cover image The Scarred Woman: A Department Q Novel

The Scarred Woman: A Department Q Novel

Jussi Adler-Olsen, trans. from the Danish by William Frost. Dutton, $28 (496p) ISBN 978-0-525-95495-8

Scandinavian crime fiction fans will find bestseller Adler-Olsen’s seventh Department Q novel (after 2015’s The Hanging Girl) satisfyingly dark, both in tone and content. Carl Mørck, the cantankerous head of Department Q (Copenhagen’s cold-case division), seeks a connection between the murder of an elderly woman and a similar crime more than a decade earlier. With looming budget cuts threatening the very existence of Department Q and a crime documentary program’s production crew dogging his every move, Mørck must also deal with the mental unraveling of his assistant, Rose Knudsen, whose nightmarish past comes to light after she inexplicably vanishes. When Mørck and his team discover that a series of brutal hit-and-run murders targeting young women are connected with not only the cold case but Rose’s disappearance, they must locate her before it’s too late. The parallel story lines make this an undeniable page-turner, but the portrayal of female characters as morally bankrupt and/or irreparably damaged may strike some readers as chauvinistic. (Sept.)