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Review: The Absent One

May 24, 2013

The Absent One

Carl Merck is a detective in Copenhagen’s cold case division who re-opens the investigation into twenty year old murder of a wealthy brother and sister.  The case seems pretty cut and dried since there was a confession and conviction but Merck quickly realizes things aren’t as easy as that.  As he investigates, he discovers a homeless woman who just might have the answers he’s looking for.

I’ve been anxious to read a Scandinavian crime thriller so was excited to start The Absent One by Jussi Adler-Olsen.  I didn’t realize it’s the second book in the Department Q series until I finished it, but not reading the first didn’t present me with any problems – I had no problem catching up with Department Q or its characters.

The Absent One started out with a bang for me and drew me in right away.  Partway through the book, though, I was somewhat lost and confused, and, at one point, contemplated setting it aside.  I’m glad I stuck with it, though, because things came together in the end.  I’m not sure if my confusion was from the book itself or from the narration.  Steven Pacey does a pretty good job, but I found my mind wandering at times and would have to remind myself to pay attention.  If I had to do it again, I think I would try this book in print even though it was nice to hear the Danish words pronounced correctly as I listened.

Overall, I’d say I liked The Absent One but didn’t love it.  I liked it enough that I will try another book in the series, if that says anything.  The audio version of this book is on 12 CDs and lasts approximately 14 hours.

Review copy provided by Penguin Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
27 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2013 6:03 am

    Funny you bring this one up today. Rhapsody Jill mentioned that it was a good series, and I thought I had two of them on audio. But I guess I must have given this one to somebody because I don’t have it! Ack! I do have the latest one though. Since you weren’t thrilled with the audio, I feel better in starting the series with print…

  2. May 24, 2013 7:12 am

    i think I have both as eGalleys. Thanks for you take on them.

  3. May 24, 2013 8:54 am

    I just finished this one and am now reading the next one. I don’t know if I could follow crime novels on tape though!

  4. May 24, 2013 9:12 am

    Like you, I think reading another one is the key. He’s coming to Northern California for one appearance, and I’m going to try and see him. I heard a lot of positive comments about his first book in the series.

  5. May 24, 2013 9:29 am

    I love! this series! I have the third book direct from the UK in my pile for June’s reading. Can’t wait!!

  6. May 24, 2013 10:03 am

    Your review has piqued my interest in this series that I’d never heard of until now. Usually, I like listening to crime novels on audio but the one I reviewed today (The Expats) just didn’t do it for me, which was a surprise. If you do continue with the series, I hope you enjoy it more.

    • May 24, 2013 10:06 am

      Lisa, did you not like The Expats or did you not like it on audio? I thought it was pretty good. I gave it a 3 out of 4. It wasn’t your typical CIA novel, but I enjoyed the twists.

  7. May 24, 2013 11:52 am

    Ooh, I have a friend who is addicted to Scandinavian crime fic — will have to see if she’s read this or the first one yet!

  8. May 24, 2013 1:36 pm

    It would be nice hearing the words spoken correctly, but looks like the book would be safer!

  9. talesofwhimsy permalink
    May 24, 2013 2:16 pm

    Thanks for your honesty. The cover is great.

  10. bookingmama permalink
    May 24, 2013 2:19 pm

    I have this one in print and I’ve been meaning to get to it.

  11. May 24, 2013 3:59 pm

    Kathy, thanks for sharing your honest thoughts. I’ve said it before, but I’m impressed with the number of audio books you listen to! Many of them are long, and it’s pretty remarkable that you listen to them (you must be better than me at multi-tasking).

  12. May 24, 2013 4:42 pm

    Not for me, but if for me, then I’d read it in Danish 🙂

  13. Patty permalink
    May 24, 2013 6:43 pm

    Twelve CDs sounds daunting!

  14. May 24, 2013 8:06 pm

    This sounds like an interesting series but I’m going to go print! 🙂

  15. May 24, 2013 8:23 pm

    I like to get the audio even if I have the book in print to hear the words pronounced correctly. I’ve got to get to this one!

  16. May 24, 2013 9:42 pm

    Actually, that is my limitus test for a series: would I read another? Sounds like it might be worth a shot here.

  17. May 25, 2013 12:15 am

    I have the first one in French translation and I had sort of forgotten about it, but your review definitely makes me want to pick it up sooner rather than later! This cover is very different from the French one, but I really like it.

  18. May 25, 2013 1:37 am

    There are so many mystery/thriller books coming out of the that section of Europe, and I have yet to read one of them. One of these days I will, but then I keep saying that about so many different books.

  19. May 25, 2013 6:31 am

    Thanks for the heads-up on the audiobook. I’ve really liked all the Scandinavian crime books I’ve read.

  20. May 25, 2013 8:28 am

    I think this is a terrific series and can’t wait for #3!

  21. May 25, 2013 7:08 pm

    I purchased a hard copy of this one as my friend translated it into the English. I’m looking forward to making time to read this one.

  22. May 25, 2013 9:59 pm

    I have the first one and keep saying I want to get to it. I have heard great things about the series as a whole.

  23. May 26, 2013 11:43 am

    My husband’s favorite genre is crime thrillers. He mostly reads American authors, but recently was introduced to a Chinese author in the genre. This one from Scandinavia also could have potential. Thanks for reviewing it.

  24. May 28, 2013 7:06 pm

    Glad to hear this one works as a standalone. I’ll have to give it a listen sometime.

  25. May 30, 2013 10:05 pm

    I’m not sure if this one is going to be for me. I love a good series but I think I’m trying to steer away from the mystery/thriller genre in books for a while (with a few exceptions). I love crime/mystery/thrillers on tv and in movies, but I have discovered I don’t necessarily love them in written form. Not sure why.

  26. June 9, 2013 6:16 pm

    I think I will just read your review and count it as good. I don’t think I want to read another series yet as I have too many going right now!

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