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