Book Review: The Scarred Woman

THE SCARRED WOMAN | Jussi Adler-Olsen
09.19.2017 | Dutton Books
Rating: 4 stars

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THE SCARRED WOMAN is book seven in the Department Q series. This installment finds Department Q detective, Carl Morck, leading up one of his toughest cases yet. The department specializes in cold cases, but this time around it looks like this players in this case are still active and linked to additional, current murders in Copenhagen. In the midst of trying to solve multiple cases together without stepping on the toes of other police departments, Carl and his team must also dive into the troubled life of one of their own.

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Rose had been in this state of confusion for several days now, and suddenly it felt as if her body had become too small for everything it was carrying. As if all the thoughts swarming in her head that she couldn’t cope with, couldn’t even be contained in several heads.

The novel launches with the discovery of an elderly woman found in a local Copenhagen park that looks eerily similar to a cold case Department Q has in it’s backlog, but an outright connection is lacking. Simultaneously across town it appears that young women are being hunted by a hit-and-run killer. Department Q must work against an overwhelming amount of pressure being brought upon them to deliver results or see their department shut down. They’ll have to solve this mystery one member short, as Rose has suffered an extreme breakdown, which leaves her unable to assist the team. As the time ticks away to solve the cases in Copenhagen, Rose goes missing and it appears Carl, Assad, and Gordon will also need to save Rose from her past, which is shrouded in a terrible crime. Can Department Q put a killer behind bars and save a co-worker before it’s too late?

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If the police ever caught up with her, she would face her punishment with her head held high. She had nothing at home to hold her back and no one in society to stop her: her relationships were dull and superficial. On the other hand, in prison she would get what mattered most for the majority of people: security, regular meals, routines, and lots of time to read good books. Far away from wretched work and stress. And there might even be some people in prison that she would get on better with than those on the outside. Why not.

Jussi Adler-Olsen delivers a masterpiece of mystery and intrigue in THE SCARRED WOMAN. Despite entering in to the series in book seven, I only felt mildly confused about some character’s relationships while reading this novel. There are a large number of characters who at first seem unrelated to one another, but ultimately end up being more connected than anyone could have guessed. I felt the novel had a rocky start for me with the introduction of a few characters who I could not quite grasp their importance. Continuing through the novel it was easier to understand why the initial backstory was needed, but I think it might be better placed slightly later in the novel instead of being the opening content.

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Damn it, the girl was supposed to have noticed her executioner just before her mind went blank and her brain was splattered on the wall. They she would have acknowledged a lifetime of mistakes and misuse at the moment of death – that was supposed to be the beauty of it.

At the end of the novel I had fallen in love with Department Q. Carl, Assad, Gordon, and Rose each have such unique personalities and perspectives that I couldn’t help but want to know more about each of them. I was lucky enough to win a giveaway for the entire series, so I’ll definitely be diving into the first installment, THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES, sometime soon. If you’re looking for multiple unique storylines with characters you can connect to, THE SCARRED WOMAN should be your next read!

Thank you to Jussi Adler-Olsen and Dutton Books for providing me a free copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

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