Review of “The Scarred Woman” by Jussi Adler-Olsen

This seventh installment of the adventures of Department Q, the cold case division in Copenhagen’s police homicide department, is somewhat of a zany, noirish crime novel featuring a bunch of very bad women trying to kill one another. Their actions also seemed tied to an old, cold case, pitting Department Q and its investigation against the current crimes department.

There is not so much emphasis in this book on Carl Mørck, the head (in name, at least) of Department Q, nor of his assistant Assad, but much more focus on the psychological tribulations of his so-much-more-than-a secretary Rose. Interactions among the three of them, who have worked together now for seven years, are usually the highlight of the books, but in this story, we don’t get much of them together.

Instead, we learn a great deal about Rose’s background, which turns out to have been pretty horrific. In addition, Rose accidentally gets caught up in the murder round-robin of the four “bad” protagonists. It is questionable whether she can come out of it alive.

Discussion: I am a big fan of the Detective Carl Mørck series but this one is not my favorite. It is a bit too Coen-Brothers-ish for me. On the other hand, that aspect is exactly what Jim, who also read this, found to be most appealing about the book. The lead-up to the dénouement had a good amount of tension and excitement, but this positive was offset for me by some plot elements that seemed quite unrealistic. (Or at least, I hope so.)

Evaluation: I didn’t think this thriller had the quality of some of the earlier books, but I still like the characters enough to have enjoyed “visiting” with them again, and to look forward to seeing how the developments in this story “continue” down the road.

Rating: 3.5/5

Published in the U.S. by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random House, 2017

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2 Responses to Review of “The Scarred Woman” by Jussi Adler-Olsen

  1. I listened to one book in this series and thought it was okay. I would like to try another one in print, though, because I think it might have been the narrator.

  2. Beth F says:

    I read the first one and liked it, but never got around to the other. I own them, though.

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