Disgrace by Jussi Adler-Olsen

“People saw only her cracked lips and filthy hair. Edging away from the repulsive bundle in her hands and her sleeves stained brown by dried blood, they didn’t see a fever ravaged fellow human in need. They didn’t see a person falling to pieces.”
Disgrace is the second in the Department Q series, following the prequel Mercy. It is everything that those who love Nordic crime could desire: tension, suffering, action and mystery. We follow Detective Carl Mørck through the investigation to solve six murders accompanied by his loyal and somewhat inept assistant, Assad. We follow Kimmie who has assumed the identity of a homeless woman because that is the only choice left to her by those more powerful than she. And we follow with mounting horror the antics of her former classmates: Ditlev, Kristian, Torsten, Ulrick and Bjarne. These prestigious business men hide a gruesome past behind a facade of success in modern day Copenhagen. But they cannot escape being the hunted, when once they were the hunters.
Thanks to Penguin UK for sending me this copy to review.

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.