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The Marco Effect: A Department Q Novel    by Jussi Adler-Olsen order for
Marco Effect
by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I always enjoy spending time with Department Q's stubborn and unpopular Detective Carl Mørck in Copenhagen, and The Marco Effect is one of the best episodes in this superlative, quirky series.

Carl Mørck is in charge of Department Q, which investigates the coldest cases. He and his assistants - the rather mysterious immigrant Assad and thorny secretary Rose - work out of a basement office. Carl still struggles with guilt and depression after a shooting that left one friend dead and the other (Hardy) a paraplegic whom Carl has taken into his own home. Carl is in a relationship with psychologist Mona Ibsen.

Though there are significant improvements on the home front for Carl this time around, he makes no progress with Mona, despite being on the brink of popping the question. Instead he's dragged (reluctantly as always) into an investigation by Assad, Rose, and another helper, young Gordon Taylor, foisted on him by his new boss, Lars Bjorn (not one of Carl's fans).

The story centers on corruption in high (banking and government) places. To protect it, there have already been murders and more are in the works. Zola, a gypsy Fagin, rules his family with an iron hand, sending clan children out daily to beg and pick pockets and viciously punishing any who don't earn enough. But though his nephew, intelligent fifteen-year-old Marco Jameson, is a good earner, he yearns for a very different life.

Marco ends up on the run from Zola and his henchmen, as well as bloodhounds specially flown in from Africa, while Carl gradually learn of his existence and that he is the key to solving a cold case of murder - and much more. As action flows from Africa to Denmark and South America, readers hope for a good outcome for Marco. He's a canny young survivor but the odds are stacked high against him. Luckily for him, Carl does not always follow the letter of the law.

This is an unusual and superlative series and The Marco Effect is my favorite episode to date, absolutely not to be missed.

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