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Mercy cover art

Mercy

By: Jussi Adler-Olsen
Narrated by: Steven Pacey
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Summary

The unabridged, digital audiobook edition of Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Mercy, Scandinavia’s new bestselling crime phenomenon.

Read by the actor Steven Pacey. At first the prisoner scratches at the walls until her fingers bleed. But there is no escaping the room. With no way of measuring time, her days, weeks, months go unrecorded. She vows not to go mad. She will not give her captors the satisfaction. She will die first. Copenhagen detective Carl has been taken off homicide to run a newly created department for unsolved crimes. His first case concerns Merete Lynggaard, who vanished five years ago. Everyone says she's dead. Everyone says it’s a waste of time. He thinks they’re right.

The voice in the dark is distorted, harsh and without mercy. It says the prisoner’s torture will only end when she answers one simple question. It is one she has asked herself a million times: WHY is this happening?

©2012 Jussi Adler-Olsen (P)2012 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Mercy

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Danish Noire superbly read by Steven Pacey

One of the best audibooks I've heard. Its a Danish detective novel with a political sub-plot - similar to the brilliant "The Killing" Danish TV series.



Read superbly by Steven Pacey - one of my favourite narrators. In fact I originally chose this book mainly due to his excellent narration of the marvelous Joe Abercrombie books which I've recently finished.



So glad I did. Just downloaded the sequel - for the continuing story of Dept Q..

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43 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Scandinavian crime

I was getting a little fed up of Scandinavian fiction - love Mankell but not sure about Nesbo- so it took me a while to get round to listening to this. I am so pleased I finally listened! It is a superb crime novel, as good as anything Henning Mankell has ever written. It moves along at a really good pace and keeps you guessing most of the way through. The police procedural aspect of it is one of the best I have read for a long time and I love the relationship between the detective Carl and his assistant - the enigmatic Assad. Steven Pacey is one of my favourite narrators - he narrates Susan Hill's Serailler series brilliantly- and he does not disappoint here. I also really liked the use of UK regional accents. I have now downloaded book 2 in the series and cannot wait for the release of the third book in July.

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33 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

excellent thriller

i approached this book with trepidation - was it to be just another scandinavian detective thriller? well, in a nutshell, that's exactly what it is, but it's also more than that.



the main character is semi-burned out, his new companion interesting, the plotting well constructed and the pace apt.



in addition, the narrator does a great job (i do like the application of uk dialects despite this being set in denmark). i'll be buying the next in the series.

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29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Phew! The tension just kept building.

Where does Mercy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This was definitely in the top five of everything I have listened to.

What other book might you compare Mercy to, and why?

This author, to me, is in the same league as Michael Robotham. He uses humour, excellent characters, intriguing, unusual plots and best of all, suspense.

Which character – as performed by Steven Pacey – was your favourite?

Assad was wonderful - such an eager to please, kind person. I have a feeling there are depths to Assad that we will find in future books.

Any additional comments?

Steven Pacey was the main reason I chose this book to read. He could read me the telephone book and I would find it interesting. Thank you again Steven.

I sincerely hope there are many more books by this author and fortunately I have one more queued up to read

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24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Turns out better than my first impression

Maybe I read/listen to too much detective fiction but I sighed at the beginning of this book as the formulaic clichés of the genre rolled out: maverick cop, separated from wife, insubordinate towards superiors and bolshie over smoking bans. Fortunately once that was out of the way an interesting story slowly emerges. It’s a kidnap and imprisonment case that’s a bit different: complicated but eventually gripping. It takes a while to get used to all the unfamiliar sounding Danish names and the surprise that the Danish cops are differentiated by the narrator by giving them British regional accents. But when one thinks about it, it’s logical: Denmark must be full of regional accents. Two murder cases come into the narrative that don’t add much to the book, particularly the one involving a cyclist killed in a park the solving of which is hastily described without much evidence being provided. The main story is carried by Carl a detective appointed to head a small department looking at old, unsolved cases. Small being the operative word as his only assistant is a Syrian political refugee, Assad, given asylum and ostensibly employed as a cleaner. However Assad is an enigma who displays surprising talents of observation and deduction and gradually becomes Carl’s side-kick. If this is the beginning of a series the cultural and language differences of the duo provide welcome light-relief.

Steven Pacey does a superb job of narration using a wide range of accents from Geordie to Glasgow and encompassing different ages and genders.

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19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Long...

5 Words: Brutal, slow, intense, horrific, blah.

I didn't enjoy this at all to start. I wasn't so keen on the narrator and I wasn't keen at all on Carl. But then we were introduced to Merete and I couldn't put it down.

But my, is it a long listen.

I didn't like Carl and the way he consistently objectified women and belittled them for not falling at his feet. It actually made me feel sick and is absolutely NOT what I want from a main protagonist.

The scenes with Merete were pretty brutal. I listened curled up, my hands in fists, my jaw clenched. They were disturbingly well written.

I liked Assad. He brought some well needed humour - and even a thread of mystery - to the story. Without him it would have been too heavy.

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15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Department A+

Reading descriptions of this series it would be easy to write it off as just another set of books following a tried and trusted path, but that would be a serious mistake. While it’s certainly true that Department Q has elements in its formula that are tried and tested mainstays of modern detective fiction Olsen develops a cast of characters each of whom has their own intrigues. He uses these characters to develop a richly detailed chemistry that offers moments of genuine humour as counterpoint to the grim and grisly plots.

There’s a lot not to admire about his detective Carl Morck. He is a bit lazy, he lacks authority and while he’s not a bad detective he often misses things and the author doesn’t fall into the trap of making him a detective genius. He gets put in charge of Department Q basically to keep him out of the way of disaffected colleagues and irritated superior officers. The mission of the “team” is to investigate cold cases but their budget is restricted leading to Carl having just two assistants: a “janitor” named Assad and a “secretary” called Rose. The relationships that develop between these characters and those in Carl’s personal life including his estranged wife, stepson and lodgers are brilliantly entertaining. Carl’s increasingly stressed attempts to wrest some semblance of control over them made me laugh throughout the series.

Of course all of this is nothing without juicy plots to get your teeth into and Olsen once again delivers. They are often chilling and grisly, there is swearing and they do involve some fairly twisted villains, make no mistake about any of that! On top of that these bad guys are also thoughtfully developed with insights into what made these evil people the way that they are. There are no cut and paste cardboard likenesses of villains here, these are carefully crafted custom models with fine detailing all round.

All that of course is simply crying out for a skilled narrator. Enter Steven Pacey. He voices all the characters such they are distinguishable from each other using regional English accents in place of Nordic ones. To my English ear this works perfectly but may not meet everyone’s tastes. He reads with a genuine empathy with the main characters. In fact you get the impression that these are more than just a job for him. The humour comes over well but equally the tension that grows within each of the books is effortlessly built to a thrilling climax.

There is no other series of audiobooks that has had kept me in such a state of heightened tension while somehow interspersing the whole affair with real laugh out loud moments. The books do tread close to the bounds of political correctness and I am sure that some might find it distasteful at times, in fact some reviews indicate this. I’d urge those people to re-think even this aspect of the series as it is always done in a self-deprecating way with the character stepping out of bounds looking weak or silly as a result.

And finally, should you read these in order? I’d say a definite “yes” because the characters develop their own stories continuously. So while they probably work well enough as stand-alone books the sum of the parts are definitely greater than the whole when taken in their correct turn.

Seriously . . . what are you waiting for?

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13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A cut above

Towards the end of this reading I almost had to stop my player because the tension was becoming unbearable. Indeed, I was gripped from start to finish. As others have commented, the burnt-out cop is nothing new, but the satirically comic irony of how he gets his second chance in the novel's plot, as well as this character's sense of humour play well. And yes, his assistant Assad is quite an original, really brought to life by Stephen Pacey who reads the whole book incredibly well. What I also found interesting is the book's examination of Denmark and its politics. As with much Scandinavian crime we are learning the all too familiar problems of these countries, which have in the past seemed to have got so much right in their democracies.
The book is very violent, but for me I did not find it gratuitous or to have the misogyny common to many thrillers. It is extremely well written, by an author who has a fascinating CV. And interestingly he has worked as a publishing editor. Unlike so many books nowadays, this novel really does not need any more editing. Superb.

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11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping and fast paced

What did you like most about Mercy?

The mixture of characters were interesting and great story line. Would like to see more from this author

What did you like best about this story?

I listen to audio books on the long drive to work so have listened to a large number of books, but this book kept me enthralled and I couldn't stop listening until the end! Fast paced and nail biting!

Any additional comments?

Would highly recommend.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Mercy?

Any additional comments?

This was a great book, ensuring that I will listen to more.

I found the beginning and Carl aggravating. It took three attempts to get me into it, after I was, there was no leaving it. Enjoy!

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6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Janice Dunlop
  • 27-09-15

Stereotypes Spoilt It

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

This book was spoiled for me by the author's frequent use of denigrating stereotypes to describe women - witch, cow, harpy, bitch etc. He didn't demean men in the same way.

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4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 16-03-15

Premise for cruel, tortuous revenge absurd.

Believability and credibility crucial for me to really enjoy a book like this. My first time with this author and I probably won't go back. All the Danish towns and landmarks mentioned only added to my disinterest. I thought the narrator did a good job and I was particularly drawn to the Syrian cohort and police enthusiast Assad. After a steady diet of Clancy, Flynn etc where every Arabic character is a bitter,fundamentalist thug who spits on the rest of the world and the 'infidels' in it, a more sympathetic Arab character was a most refreshing change. Loved Assad. The story though was daft. The authors attempt to find a reason for the horrendous torture he wanted to describe was just lame and hard to accept. Don't waste your credit.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • G Matt
  • 03-06-14

Fantastic Crime Thriller From Denmark

One of the best crime novels I have ever experienced. This can be favorably compared to the best of Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, John Sanford and Henning Mankell. A powerful, emotional ending that will remain with me.

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3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Marcus
  • 09-06-14

Totally weird and awfully gruesome

This may stretch your imagination. It certainly stretched credibility - to breaking point.
The book is at least twice as long as it ought to be.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • leon
  • 07-09-12

Fantastic

If you could sum up Mercy in three words, what would they be?

Great Tension Fine written characters

What about Steven Pacey’s performance did you like?

The tone of voice

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

double faces

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sheena
  • 28-04-21

Dark Crime thriller- brilliant!

The author certainly seemed to get deep into the mind of a psychopath! a disturbing but brilliant book. This one will be remembered for a long time!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul V Rodais
  • 14-08-20

Great Audible listen

Loved the humour, the characterisations are so lively & brilliant and the plot twists and turns make it un-put-down-able! Looking forward with glee, to the next in this series.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brenda
  • 23-08-19

Tremendous drama.

I could not stop listening. Was absolutely enthralled the entire time. So well narrated. Can't wait to read another.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrha
  • 15-05-19

Funny, thrilling

Great race against time, perfect story, funny detective’s assistant , I have enjoyed the book so much!

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • margaret king
  • 10-12-18

Excruciating for all the wrong reasons

Gripping story-telling (The Guardian) and a pitch-black novel (The Independent). That's what a couple of newspaper reviews said about Mercy. The reason I looked was that this is the second Audible book in a row that I have found intolerably bad, so I was wondering whether others had the same reaction or whether I'm just have a bad month/year/life.
It seems as if I am in the minority -- perhaps a minority of one -- because I just don't get the appreciation.
Mercy is excruciating: dull characters, banal dialogue and failure to launch from a promising premise.
Am I the only listener who found the comedic portrayal of Assad racist, both in the writing and the recording?
I managed to listen to about three hours out of the full 13 and a half, so perhaps it fell together into a fascinating and complex storyline by the end, but I doubt it: weak writing is a pre-existing condition with no miracle cure.

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