The Scarred Woman by Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Scarred Woman

Jussi Adler-Olsen

Perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson,  The Scarred Woman reunites readers with the Department Q cold case division.  This time, they are investigating one of their own. 

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The New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Causes delivers his most captivating and suspenseful Department Q novel yet—perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson.
Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q, Copenhagen's cold cases division, meets his toughest challenge yet when the dark, troubled past of one of his own team members collides with a sinister unsolved murder.

In a Copenhagen park the body of an elderly woman is discovered. The case bears a striking resemblance to another unsolved homicide investigation from over a decade ago, but the connection between the two victims confounds the police. Across town a group of young women are being hunted. The attacks seem random, but could these brutal acts of violence be related? Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q is charged with solving the mystery.
Back at headquarters, Carl and his team are under pressure to deliver results: failure to meet his superiors’ expectations will mean the end of Department Q. Solving the case, however, is not their only concern. After an earlier breakdown, their colleague Rose is still struggling to deal with the reemergence of her past—a past in which a terrible crime may have been committed. It is up to Carl, Assad, and Gordon to uncover the dark and violent truth at the heart of Rose’s childhood before it is too late.

Advance Galley Reviews

There are quite a few plot lines moving through this book, all of them interesting and engaging in their own way. They will all wind their way towards one another, either explicitly or accidentally, in the book's finale. The author's sheer audacity, or genius, is his willingness to invest in characters both central and cursory, and allow them full range in their various subplots. It is not often initially clear if characters are positive or negative when they are first introduced. Readers are forced to suspend judgment or recalibrate opinions as they learn more about characters over time. The tale involves three lazy young women on welfare who refuse to look for work choosing instead illegal activities and their case worker who is fed up with their bad behavior and can't take it any more; the mother, grandmother and grandfather (of one of the lazy young women) with Nazi pasts and very bad attitudes towards 'others'; a beloved police team member who suffers a nervous breakdown and is a next door neighbor of the grandmother just mentioned. This is not a fast book, there is too much going on. But it is worth enjoying. I received my copy from Pengiun's First to Read Program.

I couldn't put this book down! I haven't read the previous installments of the Dept Q series, but I requested this since I am a HUGE fan of everything Nordic Noir. In anticipation, I watched the fantastic movies on Netflix based on adaptations of the1st 3 books, which helped me get up speed with characters & situations. Thank you for the advance copy!

I love this series. I cannot possibly express how much I love these books. This one hits you like a brick. The emotional turmoil caused not only by the cases being investigated but also by learning more about Rose, her background, and her mental state threw me for a loop. The book was incredibly well written and seemed more personal in a lot of ways than some of the others in the series. I cannot recommend this series highly enough.

I received a copy of this book for free in return for my honest review. What starts out as a routine investagation into a murder ends with multiple connections and startling revelations is this captivating murder mystery thriller. Delightfully entertaining, suspenseful and engaging.

This book is part of an on-going series starring Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q. In this novel, woman are murdered and what appears at the beginning to be disconnected cases are related by one of the characters. The plot involves murder, conniving, police procedural, and a team of likable police detectives. The book is told from the alternating point of views of its characters including Detective Carl, Assad, Rose and others. This was my first book by the author and you do not have to read the previous books in the series to be able to enjoy this one.  This book reminded me of non-fantasy thrillers by Stephen King, specially Mr. Mercedes. It's dark and can be described as an Scandinavian noir. The novel was a bit long and I felt that some sections could have been excluded. Overall I liked the book and recommend it to all those who enjoy thrillers.

Cold cases can be difficult to solve under the best of circumstances, but when the cases pile up and seem to connect to a member of the department investigating, the situation must be handled delicately, as in The Scarred Woman by Jussi Adler-Olsen. Department Q specializes in investigating stalled cases when the team on the second floor doesn't have any more leads and the trail seems to have gone cold. Leading the department, Detective Carl Mørck's latest case of a 2004 murder closely resembles the recent murder of an elderly woman in a park, creating tension between him and the teams upstairs as their investigations cross paths, playing a large role in determining Department Q's future. Meanwhile, young women dependent on benefits, and perhaps gaming the system, seem to be targeted by violent and fatal attacks, which has also been tasked to Carl to solve. But the stress doesn't stop there as one of his colleagues, Rose, is struggling with her mental health after a recent meltdown and Carl is determined to help her heal from her dark past.  While this book is part of a series with established characters, it stands alone fairly well, providing enough details to allow new readers to keep up fairly easily. With roving perspectives presented from all the key players in the interwoven story lines, much of the building suspense was deflated; the amount of coincidence present in the narrative was too extreme to maintain a level of realistic belief to the story, which made it far too predictable, and having insight into each of the characters made their actions and motivations too clear, preventing enough mystery from shrouding events, inadequately incorporating the mental instability presented for a few of the characters. Overall, I'd give it a 3 out of 5 stars.

I know this book is part of a series, but it is also a good stand alone story. This book was a major thrill ride that started from the first word. I liked how the author took a group of plot lines and tied them together to make a thrilling story. This is why Danish police procedural stories are now become very popular world wide.

This book is by a favorite author of Scandinavian crime, Jussi Adler-Olsen and is a great addition to the series. There is so much going on not only with several violent cases but with Rose, part of the investigative team, who is losing herself. An old case is connected to current events and the team are off and running. The main culprit is unbelievably focused on young women who are draining the resources of the country and decides to eliminate them. The young ladies are involved in their own crime spree. Mystery is unveiled and twists revealed amongst a malignant and cursed family. Rose is circling a whirlpool in the deep end, barely hanging onto reality. Eventually Rose is connected to the victim in her building and through diligence and good police work all the cases are solved in an exciting conclusion. Although the number of inquiries all at once was hard to keep up with and there is a predominate amount of mental instability involved. Well worth picking up for a good read.


More to Explore

  • The Keeper of Lost Causes
  • The Absent One
  • A Conspiracy of Faith
  • The Purity of Vengeance

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