Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Title: Mercy

Author: Jussi Adler-Olsen

Number of pages: 490

Started: 15 September 2011

Finished: 20 September 2011

Opening words:


She scratched her fingertips on the smooth walls until they bled, and pounded her fists on the thick panes until she could no longer feel her hands. At least ten times she had fumbled her way to the steel door and stuck her fingernails in the crack to try to pry it open, but the door could not be budged, and the edge was sharp.

Finally, when her nails started pulling away from the flesh of her fingers, she tumbled back on to the ice-cold floor, breathing hard. For a moment she stared into the thundering darkness, her eyes open wide and her heart hammering. Then she screamed. Screamed until her ears were ringing and her voice gave out.

Read a longer extract here.

Plot summary:

At first the prisoner scratches at the walls until her fingers bleed. But there is no escaping the room. With no way of measuring time, her days, weeks, months go unrecorded. She vows not to go mad. She will not give her captors the satisfaction. She will die first.


Copenhagen detective Carl Mørck has been taken off homicide to run a newly created department for unsolved crimes. His first case concerns Merete Lynggaard, who vanished five years ago. Everyone says she's dead. Everyone says it's a waste of time. He thinks they're right.

The voice in the dark is distorted, harsh and without mercy. It says the prisoner's torture will only end when she answers one simple question. It is one she has asked herself a million times:
WHY is this happening?

What I thought:

I was definitely in need of an “easy” read by the time I read this book, and this book hit the spot. I like Scandinavian novels and had seen this Danish book while I was in Denmark over the summer. The book then slipped my mind until I saw a couple of people’s very positive reviews of it and then I stumbled across a copy in the local library.

I found this to be a very enjoyable crime novel. The plot flowed, it was a good page-turner and there were enjoyable characters (although some were perhaps a bit of a stereotype).

The book revolved around a newly formed Department Q, which has the job of investigating long unsolved cases. But the unit was set up to get the head of department out of his most recent post, and the department consists of him and an immigrant with no defined role, expect to make the occasional cup of coffee and to tidy up a bit. They take on a notorious case involving a politician who disappeared, and is presumed dead. Except we as the reader, know that it is not all as it might appear…

This is the first of a series, with the next instalment due out in English in March 2012. A good crime novel, particularly for Scandinavian writing fans.


anothercookiecrumbles said...

As you know, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Page turner, predictable turn of events, stereotypical characters but still very enjoyable, so glad you thought the same.

There's something about Scandi crime-fiction. Reckon Jo Nesbo has to be next on the cards, although I've already acquired Purge...

Random Reflections said...

anothercookiecrumbles - I wrote a reply and then didn't post it properly. Grrr...

Mercy wasn't the best written book etc, but it was a really easy and enjoyable read, and really hit the spot.

I want to try Jo Nesbo, but the first two books haven't been translated into English yet, and I want to start at the beginning. I need order!