brother and sister in their vacation cottage. They are suspected to be killed by an over-privileged group of boarding school teens, who in present time are all wealthy, public figures in society. Their secret is threatened by one defunct member of their group, a woman named Kimmie who now wanders the street homeless, waiting to take her revenge. Let’s just say it’s a combination of Clockwork Orange and The Most Dangerous Game.
Go on now, you know you want to read it.