The Keeper of Lost Causes – Jussi Adler-Olsen

In preparation for book 7 in the Department Q series, I decided I should read book one!

THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES by Jussi Adler-Olsen is our introduction to homicide detective Carl Morck


My Thoughts: 4/5 stars!

Another series in the Scandinavian crime genre. I really enjoy how dark and bleak this genre always seems to be. THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES by Jussi Adler-Olsen is book one in the Department Q series (with book 7 coming out next month!) We follow homicide Detective Carl Morck and his colleague Assad as they try to solve a cold case of a missing politician – is she still alive?

Present day, 2007, Carl Morck was one of the best homicide detectives in Copenhagen, but after he was involved in a shooting that resulted in one detective dying, one being paralyzed, and Carl being shot. He has been increasingly difficult to work with since he has returned to work. When the government wants to create a cold case crimes unit, the Chief jumps at the opportunity and promotes Morck to be in charge of this new department. As he acquires Department Q he is given an assistant, Assad, a Syrian immigrant who is more than eager to help with the cold cases. With pressure to show some progress within Department Q building, Morck reluctantly picks up a missing person’s case. A politician, Merete Lynggaard, went missing 5 years prior – what really happened to her?

Past, 2002, Merete Lynggaard disappears. She is a well-known political figure and is constantly followed by the paparazzi because of her beauty and appearance (as it is with celebrities, the more risque the photo, the more they’ll be paid). She keeps her professional and private lives as separate as possible. As with every politician, she has her enemies, but do any of them want her dead?

This book jumps back and forth between 2002 and 2007. We get the paralleling stories of Merete and her disappearance with Carl trying to solve her disappearance. I do enjoy the jumping timelines with crime stories, it’s a great way to get answers as you go and its exciting to see through the different perspectives. The dynamic between Assad and Carl is great  – they’re so different from each other. One is old, grumpy, and wanting to just sit in Department Q unnoticed, while the other is curious, bright, and likes going through the old case files.

Like other Scandinavian crime books, this is a slow burn. Just something to keep in mind when picking this one up. As we learn more of the details about Merete’s disappearance the momentum definitely does pick up! You’ll find yourself turning the pages until the end to see what really happened and how Carl and Assad will solve the case.

This is a solid first book for a crime series – I’m curious to see how Department Q continues past this case. So I will be looking for the next installments.


Has anyone else read the Department Q series? Any Scandinavian Crime genre fans out there?


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