REDEMPTION (published as A CONSPIRACY OF FAITH in the US) is Jussi Adler-Olsen’s third novel to feature Carl Mørck and his team of well meaning misfits in Department Q: Copenhagen Police’s cold case unit. As this outing opens Carl is returning to work from leave he took to settle his old colleague, now a quadriplegic after being shot on duty, into his home. There’s a lot going on at the station but Carl’s attention is drawn to a message in a bottle. The bottle had washed up on Scottish shores but once the language of the message was recongised as Danish it was sent through to Copenhagen police. Carl’s assistants, particularly Assad, are soon intently trying to interpret the note, some words of which have been washed away, and their efforts soon lead them to the trail of a particularly nasty killer (not, of course, that there really is any such thing as a nice killer).
I mostly enjoy the element of the book dealing with the personal lives and character development of Carl and his team. The picture of them all is becoming deeper with each novel and they feel like more well rounded characters now: full of contradictions like most real people. I have to say though I found the thread dealing with Rose and her sister both completely predictable (I think I said out loud the oh come on I was thinking which was problematic as I happened to be on the bus at the time) and entirely unbelievable. And looking back I think this is where my disengagement with the book probably began: I started to get the impression the author was…having a lend…seeing how obvious or ridiculous he could be and still get people to hand over cash for his writing.
This feeling only grew as the main plot unfolded. After the third or fourth impossible coincidence (not too far into the story) I pretty much stopped connecting to it on anything but a superficial level. There’s a Hollywood blockbuster sensibility to the amount of action and violence that takes place and this kind of storyline just doesn’t interest me that much. The motivation provided for the killer was another thing that didn’t really ring true. Not that I don’t believe someone brought up in a hideously strict religious environment might end up psychologically so damaged he would become a killer, but I never believed in this character’s damaged psyche. It felt like a checklist of character traits had been neatly ticked off rather than being inside the head of someone truly affected by a horrid childhood.
My lessening interest as REDEMPTION progressed wasn’t helped by its length. Coming at over 18 hours as an audio book I imagine its print version could act as a sturdy doorstop and it just wasn’t necessary (much as I enjoy Stephen Pacey’s lovely voice in my head). This is the third of Adler-Olsen’s novels that I’ve read and it was better than the second instalment but neither holds a candle to the first book in the series for me.So, aside from being mildly curious about where Adler-Olsen will take his continuing characters next, I think I might be done here.
I hope I’ve just read too many barking mad serial killer books rather than too much crime fiction all together.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Narrator Steven Pacey
Translator Martin Aitken
Publisher Penguin Audiobooks
Length 17 hours 18 minutes
Format audio (mp3)
Book Series #3 in the Department Q series
This work by http://reactionstoreading.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.