In the previous seven books in the series of Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Department Q police procedurals, we’ve gotten to know the three, and eventually four, principals in that basement office in Copenhagen Police HQ. There’s Inspector Carl Mørck, ostensibly the boss but frequently a follower rather than a leader. His “secretary,” the schizophrenic Rose, and, more recently, Gordon, sent by the hostile head of homicide to spy on them, both work with Carl (but often ignore his orders). And then there’s Assad, Hafez el-Asaad actually, whose mysterious Middle Eastern background has baffled the Department and readers alike ever since he turned up with a mop in the basement. Now, in the eighth book, we finally learn Asaad’s story — and what a story it is!
For starters, his name isn’t Hafez el-Asaad. We figured that, since the name seems Syrian and we’re fairly sure Asaad is Iraqi. But there is so much more to learn about the man, and it’s at the heart of the story in Victim 2117.
Victim 2117 (Department Q #8) by Jussi Adler-Olson (2020) 480 pages ★★★★★
The latest Department Q police procedural is a complex international tale
About that victim. She’s an older woman whose body has washed up on a beach in Cyprus, one of many victims from a boatload of Syrian refugees who perished in the Mediterranean. She is, in fact, the 2,117th refugee to die in the sea, or so the news media tell us. And this complex and deeply engrossing novel is all about the consequences of her death for five seemingly unconnected people: a Catalan reporter who sees the woman’s story as his mealticket; a deeply troubled teenage boy in suburban Copenhagen; an Iraqi terrorist leading a group of suicide bombers; Asaad himself; and, of course, Carl Mørck. Adler-Olsen does a brilliant job weaving these tales together, steadily building suspense toward a shattering conclusion.
About the author
Jussi Adler-Olsen has been writing professionally since 1984. He is the author of eight other books, both fiction and nonfiction, in addition to the eight books in the Department Q series. He writes in Danish. Adler-Olsen is also a publisher, editor, and entrepreneur.
For additional reading
This is the latest of Jussi-Adler Olsen’s captivating Department Q thrillers. And that series is one of The best Nordic noir series from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland.
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