Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Hanging Girl - Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Hanging Girl is the sixth novel in Jussi Adler-Olsen's Department Q series.

I absolutely adore this series - and it's because of the recurring characters.

Copenhagen Police Detective Carl Morck and his assistants Assad and Rose labour in the basement of Police HQ, taking on cold cases. Their success rate cannot be argued with. But their methods and idiosyncrasies do nothing but annoy those on the higher floors. (to Carl's great delight)

I'm always a sucker for characters that are left of center. And this trio definitely are. While Adler-Olsen creates inventive plots for every book,  it is the mystery of Assad (and to a lesser degree, Rose) that has me eagerly awaiting next entry in this series. Slowly but surely over the course of the previous five books, details about the enigmatic Assad have been slowly meted out.  Carl's personal life and attitude are also immensely appealing. His inner commentary in response to Assad keeps me laughing. I'm looking forward to see if newcomer Gordon will stick around - I hope so.

It's another 20 year old cold case for the team in The Hanging Girl. A seventeen year old girl on the island of  Bornholm went missing on her way to school twenty years ago. She was later found dead - hanging high in the branches of a tree. Adler-Olsen takes the investigation to a unique place. The reader is privy to the goings of a nature worshiping commune. More specifically to the machinations of one of the leaders of the commune, who is determined to have things line up as she sees fit. What, if any, could be the connection between the two? Even with 'insider' knowledge, Adler-Olsen managed to surprise me at the end.

I chose to listen to The Hanging Girl, as I saw the reader was Graeme Malcom, one of my favourites. He's done the previous Department Q books as well, so he has become the voice of Carl for me. His slightly gravelly tone and mild accent embody the mental image I've created for this character.

Another great listen for this reader. And although the case is solved, there's some lovely little loose ends that promise another book - and perhaps more answers.  If you've not read any of the Department Q novels, I encourage you to start from the beginning with the first book, The Keeper of Lost Causes. Listen to an excerpt of The Hanging Girl or read an excerpt.

"Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark’s #1 crime writer and a New York Times bestseller. His books routinely top the bestseller lists in Europe and have sold more than fifteen million copies around the world. His many prestigious Nordic crime-writing awards include the Glass Key Award, also won by Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbø, Stieg Larsson, and Peter Høeg."

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