About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

The Marco Effect by Jussi Adler-Olsen

(19. - 1158.) The Marco Effect by Jussi Adler-Olsen - Greedy evil men are manipulating and stealing funds intended by the Danish government to go to the Baka (pygmy) people of Cameroon, Africa. They will murder to protect their despicable venture.

Back in Denmark another greedy evil man, Zola, has taken total control of a group of Roma. They are more cult than clan under his total domination. Street thievery and begging are their primary sources of income. Children are on the streets rather than in school. Adult members of the group are available for hire as thugs or worse. 

Marco, a bright 15 year old, is dissatisfied with life under Zola. When he hears that he is to be maimed to enhance his ability to beg he flees. The clan pursues.

Carl Mørck is unhappy as usual. When he hears his boss is retiring he fears for the future of Department Q.

Assad is still recovering from the brutal beating he took in The Purity of Vengeance.

Marco decides he will turn away from crime to make his way in the world. I was fascinated by how he survived on the streets of Copenhagen without resorting to crime. Willing to all kinds of menial labour and constantly suffling between shops he earns a basic living. Even though it is winter he sleeps upon the streets.

I was reminded of Kim by Rudyard Kipling though the streets of modern Denmark are more dangerous than Kim’s India over 100 years ago. 

Constantly wary of being found by the clan Marco, when he is not working, spends many hours in a place the clan would never go - the library.

Provided a home by a gay couple, Marco schemes to get the identity papers that will enable him to live as an ordinary Dane and pursue an education. It is a disaster when the clan finds out where he is staying.

William Stark has been missing for four years. The conscientious civil servant had disappeared after returning from Cameroon. Department Q’s curiosity is piqued when they learn he had returned to Denmark after only a few hours in Cameroon.

Because it is less than 5 years since his disappearance he has not been declared legally dead. His home, beyond basic housekeeping, is as he left it. His partner and step-daughter moved out as they did not feel safe there.

Adler-Olsen skilfully brings together the two plot lines.

Marco is a skilled burglar. His experience has made him a patient and systematic searcher. When he goes through the house, the third time it is searched, he sees information other searchers have not taken the time to consider. 

The remainder of the book is essentially a chase. Marco is being hunted by good guys and bad guys.

Some suspension of disbelief is necessary but Adler-Olsen shows talen at writing a gripping chase. While Hollywood drama is far from my favourite story approach Adler-Olsen had me racing through the book.

With each book in the series another layer of Assad’s life is revealed. His Middle Eastern connections with the new police boss before Assad came to Denmark are startling.

The challenges of Mørck’s personal life are interwoven into the story but not emphasized in this book. 

Marco is a striking character. How he changes his life is remarkable. I would love for him to re-appear in the series.

The Marco Effect is a strong thriller and an above average mystery.



  1. I agree with you, Bill, about Adler-Olsen's ability to keep a suspenseful story going. And I do like the Department Q dynamics. It's very hard to live on the streets, especially, I'd imagine, in a place like Denmark, where the weather can be dangerously cold. I'm not much for a Hollywood sort of story, either, but it sounds like there's some solid plotting and some interesting characters in this one. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Adler-Olsen is a good storyteller. Living on the streets is hard and dangerous.