The Keeper of Lost Causes
Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark's premier crime writer. His books routinely top the bestseller lists in northern Europe, and he's won just about every Nordic crime-writing award, including the prestigious Glass Key Award-also won by Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson, and Jo Nesbo. Now, Dutton is thrilled to introduce him to America.
The Keeper of Lost Causes, the first installment of Adler- Olsen's Department Q series, features the deeply flawed chief detective Carl MØrck, who used to be a good homicide detective-one of Copenhagen's best. Then a bullet almost took his life. Two of his colleagues weren't so lucky, and Carl, who didn't draw his weapon, blames himself.
So a promotion is the last thing Carl expects.
But it all becomes clear when he sees his new office in the basement. Carl's been selected to run Department Q, a new special investigations division that turns out to be a department of one. With a stack of Copenhagen's coldest cases to keep him company, Carl's been put out to pasture. So he's as surprised as anyone when a case actually captures his interest. A missing politician vanished without a trace five years earlier. The world assumes she's dead. His colleagues snicker about the time he's wasting. But Carl may have the last laugh, and redeem himself in the process.
Because she isn't dead . . . yet.
She scratched her ﬁngertips on the smooth walls until they bled, and pounded her ﬁ sts 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.
Finally, when her nails starting pulling away from the ﬂesh of her ﬁngers, she tumbled back on to the ice-cold ﬂoor, breathing hard. For a moment she stared into the thundering darkness, her eyes open wide and her heart hammering. Then she screamed. Screamed until her ears were ringing and her voice gave out.
She leaned her head back and again felt the fresh air streaming down from the ceiling. Maybe she could jump up there if she got a running start and then grabbed hold of something. Maybe then something would happen.
Yes, then maybe those bastards outside would have to come in.
And if she stuck out her ﬁngers and aimed for their eyes, maybe she could blind them. If she was fast enough and didn’t hesitate, maybe she could. And then perhaps she could escape.
For a moment she sucked on her bleeding ﬁngers, then pressed them against the ﬂoor and sat up.
Blindly she stared up at the ceiling. Maybe it was too far to jump. Perhaps there was nothing for her to grab. But she should give it a try. What else could she do?
She took off her jacket and carefully placed it in a corner so she wouldn’t trip over it. Then in one bound she leaped off the ﬂoor, stretching her arms in the air as high as she could, but she touched nothing. She did it a couple more times before she retreated to the far wall, where she paused for a moment to collect herself. Then she took a running start, and with all her might she jumped into the darkness with her arms ﬂailing for hope. When she crashed back down, her foot slipped on the smooth ﬂoor, and her body landed on its side. She gasped loudly when her shoulder struck the concrete, and she screamed when her head smashed against the wall, slamming her brain full of ﬂashes of light.
For a long time she lay very still, wanting only to cry. But she didn’t. It would be misunderstood if her prison guards heard her. They would think she was on the verge of giving up, but she wasn’t. Just the opposite.
She was going to look after herself. For them she was the woman in the cage, but she was the one who decided how far apart the bars would be. She would think thoughts that opened out on to the world and kept madness at bay. They would never break her. That’s what she decided as she lay there on the ﬂoor, her shoulder throbbing ﬁercely and the swelling around her eye making it close tight.
Someday she would get out of here.
-Library Journal, (starred review)
"The new 'it' boy of Nordic Noir."
-The Times (London)
"The Keeper of Lost Causes is dark, atmospheric, and compelling. Those who loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will devour this book."
-C.J. Box, New York Times bestselling author of Cold Wind
"Jussi Adler-Olsen tells his stories as wickedly as Dean Koontz and has his detectives work as hard as Stieg Larsson."
-Jydske Vestkysten (Denmark)
"This novel is for every Scandinavian crime fiction fan a must-read!"
-Hannoversche Allgemeine (Germany)
"As impressive as it is unnerving."
"An unusually fine and extremely fascinating thriller, which will keep you breathless till the very last page."