Pick of the Week: The Purity of Vengeance by Jussi Adler-Olsen

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b2ap3_thumbnail_jussiadlerolsen.jpgJussi Adler-Olsen digs into a sordid chapter of Denmark’s past in his latest mystery, The Purity of Vengeance: A Department Q Novel (book 4 in the series).

The author tackles the nasty subject of selective reproduction by looking into the history of Sprogo, a Danish island which was used from 1923 to 1959 to imprison women considered promiscuous to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Many of the women were forced to be sterilized before they were released back into society. Adler-Olsen adds a fictitious villain by the name of Curt Wad, a charming but evil physician whose mission is to ensure the purity of the Danish population. At the center of the plot is Nete Hermansen, who plans revenge against Curt Wad and the others who ruined her life.

Adler-Olsen’s lovable but grouchy protagonist, Carl Mørck, tries to keep his personal life from b2ap3_thumbnail_purityofvengeance_20140408-162400_1.jpgderailing while he unravels the latest cold cases involving several people who went missing in the late 1980s. Adler-Olsen also reveals a little more about Mørck’s unusual assistants, Assad and Rose, who are fascinating characters and add a sense of humor to the dark storyline. It also is painful to see Assad’s encounter with Curt Wad, who despises that the dark-skinned Syrian-born man is living and working in Denmark.

Adler-Olsen gives his fans another chilling thriller that keeps the plot moving along right to the end. I can’t wait for his fifth book, The Marco Effect, which will be published in the United States in September.  If you haven’t read his books, I recommend starting with the first one, The Keeper of Lost Causes. Adler-Olsen’s books will appeal to fans of Scandinavian crime writers, such as Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.

Jo Hansen, jhansen@cooklib.org



Jo Hansen has been a Readers’ Advisor at Cook Library for several years, after a 20-year career as a newspaper journalist. Libraries rock! She especially enjoys literary and historical fiction as well as mysteries and fantasy. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, she enjoys playing with her chocolate Labrador Yogi Bear and watching great movies.