The Absent One
Jussi Adler-Olsen; K.E. Semmel (translator)
Dutton, Aug 21 2012, $26.95
Copenhagen Deputy Detective Superintendent Carl Morck heads the police Department Q, whose mission is solving cold cases. Formerly a good homicide cop, Morck almost died on the job while two of his peers did because he blames himself for failing to fire his gun (The Keeper of Lost Causes). He suffers from remorse and survival guilt.
The latest case for Morck and his two exiled undesirable assistants Assad and Rose Knudson involves a 1987 double homicide of teen siblings; both beaten to death at a summer cottage in Rorvig. Neither Carl nor Assad knows why they got the closed solved case, but they study the file. Suspicion back then fell on six boarding-school students staying at a nearby cottage who had several brawls at the local Round nightclub. Five of them (Pram, Florin, Jensen, deceased Wolf and vanished Lasson) were born silver spooners while the other was on scholarship (Thogersen); the father of the victims, a cop, killed himself. Nine years after the brutal murders, Thogersen confessed and remains in prison. Three of the surviving now gold spooners realize the cops are reinvestigating the murders and may find evidence linking them to that and more such violent acts. They need to eliminate the one person who could expose them if Department Q finds her before they do.
The second Department Q Danish police procedural is an exciting cold case mystery as the more Carl and Assad learn, the more convinced they are that all the suspects were involved in the murders and in subsequent killings since. Readers will enjoy following the clues as everyone hunts for a homeless member of the original six.