"The Absent One" by Jussi Adler Olsen

The Absent One - Jussi Adler-Olsen, K.E. Semmel

Also published under the title "Disgrace"

Book 2, in the Department Q series

We learnt in the first installment that Department Q was set up the handle cold cases with Carlo Morck, a prickly Copenhagen Deputy Det., to lead it. This follow-up is quite different to the first case he tackled. This story is more brutal and is filled with great inventiveness in its descriptions of the technique of torture and depravity. The nonstop action is pulse-pounding with many unforeseen twists to derail us although we do have some breaks to help us relate to the characters. This is a saga that is far from being dull.

Carl returns from vacation to discover that his unit has been reshuffled and is confronted with a file that shouldn't be on his desk. The file concerns the brutal murders of a sister and brother two decades earlier and one of the suspects confessed and was convicted. How did the file come into his possession and why was he immediately asked to let it go?

Once Carl looks something, this contrarian individual will do the direct opposite to what he is told. Looking further into this supposedly solved case leads him to Kimmie, a vagrant who steals to survive and a group of ex -boarding school bodies who became successful businessmen. The group is later discovered to be engaged in a series of despicable acts.....

Maybe the antics of the criminals are over the top and a bit unbelievable but nevertheless we have a plot that is exciting and revolves around Carl's attempts to get evidences and convictions. The characters are intricate and fascinating. Carl is hard to work with, Assad is always cheerful and Rose the new addition to the department is a piece of work. To the mix are the creepy villains and Kimmie I let you judge her....IMO this author is in a league of his own and provides hours of captivating reading with his superb writing, his original characters and exciting plots