Tuesday 28 August 2012

Book review : Disgrace - Jussi Adler-Olsen

Last year, I read - and totally loved - Mercy, by Jussi Adler-Olsen, a Scandinavian author who I had yet to discover, despite him being a top seller and having won numerous literary awards. (Click through to read my review of Jussi Adler-Olsen's Mercy.) When the sequel, Disgrace, landed on my to-be-reviewed pile, I was really excited to catch up with detective Carl Morck and his trusty (most of the time !) sidekick Assad again. In the last book, they had been tucked away in the basement at police headquarters to run the newly-created Department Q dealing with cold cases. Disgrace is the second book in the Department Q series. I remembered that Carl was traumatised after two of his colleagues were shot alongside him on a case and that Assad was a (frequently unintentionally) hilarious Syrian cleaner rapidly promoted to Carl's assistant, but apart from that, I couldn't really remember any details of the case.

This isn't really a problem as Disgrace can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, but I would have liked a few more references to the previous case, to help jog my memory of what I'd read in the previous episode.

Disgrace begins with a mysterious case file that pops up on Carl's desk from who knows where, about the brutal murder of a brother and sister two decades previously. Although he has no idea how the case file ended up on his desk, he starts investigating and learns that the suspects at the time were a bunch of boarding school students who have turned into highly-influential, rich businessmen. Then there is Kimmie, who was the final member of the gang but who has ended up as a bag-lady on the run - but on the run from who and what?

All of the characters in Disgrace are multi-faceted and really interesting, but Kimmie is the most psychologically complex and fascinating character that I have come across for an incredibly long time. She is a walking paradox - callous killer and ruthlessly hunted victim, totally in control but also pathetically vulnerable, inspiring equal amounts of abhorrence and compassion. The other members of the boarding school gang are equally chilling but lack the human side that leads the reader to empathise with Kimmie, despite her past deeds.

It's a gripping novel, full of disturbingly inhumane crimes with villains you will love to hate, that is so well-written that it's pointless trying to second-guess what will happen because you'll never manage ! In 2013, the makers of the Steig Larsson movies and The Killing will be bringing Mercy and Disgrace to the big screen - I can't wait to see what they'll do with Carl Morck, Assad and the other characters from the novels.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £7.99

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

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Book review : Tribes of Time - Jaymes E. Terry


  1. I love the sound of that. One more to add to my list of books to read.

  2. i love reading book reviews as it helps loads in choosing books that are intestering.x


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