The Purity of Vengeance (Department Q 04) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Product info (from Goodreads):

In 1987, Nete Hermansen plans revenge on those who abused her in her youth, including Curt Wad, a charismatic surgeon who was part of a movement to sterilize wayward girls with ‘bad genes’ in 1950s Denmark.

More than twenty years later, Detective Carl Mørck already has plenty on his mind when he is presented with the case of a brothel owner, a woman named Rita, who went missing in the eighties: New evidence has emerged in the case that destroyed the lives of his two partners—the case that sent Carl to Department Q.

But when Carl’s assistants, Assad and Rose, learn that numerous other people disappeared around the same weekend as Rita, Carl takes notice. As they sift through the disappearances, they get closer and closer to Curt Wad, who is more determined than ever to see the vision of his youth take hold and whose brutal treatment of Nete and others like her is only one small part of his capacity for evil.

My impressions:

I jumped in the middle of the series and never experienced any problems so, I suppose, this part can be considered a stand-alone novel. Which is good. There were some short infodumps concerning Mork’s previous life and incoming divorce but I took them in my stride.

The first general remark: there is no real mystery per se and I didn’t like that. We know from the very beginning that Nete Hermansen, a rich widow, decided to avenge herself and murder several people who had made her early life truly hellish. We just lack details and Carl Mork, helped by his colleagues, Assad and Rose, is going to investigate. After all he leads a special police unit which deals with old, unresolved, strange cases. A disappearance of five people in a very short period of time should be considered strange for sure.

My second general remark: neither Nete, nor her nemezis, Curt Wad, were especially intelligent or resourceful in their dealings. It is always a drag in crime stories, at least in my opinion, when the perpetrators are rather dumb and their plans – easy to guess. Nete’s nefarious preparations to shorten lives of her old enemies were ridiculous mainly because a) she was a woman in her fifties, not exactly young or fit, b) she didn’t think of one hundred little things which could go wrong (I am being deliberately vague because otherwise this review would be one big spoiler). Curt Wad’s ‘hidden’ documentation almost begged to be discovered.

Final verdict:

Neither good nor especially bad example of ‘Nordic’ or ‘Scandinavian’ crime story with rather dumb characters and a non-mystery. I am not inclined to check the rest of the series, thank you very much. Meh.

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4 Responses to The Purity of Vengeance (Department Q 04) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

  1. heidenkind says:

    I hate mysteries that aren’t mysteries

  2. Carole Rae says:

    Super bummer. It sounded so good. But when the mystery is not really a mystery….big pass for me.

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