The Shadow Murders – by Jussi Adler Olsen

I’ve been following this series since it started and I love those early books.  The later ones got darker and grimmer and it seemed the characters lost some of their quirky flavor. But the plots continued to be excellent.  The writing is good.

The Shadow Murders
by Jussi Adler Olsen 
9/2022
Translated by William Frost 
Read by Graeme Malcolm 13h 11m 
Rating: A + / Scandi-noir  
#9 in the Department Q series 


Department Q is the “cold case” department of the Copenhagen Police Department. Carl Merck, an older and more experienced officer is in charge and he reports to Chief Marcus Jacobsen who very much appreciates Department Q, but can’t seem to get them much funding, Carl has three very quirky deputies, Assad, Rose and Gordon assigned to his unit. Despite their oddities, the four click and make a great team.  

This time the twist is Covid which really messes with schedules, interviews, and gathering evidence. It’s quite annoying to everyone. Also, the countdown goes date by date in month prior to Christmas (and had I known this I might have saved the book for my December Holiday readings – ah well …) 

The tale starts with an older woman’s suicide – or what looks like a suicide until Chief Marcus realizes that what it looks like is a case he had about 30 years prior. So it’s referred to the open minds and cramped spaces of the basement where Department Q lives There, after some thorough and intuitive investigating, the team comes up with the fact that there has been an unsolved murder every other year for the past 35 or so years. And these are a lot more than random murders there is a definite method to the horror.. It gets good – er – evil.

The characters in The Shadow Murders seem less quirky than they were in the prior Detective Q  books, but it has some very funny little parts. I think maybe the plot itself is better in hits book, and it’s still definitely noir in the old Scandi- fashion with religious allusions and a nut-case on the loose. It gets gritty and tension-packed, too. I enjoyed it tremendously. (*Note – Child abuse may be a trigger factor.)

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