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Wednesday 22 April 2020

‘Victim 2117’ by Jussi Adler Olsen

Published by Quercus,
5 March 2020. 
ISBN: 978-1-78648-617-2 (HB)

The author needs no introduction as he is Denmark’s Number 1 crime writer and his books routinely rank high in worldwide bestseller lists.  This book, ably translated into the English language by William Frost, is again a Department Q  (cold cases division) thriller and centres on the nail-biting backstory of the Department’s own Assad.

The reference to 2117 relates to a refugee fleeing war whose lifeless body is washed up ashore in the Mediterranean. This is the start of a horrifying chain of events   Barcelona based impecunious freelance journalist Joan Aiguader has reached rock bottom and is contemplating ending it all when, watching Breaking News images on a café TV, his reporting instincts kick in and he hotfoots it to Ayia Napa beach in Cyprus in order to capture a huge, exclusive scoop and revive his past glories.   

The familiar cast of characters of Department Q is present; there’s an interesting development in the relationship between Mona and Carl, but that’s not all.  The plot is about vengeful terrorist acts, many years in the making, stitched skillfully into Assad’s sad history and the close family he was once a part of and running in parallel is an ingenious sub-plot concerning an online gamer, a Danish teenage psychopath, relentlessly playing out his savage and homicidal high-stakes intentions.  

The author is a true pro, and   keeps the reader on tenterhooks wondering if the Department will be able to pull off this most challenging of tasks as the clock inexorably ticks down and edges the team even closer to its cunning and dangerous adversaries.   

Thoroughly hard-hitting and dark, nevertheless this is a gripping read that cracks along in the author’s typically powerful and masterly fashion.  The suspense and tension never falter and all the ends are neatly and satisfyingly wrapped up.  Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Serena Fairfax
Jussie Adler-Olsen was born Carl Valdemar Jussi Henry Adler-Olsen on 2 August 1950 in Copenhagen, Denmark.  He is a Danish author, publisher, editor and entrepreneur. Jussi Adler-Olsen's career is characterised by his great involvement in a wide range of media related activities.
Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and practised in London for many years. She began writing by contributing feature articles to legal periodicals   then turned her hand to fiction. Having published nine novels all, bar one, hardwired with a romantic theme, she has also written short stories and accounts of her explorations off the beaten track that feature on her blog. A tenth, distinctly unromantic, novel is a work in progress. Thrillers, crime and mystery narratives, collecting old masks and singing are a few of her favourite things.

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