The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Keeper of Lost Causes (2007) by Jussi Adler-Olsen is the first novel in his Department Q series. Although I love Scandinavian crime stories, I somehow missed this one when it first came out in translation. In this series, Carl Morck, one of Copenhagen’s best detectives, is injured in a case. After a shoot out that kills one of his partners and gravely injures another, Morck returns to active duty, plagued with guilt. He is put in charge of Department Q, a new department, consisting of himself, to solve Denmark’s cold cases. At first, Morck wants to hole up and avoid interaction with the outside world but eventually, with the help of his new assistant, a Syrian refugee, Morck starts in on the cold cases. They start work on the case of a missing liberal politician, presumed dead five years previous. Morck discovers enough holes in the case to investigate and it’s a race to read through to the end.

People who enjoy Nordic Noir like Henning Mankell and Jo Nesbo will enjoy this police procedural set in Denmark. What is Nordic Noir? Mostly stories of brutal crimes in serene settings. For a better description of the genre and some great suggestions of films, podcasts and books in the genre, read this article. My favorite books of this type are Faceless Killers with Detective Wallander by Mankell and Voices with Detective Erlendur by Arnaldur Indridason. Also to try Raven Black by Ann Cleeves.