The Marco Effect

marcoThe Marco Effect
by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Denmark)
2014/ (496 pages)
read by Graeme Malcolm 15h 25m
rating A / detective
(5th in the Dept. Q series)

Carl Mørck, a love-lorn middle-aged detective is in charge of the closed case section of the Copenhagen police department,  Dept. Q.    In this 5th book of the series, Carl and his assistants tackle a case in which a young gypsy boy named Marco Jameson holds the key to an old murder but Marco is very careful not to be found – not by the police and not by the gypsy “family” he has escaped from – finally lots of people are after Marco.

Mørck’s assistants are the same quirky characters which have followed him through the series.   Ammad is a brilliant detective but a rather strange man who says he’s from Syria and tells camel jokes and Rosa a smart and attractive but possibly schizophrenic young woman.   Between the three of them a lot of humor is woven into otherwise pretty grim novels.

This book starts slow,  in Cameroon, Africa,  where some diplomats and businessmen are involved in skimming money from a humanitarian fund – this turns to murder more than one time and too many people know.

Back in Denmark there is a group of “gypsies” who are illegal immigrants involved in all sorts of illegal activities,  picking pockets and various other scams.  It seems they’re also in charge of burying a body.  This is when Marco escapes.

So the story follows three threads – the businessmen as they try to scam each other without getting scammed or murdered (or turned in),  Marco as he hustles for bucks on his own and tries to read and learn at the library while evading the gangs,  and finally of course there’s Mørck and his little crew.

The story is wonderfully well told, Adler-Olsen very popular for a reason.  The tale unfolds quickly keeping the tension and suspense growing with an occasional release via humor (I laughed out loud more than once.)  Even with all that, when it gets going there’s a nice amount of character development in general but especially with Marco.

This is another winner from Adler Olsen.  I have one to go and I’ll be all caught up.

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