Today is my first stop on the ‘Finnish Invasion’ blog tour to promote the work of Finnish writers. My first review is of Kati Hiekkapelto’s tense thriller The Exiled, translated by David Hackston.
‘You can be sure I won’t forget about it, thought Anna. If only you knew how suspicious things looked right now. But perhaps you know only too well.’
The Exiled is the first of Kati Hiekkapelto’s novels I have read and it is actually the third in the series featuring policewoman Anna Fekete. However, this didn’t impact my enjoyment of the book and it can be read as a stand-alone story. In this novel, Anna returns to the village of her birth to enjoy a relaxing summer holiday. Unfortunately for Anna, her plans for relaxation are soon scuppered when her handbag is stolen from her at a local fair. And to complicate matters even further, the thief responsible is found dead by a riverbank. To the local police, the death does not seem suspicious, but Anna’s policing instincts result in her being pulled into the case, and her investigation raises more questions than she has answers. How did the thief die? And what are people trying to hide? Alongside Anna, I was immediately intrigued about the circumstances surrounding the crime, and keen to find out who could be responsible…
‘Why won’t they open up? Is it because I’m not asking the right questions? Or am I just imagining this?’
As the story develops, more and more layers are uncovered relating to the theft and its consequences. And to make things more interesting, Anna discovers that there may be a connection to her own family, with her enquiries leading back to past memories, and to a potential injustice. Injustice is one of many issues raised within The Exiled, and it also deals with the attitude towards refugees and the way they are perceived within communities and within the wider media. This is something that is particularly pertinent given the growing refugee crisis that surrounds us today. And as Anna is caught up in the investigation and the surrounding social complexity, she begins to uncover the extent of the corruption and deceit that have preceded current events. I found the novel to be well written and translated and in it Hiekkapelto has created a tense, atmospheric thriller which kept me gripped until the final pages.
‘It probably has something to do with finding my roots. At some point we all want to know more about our family history, don’t we?’
I really enjoyed reading The Exiled and the intrigue surrounding a seemingly simple crime which unravels into a complex web of guilt and deceit. I am interested in reading the previous books in the Anna Fekete series to discover more about her character and the crimes that she is immersed in.
The Exiled was published in paperback on 10th October 2016 by Orenda Books. Many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for providing a copy for review.
This review was written as part of the ‘Finnish Invasion’ blog tour. You can follow the rest of the stops on the tour on the dates and blogs below.