Review of “The Marco Effect” by Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Marco Effect is the fifth in a crime series centered around “Department Q,” a Copenhagen police homicide division handling cold cases.


Carl Mørck is head of Department Q in name, but the cases actually get selected and moved along by Carl’s two assistants, the mysterious and very funny Assad, and Carl’s so-much-more than a secretary Rose. Interactions among the three of them are usually the highlight of the books, but this one excels in the crime portions as well.

Fifteen-year-old Marco Jameson lives with a cult/clan for which he is expected to fulfill a quota of pickpocketing every day. Marco wants a “normal” life; he wants to study, excel, and earn a legitimate wage. However, none of the kids have the freedom to leave, much less register any complaints. But when Marco discovers the body of a man presumably killed by his “family,” he knows it is time to escape – if he can.

Marco’s situation becomes an important thread of this surprising and clever story that begins in Africa and focuses on the very topical subject of the bank failures that rocked the economic world in 2008.

Discussion: We both read this book and had almost identical reactions.

First of all, we both loved it – it is a rip-roaring crime adventure – tense, full of narrow escapes, outstanding characters, and humorous interludes. In fact, of all of the Department Q books published so far, we both consider this to be Adler-Olsen’s best.

We also both agreed that while the author did not do so well in making this book a “standalone,” that didn’t matter to either of us; we are big fans of the Detective Carl Mørck series and have been reading them as soon as they are produced.

Finally, it should be noted that we both read this book during a trip overseas. I read it on the plane and hardly noticed the hours go by; Jim read it next, and by this time, we had reached Lucerne, Switzerland. But Jim wouldn’t even consider leaving the room to see the city until he finished the book and found out what happened. I’d say that’s a pretty good endorsement!

Evaluation: This thriller will not disappoint fans of the series!

Rating: 4.5/5

Published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Books USA, 2014


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10 Responses to Review of “The Marco Effect” by Jussi Adler-Olsen

  1. I’ve got #1 sitting in my TBR pile – for about a year now. I simply must get to it. Thanks for the push.

  2. Beth F says:

    I got distracted and never did get back to these books after the first one.

  3. harvee says:

    I stayed up late reading it but of course I couldn’t finish it before I became too sleepy to stay up longer. Its that kind of suspenseful book that ‘s hard to put down!

  4. Trisha says:

    I love it that you had to wait to vacation until the book was finished.

  5. BermudaOnion says:

    I’ve read one book in the series and need to read more!

  6. sandynawrot says:

    I have yet to start this series, but I have the first one on my Kindle, and I think the second and third on audio? Or something like that. Yeah, yeah, I’ll get to it at some point. That is why I buy one on Kindle…to FORCE myself not to forget!

  7. I hadn’t heard of this series before, sounds really good, I do love a bit of Scandi crime!

  8. Ruth2Day says:

    I’ve not heard of these books before, but will go and have a look for them after reading your great review

  9. diane says:

    So does you high rating mean it won’t work for me??? LOL Seriously, it sounds very good Jill.

  10. litandlife says:

    Goodness – I’d say a book that makes you not want to leave the hotel room after you’ve gone to the effort to get to Switzerland is definitely a great read!

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