The Scarred Woman is the latest (#7) in Jussi Adler-Olsen's Department Q series.
Department Q is the division of the Copenhagen P.D. dedicated to the resolution of cold cases. The staff is not large - it's only Detective Carl Mørck and his assistants Assad and Rose. The characters and their interplay are the main reason I am so enamoured of this series. But the cases Adler-Olsen comes up with run a close second.
In The Scarred Woman, the body of a woman is found dead in a park. But aspects of the case are similar to an unsolved case from ten years back. And so the new case is assigned to Department Q. Young women are also being targeted in Copenhagen and Carl and Assad insinuate themselves into this case as well. As always, the threat of dismantling the 'Q' is there if the cases are not solved. Carl has a running feud with the higher ups and I always enjoy the sparring between them.
Adler-Olsen's dialogue is infused with a wicked sense of humour. The back and forth between Carl and Assad is a source of great amusement for me - especially Assad's camel analogies. Carl's inner dialogue is wickedly wry.
These two latest cases are wonderfully different. The young women case presents an opportunity for some social commentary - wonderfully shaped and presented with skewed thought processes and dialogue. The reader is privy to three sides of the story - from the police, the perpetrator and victims.
The mystery of Assad continues as Adler-Olsen continues to slowly dole out snippets of information about his past in each book. But it is Rose who takes center stage in this latest. Her troubled past has been alluded to in previous entries, but is fully revealed in The Scarred Woman. Carl's personal life has also moved along in each book. The supporting characters in his life are just as appealing - especially Hardy. And I've taken a shine to Gordon, the newer fourth member of the 'Q' team.
I love this series - the complex, unusual cases, but especially the 'left of center' cast. I will be eagerly awaiting book nine. Read an excerpt of The Scarred Woman. And if you like the sounds of this series, I would suggest starting with the first book - The Keeper of Lost Causes.