Disgrace by Jussi  Adler-Olsen

Disgrace by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Kimmie’s home is on the streets of Copenhagen. To live she must steal. She has learned to avoid the police and never to stay in one place for long. But now others are trying to find her. And they won’t rest until she has stopped moving – for good.

Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q, the cold cases division, has received a file concerning the brutal murder of a brother and sister twenty years earlier. A group of boarding school students were the suspects at the time – until one of their number confessed and was convicted. So why is the file of a closed case on Carl’s desk? Who put it there? Who believes the case is not solved?

A police detective wants to talk to Kimmie and someone else is asking questions about her. They know she carries secrets certain powerful people want to stay buried deep. But Kimmie has one of her own. It’s the biggest secret of them all.

And she can’t wait to share it with them . . .

I’ve just finished Jussi  Adler-Olsen’s Disgrace, the second in a series following Copenhagen detective Carl Mørck of Department Q and his sidekick Assad. The problem I had with this book is that it followed Mercy. Mercy for me – one of my top 10 books of 2011 – was an amazing, is an amazing, book and following such a strong opener to a series was never going to be easy. I was so excited to read the follow up, anticipation was certainly high!

Disgrace is more or less self-contained and although there are a couple of references to Mercy in the book you can afford to read this book on its own without too many concerns. The wonderful and intriguing partnership of Mørck and Assad is disrupted by the arrival of Rose, a secretary. No ordinary secretary, Rose has attitude and isn’t afraid to voice her concerns but her police training certainly helps move things along despite Mørck’s early misgivings. They work well together as a trio and I certainly warmed to Rose as the book went along.

The book doesn’t flow as quick as Mercy and whether that’s down to the story or the translation I’m not certain and the humour in Department Q I found so entertaining in the first book is not as prevalent this time around.

The highlight of the book for me was the brilliant narrative following Kimmie’s life on the street and her battle with alcohol. The narrative is multi-dimensional, as is her character, and as a reader you never quite know what to expect. Sublimely written, Kimmie is the character of the book for me and certainly eclipses Mørck. There’s so much to Kimmie that makes you want to keep turning the pages and discover how she manages to stay one step ahead of the gang and the police.

The criminals are hard-core but one dimensional, there was nothing ingratiating about them and although I didn’t expect to warm to any of the bad guys I did want to experience some emotion and have a vested interest in what happens to them but there’s nothing to like. What they do is despicable, cruel and selfish, there’s nothing to like at all and I have to admit some of the passages dealing with animal cruelty made me wince a few times, not my cup of tea I’m afraid. Not only that but as we know the identity of the criminals from the beginning I found that there was a lack of suspense with this book.

I did however enjoy Mørck’s visits to see his ex-partner Hardy as we discover how the former policeman is dealing with his paralysis. The scenes were well written, moving and uncomfortable – for Mørck – at the same time. We learn a lot more about Mørck’s character on his hospital visits.

So there we have it, another good read, although not quite up to the standard of Mercy for me it introduces us to a new member of the team and allows the story to move on from the first book. Well worth reading in order – I highly recommend you read Mercy first – I can’t wait for the third title in the Mørck series to see what he gets up to next!

Available to buy in Paperback and Kindle formats.

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (21 Jun 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0141399988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141399980
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