Finally, the backstory for one of our favorite characters, Assad! Since he found the basement over ten years ago, we have little information about his life before Department Q. And although he’s confounded Carl in the past with his esoteric knowledge of the Middle East and shadowy references to military skills, we never get a clear view of who he is and where he comes from. I mean, he’s an awesome character with his malapropisms and endless parables involving camels, but we’ve all been waiting for this book. And 7 books in, we get it.
It all starts when a down-and-out Spanish journalist picks up a story about immigrants who are dying on their way across the Mediterranean Sea. Joan focuses his narrative on Victim #2117 of the year… At the beginning, the cause of death seems to be drowning, but further inquiry reveals murder. His story is picked up by outlets all over Europe and Assad sees the picture that accompanies the article. It is a woman who he knows, a woman who was like a mother to him. And standing next to her is his wife and one of his daughters…
From the North, Carl and Assad begin to track the killer, a terrorist known intimately to our sidekick. And from the South, Joan finds himself manipulated by the killer. He needs the scoop and the terrorist provides…
Mona, Rose, and all the other regulars are back in Copenhagen dealing with their own crap… which includes a huge surprise for Carl and Mona. And a copycat crime of sorts for Rose, a young man has repeatedly called the station stating that when he gets to 2117 ‘kills’ he will decapitate his mother and father. What the heck!?!?!?
Overall, a capable book in the series. The huge positives included, obviously, Assad’s backstory which is told in an interesting way. He breaks down and tells the rest of the crew the story, but when it gets to the action Adler-Olsen shifts the POV and the reader experiences the accounts directly. Also of note is the furthering of each of the other characters’ stories. From the first details of Carl’s placement on Department Q and the solidifying of the rest of the crew, this has been a series that has been awesome. I have raved about it to all my reading friends.
Now for the downsides of the book. I felt myself having to suspend my disbelief a lot more in this book than any of the others in the series. Maybe because it was a plot that ranged all over Europe and the Middle East or just because there were so many twists and turns.
Another wild ride from the Department Q gang. One that pushed Assad to the edge over and over again.
4 out of 5 stars
Thank you to Dutton Books and the author for an advanced copy for review.