For some unexplained reason I had a really bad case of apathy toward reading this book. For about a week I shuttled it back & forth with me to work & barely got past the first chapter. Unfortunately, that apathy lead to me missing a really important part of this book & I ended up pretty confused once I got into it, until I figured out where I had gone wrong. I think that while Mercy does begin slowly, it has to, to give you some pretty vital information about the characters, to enable the story to move faster the further you get into it.
Once I got through the beginning (& it was by no means a badly written beginning, I think I was just in the wrong frame of mind to be reading it) this book flew & I absolutely loved it!
Mercy is set in Copenhagen & introduces us to Carl Morck, a badly damaged police officer. Morck, while damaged, isn’t a caricature of a “Typical damaged police officer”, he’s a very well written, intelligent, broken man who happens to be a brilliant police officer. Morck has been hand picked by his bosses to run the newly formed Department Q – the Danish Cold Case Squad. He’s given about a dozen hand-picked cases, a questionable assistant & let go to run the department. He knows that this is just politics & his boss’s way of getting Morck out of his hair.
The case Morck picks to investigate first is that of Merette Lynggaard, who vanished 5 years earlier & is presumed dead. Morck halfheartedly begins searching for clues to Merette’s disappearance, while wondering whether he should be bothering.
Mercy is a scary story, I have to say, and an excellent who-done-it! I did figure out the plot very very early on, but I think that only made it better. I think in my case it also made the story all the more intense. I knew who did it (without having to read the back of the book) & spent the rest of the story enjoying Adler-Olsen’s fantastic writing & trying to figure out what the next twist in the story would be, anticipating how he would get me to the point where the perpetrator would be revealed.
I don’t often like stories that are told from multiple points of view, but Mercy was & it couldn’t have been done better! Adler-Olsen managed to make Merette’s chapters both heart-wrenching & riveting, making you wish you weren’t about to leave her when you got to the end of her chapters & Morck’s are filled with angst, laced with humour & a very peculiar Syrian assistant named Assad. I also loved the way that Adler-Olsen wove the two stories together – Merette’s beginning in the past, slowing working its way to the present where it collides with Morck & Assad.
Mercy is apparently Adler-Olsen’s first foray into mystery novels & all I can say is “Wow! What a debut!”