Anthony McIntyre 🔖 With Scandinoir, the reader is spoilt for choice. 


There is just so much high quality material out there, with the Department Q series authored by Jussi Adler Olsen holding its own in the front line, invariably scaling the heights of the Danish best seller list, with many being made into movies.

Redemption is the third in the series which has Carl Mørck in the lead investigator role. What demotivation might have insidiously intruded on his investigative skillset is more than compensated for by the combined if not coordinated efforts of Rose Knudsen and Hafez el-Assad, neither of whom is a detective but without whose input cold cases would never lose their chill.

Two young brothers, Tryggve and Poul Holtare, are tied up in a boathouse but they have no idea exactly where. The location was knowledge their kidnapper was careful not to share with them. All they can hear are some frequent noises from outside their confinement which is of no help whatsoever . . . to them. One comes up with an idea. He cuts himself and uses his blood as ink. And so the time honoured message in a bottle requesting help is launched. As a form of SOS it moves at a glacial pace.

Many years elapse between 1996 when the bottle left port and the moment when a report comes through from Scotland where the vessel eventually completed its journey, its contents faded and in parts indecipherable. The bottle had lain in a Scottish police station for years, the sergeant who was its recipient had not even bothered to open it. After his death it ended up broken and only then when the contents spilled out was the matter passed to Copenhagen.

Danish authorities now aware, after much deliberation as to the authenticity of the message, toss the case down to  the basement with the cold case team. With no children reported missing in 1996, the enthusiasm for finding what might never have been lost was not exactly brimming. Such was his scepticism, but for the gun attack in which he survived and saw a colleague die with another left paraplegic, Carl too might have been 'another promising career that had ended up in the traffic department.'

A cold case but one which is linked through the perp to a live hot one. More children are kidnapped. Solving these abductions are made no easier by the less than cooperative attitude of the parents of the child abductees. Their immersion in religious cults throws up a secrecy problem, even to the extent of denying that their children are missing: 'the members of the church will shield each other against the world by whatever means. Also with lies.' Not unlike communist parties in the secular world.

A husband too goes missing periodically but for different reasons and who invariably returns to his deeply unhappy and suspicious wife. While not a hate theologian he emulates one in that his word allows no dissent. He becomes the nemesis of Carl throughout the investigation. The pursuit leads to some edge of the seat stuff, the tension holding right to the end fuelled by the deadlines of the chase.

Even were the reader not to be drawn in by the plot, the characters and their complicated relationships, either between those in Department Q, the department itself and the police hierarchy or an acrimonious clash between the lead investigator and his ex wife, Vigga, make it hard for readers to avert their gaze from the inviting wink,  perfectly cast to hook the perusing eye. Unlike some other character development from elsewhere in Scandinoir, Jussi Adler Olsen does not allow his creations to go stale. Following the characters alone makes the effort worthwhile, as is evident from Rose and her twin sister Yrsa who provides cover when Rose appears to take time out. Unfortunately, when a character has great pulling power but is restricted by death to a standalone outing, the reader feels they have been deprived of something.

Did reaching the denouement need to take so long? Probably not, but in a world 'of new religious movements and sects, all absolutely certain that they alone possessed the definitive solutions to the tribulations of man' this was never going to be an easy religious nut to crack.

Jussi Adler Olsem 2013, Redemption. Penguin. ISBN-13: 978-0141399997


Follow on Twitter @AnthonyMcIntyre.



Redemption

Anthony McIntyre 🔖 With Scandinoir, the reader is spoilt for choice. 


There is just so much high quality material out there, with the Department Q series authored by Jussi Adler Olsen holding its own in the front line, invariably scaling the heights of the Danish best seller list, with many being made into movies.

Redemption is the third in the series which has Carl Mørck in the lead investigator role. What demotivation might have insidiously intruded on his investigative skillset is more than compensated for by the combined if not coordinated efforts of Rose Knudsen and Hafez el-Assad, neither of whom is a detective but without whose input cold cases would never lose their chill.

Two young brothers, Tryggve and Poul Holtare, are tied up in a boathouse but they have no idea exactly where. The location was knowledge their kidnapper was careful not to share with them. All they can hear are some frequent noises from outside their confinement which is of no help whatsoever . . . to them. One comes up with an idea. He cuts himself and uses his blood as ink. And so the time honoured message in a bottle requesting help is launched. As a form of SOS it moves at a glacial pace.

Many years elapse between 1996 when the bottle left port and the moment when a report comes through from Scotland where the vessel eventually completed its journey, its contents faded and in parts indecipherable. The bottle had lain in a Scottish police station for years, the sergeant who was its recipient had not even bothered to open it. After his death it ended up broken and only then when the contents spilled out was the matter passed to Copenhagen.

Danish authorities now aware, after much deliberation as to the authenticity of the message, toss the case down to  the basement with the cold case team. With no children reported missing in 1996, the enthusiasm for finding what might never have been lost was not exactly brimming. Such was his scepticism, but for the gun attack in which he survived and saw a colleague die with another left paraplegic, Carl too might have been 'another promising career that had ended up in the traffic department.'

A cold case but one which is linked through the perp to a live hot one. More children are kidnapped. Solving these abductions are made no easier by the less than cooperative attitude of the parents of the child abductees. Their immersion in religious cults throws up a secrecy problem, even to the extent of denying that their children are missing: 'the members of the church will shield each other against the world by whatever means. Also with lies.' Not unlike communist parties in the secular world.

A husband too goes missing periodically but for different reasons and who invariably returns to his deeply unhappy and suspicious wife. While not a hate theologian he emulates one in that his word allows no dissent. He becomes the nemesis of Carl throughout the investigation. The pursuit leads to some edge of the seat stuff, the tension holding right to the end fuelled by the deadlines of the chase.

Even were the reader not to be drawn in by the plot, the characters and their complicated relationships, either between those in Department Q, the department itself and the police hierarchy or an acrimonious clash between the lead investigator and his ex wife, Vigga, make it hard for readers to avert their gaze from the inviting wink,  perfectly cast to hook the perusing eye. Unlike some other character development from elsewhere in Scandinoir, Jussi Adler Olsen does not allow his creations to go stale. Following the characters alone makes the effort worthwhile, as is evident from Rose and her twin sister Yrsa who provides cover when Rose appears to take time out. Unfortunately, when a character has great pulling power but is restricted by death to a standalone outing, the reader feels they have been deprived of something.

Did reaching the denouement need to take so long? Probably not, but in a world 'of new religious movements and sects, all absolutely certain that they alone possessed the definitive solutions to the tribulations of man' this was never going to be an easy religious nut to crack.

Jussi Adler Olsem 2013, Redemption. Penguin. ISBN-13: 978-0141399997


Follow on Twitter @AnthonyMcIntyre.



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