Book Review – Redemption by Jussi Adler-Olsen

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Apologies for the slight blurriness of the picture but photography was never my strong point. Redemption is the third in a series of novels focusing on Carl Morck (yeah I don’t know how to do that cool slash-O thing), a detective. The novel begins with a message in a bottle washing up in Scotland, but it finds its way to Morck’s desk. Soon enough they realise that it could be the key to a series of grisly killings, and all the victims are children.

These crime series are interesting things for people who  don’t keep up with them. I picked this up randomly at a library so i don’t know what happened in the previous two books, although there are hints given in this one. Although they didn’t really mean much to me since I don’t have any long-term attachment to the characters involved. I’ve kinda worked out that jumping in  on these books doesn’t appeal to me, and I think I’d almost prefer it if the books were intricately connected because whenever I read ones like these it feels like the author has to hold back for the people (like me) who just jump in.

And it means that I don’t get to involve myself fully with the main characters, also because the author has to spend a lot of time developing the antagonist, and since the protagonist gets a lot of pagetime in the whole series of books, when each book is taken by itself they can seem like almost a supporting character.

So in Redemption Adler-Olsen manages to create a chilling character in the form of the serial killer. From the motivations that formed his unhinged view of the world to the way in which he was willing to sacrifice those closest to him (though his heart was so cold that barely anyone was really close to him), Adler-Olsen peeled back the layers of his psyche, slowly revealing the dark soul within with expert precision.

There were moments in the book that rested on a knife-edge of tension and there was plenty in the book to keep me reading, meaning that I worked my way through this near-700 page novel in just a few days. But for all that good work it was let down by a couple of things. I’ve already mentioned my problems with using the Carl Morck character, but from a storytelling standpoint the action climax was generic and nothing that I hadn’t read or seen before in a million other thrillers.

The stand-out here is definitely the development of the killer, but I could take or leave the rest of it. Then again, as the cover states, over ten million copies of this book have been sold so Adler-Olsen must be doing something right.

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