I just read the first one in this series and really enjoyed it so I was happy to get this one so quickly. I love the character of Carl Morck. I liked seeing how his success on the first Dept. Q case has changed him, making him more confident and more passionate about his work.
I do think this second outing in the series was not as good as the first. My first issue was that the translation did not seem done as well. The dialog flowed better in the first book and I am assuming that this is a translation issue not a writing issue. The second “problem” was the limitation of Assad’s role in this book, he was not as prominent or as humorous as in the first one. I really enjoyed this character and the developing relationship with Carl in the first book. I will say that Assad came back strongly in the last 50 pages. Finally, the plot as a whole seemed more far fetched in this book. The over the top villain and all the animal hunting/cruelty was a little much.
The reader should be aware this is not really a whodunnit. From the beginning, it is just an effort to find proof to link the group to their crimes, rather than determining a culprit. I did not have an issue with the violent, destructive nature of the group, I actually find that very timely with stories in the news today of teens “wilding” and events that occur in the city I work in, so that part was believable for me. There was still plenty to like here and so even with the issues I had with The Absent One, I still will continue with this series.