Friday, February 19, 2016

The Hanging Girl - Jussi Adler-Olsen

I'm just going to cut right to the chase here. If you are already a fan of Jussi Adler-Olsen's Department Q mysteries but have had a drop-off in enthusiasm for him, The Hanging Girl is his way of powering his way back on to your Must Read list. 

The cold case, that of a young woman whose body was found suspended from a tree, had haunted the lead investigator for years. He makes a desperate call to Department Q's Carl Morck in an effort to have their team take it on, but Morck rebuffs him. 

Circumstances (and Rose, the ever-present thorn in his side) compel him to take the case on, however, and once Adler-Olsen gets us going there's just nowhere to stop and take a breath. This is a good thing. 

Cold case mysteries are so much fun to read. Over time witnesses' memories fade or they move or die, physical evidence is lost or altered by time, and the threads that would have helped an investigator piece together a case a decade or more sooner have often unraveled to the extent that they aren't even in the same guilt-quilt any longer. Adler-Olsen is so, so good at starting a novel with what seem like wildly divergent story lines that are compelling in their own right, but the closer he brings you to the conclusion the more rapidly the seemingly disparate story lines begin to converge. 

The additional treat here is that we continue to learn just the slightest bit more about the mysterious (and hilarious) Assad, whose continued inability to grasp the concept of idioms is as funny as it was in their first outing, and Rose still has a surprise or two in store for us, too... if it is Rose.  There is even an unexpectedly moving bit of character development that had me a bit emotional, as well. 

Honestly, y'all, this is the best in the series since the first two, The Keeper of Lost Causes and The Absent One. 

Published by Dutton
September 2015

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