All of your standard Scandinavian police procedural pieces are there when it comes to Jussi Adler-Olsen’s The Purity of Vengeance: A Department Q Novel. A solid 3.5 out of 5 stars (I really need to pick a rating system and stick with it in 2014), there was not necessarily anything bad about this book. In fact, I think if anything I’m probably jaded from having read too much Scandinavian detective fiction… Sadly, it just didn’t bowl me over.
This was the first time I’ve picked up one of Adler-Olsen’s novels, and from the reviews of others I had high expectations. They were met to a certain extent: likeable, quirky lead characters, easy to pick up, interesting plot, etc. However, where the novel fell flat for me was the predictable storyline and pacing. The Purity of Vengeance stays a little too well inside the lines to motivate me to want to read the rest of the series; if I had to pick one Nordic prickly, alcoholic police detective, I’m still going to go with Harry Hole.
Again, I’ve read a lot of mystery novels, so maybe the plot twists were more obvious from my POV, but was disappointed that around the 30% mark I knew how it was going to go down. That said, for those that enjoy the ride vs. the twists and turns, definitely give this one a chance. While it’s the fourth in a series, I haven’t read the previous novels and found it easy enough to pick up and run with.
On shelves recently, you’ll find it in the new release section of your local bookstore or via Amazon.
xo The Book Bird