Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen

I’m not quite sure why the three Scandinavian authors I’ve read include an inordinate amount of the grotesque in their novels; those of whom I speak are Larsson, Nesbo and now Adler-Olsen. Each one has written a novel which includes a woman being essentially tortured. Beyond one’s imaginings.
But, that’s not to say I wasn’t caught up in the novel as if I was watching a slow-motion train wreck. It is compelling reading, to learn what would become of Merete who had been held prisoner for five years in a pressure chamber. Wearing the same shirt for that amount of time was the least of her troubles. Her food was passed through an airlock in a bucket; another bucket was given to her for toilet purposes. The lights were kept on continuously, or off, for alternating periods of time, and every year the atmospheric pressure was raised one level.
It is up to Carl Morck, a detective who is so obstinate that he has been ‘promoted’ to newly established Department Q, to find out what has happened to Merete who’s been long assumed dead. Accompanied by his assistant, Assad, who has the ability to notice the finest detail, they set out to solve her case which had just been lying unresolved in an empty folder. For years.
Penguin tells me, “This is the very first time that the 2010 Glass Key Award winner (previously won by Stieg Larsson, Jo Nesbo and Henning Mankell) Adler-Olsen has been translated into English and published in the UK. In Denmark, MERCY hit the No 1 spot remained in the Top 3 for over a year. Jussi has also topped the charts in Germany, remaining on the bestseller list for 60 weeks so far.”
I personally found it a fascinating thriller, and look forward to more of the series which is to come.
Find the official teaser trailer for the book here, and interviews with the author here, here and here.
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17 thoughts on “Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen”

  1. Suko, I've always loved Blogger's Minima template best. But, it didn't allow me to post very large pictures, so I've tweaked it a bit here. Glad you like it! (At least, I'm making that assumption with your comment about it being striking. :)This is a very good Scandinavian crime novel, I much prefer it to Steig's work as you can perhaps infer.

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  2. I will have to pass on this one. I read the first of "The Girl" series and started the 2nd but just couldn't stick it out. Oh well,my TBR list is way too long anyway!! 🙂

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  3. Sara, this isn't nearly so boring? upsetting? pointless? as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. But, it is rather violent. Fortunately, the ending is satisfactory to me. Kay, it's a fast read. I hope you enjoy it; I must hand it to Adler-Olsen that he has quite an imagination!

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  4. This sounds like a good page turner & It's fantastic that on the back of previous writers such as Larsson etc, newer, or to us newer writers are being translated. Loving the minimalist look of the new header, although between you & I glad you've kept the lady for the profile picture, as I've always loved that picture.

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  5. I bought this book because of the fact that it was a best seller and Scandinavian crime. I had to pass over some of the pressure chamber bits, but the book is a page turner. I found the set up between the detective and his assistant entertaining and I would read more of Adler-Olsen in an English translation.

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  6. I've been reading all ten of the Detective Martin Beck series this year. There were the Scandinavian crime novels that started it all. It's amazed me how little violence there is in them. There is so much violent torture in the current crop of crime novels that's it become kind of a contest to see who can torture the victim the most. I think the genre really needs to get back to it's crime solving roots. It's quickly turning into torture porn. What will it all be like in ten years is this keeps up? As a fan of detective fiction, I'm a bit concerned.

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  7. Parrish, glad you like the minimalist header as I must admit to liking it quite well myself. Although I've not yet found the perfect template (let me know when you find it, please!), nor the perfect red lipstick, there is peace to be made with the simple. As well as with accepting 'good enough'. I'm awfully fond of the reading woman myself, and to my joy many of my friends say they thought it was me on the couch. Don't mind being mistaken for her one bit! :)Linda, it really is a page turner, isn't it? I, too, liked the relationship between Morck and Assad, and now I'm looking forward to reading more of the series. I love it when the 'bad cop' shows everyone that he's really worth his salt.C.B. James, what an interesting (and astute) term you've brought up here: "torture porn". That gives me quite a bit to think about, and I'm wondering why it's so prevalent in all three of Scandinavian thrillers I've read. I love a good crime, and a bit of pscyhological tension, but I don't really need so much of the torture aspect.

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  8. Love the new look! And, this book sounds soooo good! I've seen it around, but wasn't sure about it until now. Thanks for the heads up on it!

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  9. Ah, I knew I'd seen Mercy somewhere else besides the blog where I left a comment, last night, or early this morning (hard to tell which is which when you can't sleep). Oh, look, there's Kay's comment! It was her blog! Anyway, I was thinking it was a young adult novel. Oh. Nowhere near. Not the kind of book I read at all. I'm far too much of a wienie to read about torture.

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  10. Nadia, I haven't seen it in any bookstores yet, just a scattering across a few blogs. It sure seems to have been a big hit in northern Europe, though!Bookfool, thanks for pointing me to Kay's blog. I'd missed her post on it.Andi, very train-wrecky. Wait. Is that a word? 🙂

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  11. I can't decide if authors and series like this are for me… I keep seeing the same type of books around the blogosphere, but haven't actually attempted one myself. Maybe one day I will see…

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  12. Kailana, they are certainly not my first pick to go to in literature. But, they do provide a respite of entertainment. Sort of like an action film after watching a lot of Masterpiece Theater. 🙂

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  13. Thanks for the review – I've been meaning to pick a copy up (post the book buying ban lifting), just because I love a good thriller. I had mild withdrawal symptoms after I finished the Larsson trilogy, because there really isn't that much good crime/suspense fiction out there! This sounds fantastic (women-torturing aside) though!

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  14. If you liked Larson's stuff, you'll like thie (even better, I suspect) and don't forget about Jo Nesbo as well. There are getting to be some well loved Scandinavian crime writers out there!

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