cover image A Conspiracy of Faith

A Conspiracy of Faith

Jussi Adler-Olsen, trans. from the Danish by Martin Aitkin. Dutton, $26.95 (480p) ISBN 978-0-525-95400-2

A cold 14-year-old murder-arson case preoccupies crotchety Copenhagen Deputy Det. Supt. Carl Mørck in bestseller Adler-Olsen’s third Department Q thriller (after 2012’s The Absent One), a shattering parable of honest individuals caught up in the corruption of our times. Mørck must also contend with such problems as an office torn asunder by idiotic governmental asbestos mitigation; the replacement of his assistant Rose by even quirkier Yrsa; his enigmatic Arabic deputy, Assad, gone bonkers; his wayward wife, Vigga, threatening to return; and his paralyzed partner, Hardy, in residence in his living room. To complicate matters further, a mysterious SOS in a bottle puts Mørck on the trail of one of the most cannily conceived serial child-killers imaginable. Mørck faces these heart-wrenchers, small and large, by perceiving them as essentially analogues to everything that Denmark’s welfare state has turned rotten—problems that are all immaterial, Mørck insists, as long as he’s doing his job. (May)