Today I am featuring The Exiled.
Anna Fekete returns to the Balkan village of her birth for a relaxing summer holiday. But when her purse is stolen and the thief is found dead on the banks of the river, Anna is pulled into a murder case. Her investigation leads straight to her own family, to closely guarded secrets concealing a horrendous travesty of justice that threatens them all. As layer after layer of corruption, deceit and guilt are revealed, Anna is caught up in the refugee crisis spreading like wildfire across Europe. How long will it take before everything explodes? Chilling, taut and relevant, The Exiled is an electrifying, unputdownable thriller from one of Finland's most celebrated crime writers.
The aspect of the book that strikes you immediately is how contemporary and relevant it seems. It couldn't be set in any other time than now, with people's fears and attitudes towards refugees and people from other countries laid bare. Bubbling under the surface are corruption and deception. You travel along with Anna Fekete, trying to figure out exactly what has happened and who can be trusted. I found Anna to be a very interesting main character. She seemed to be rootless, an outsider both in the Balkan village she was born in and also in Finland where she has settled. She knows what it is to not quite fit in or be accepted.
Kati Hiekkapelto creates some fascinating but flawed charcters, none more so than Anna herself. This is the third novel which she has written featuring the Finnish police woman but it can easily be read as a standalone story. Anna has a dogged determination to follow her instincts and uncover the truth. We see that she has insecurities but also faith in herself. The story itself is complex but written at a relentless pace as layer upon layer is uncovered.
I found The Exiled to be an engrossing read. Alienated people and a disconnected past add to its depth. It drew me in and kept me guessing. Kati's smooth writing style carries you with her as the tension mounts. The descriptions of the Serbian village flow from the narrative. As a contemporary crime novel, it is a class act.
In short: a gripping crime novel with insight and a social conscience.
Kati Hiekkapelto was born in 1970 in Oulu, Finland. She wrote her first stories at the age of two and recorded them on cassette tapes. Kati has studied Fine Arts in Liminka Art School and Special Education at the University of Jyvaskyla. The subject of her final thesis/ dissertation was racist bullying in Finnish schools. She went on to work as a special needs teacher for immigrant children. Today, Kati is an international crime writer, punk singer and performance artist. Her books, The Hummingbird and The Defenceless have been translated into 16 languages and both were shortlisted for the Petrona Award in the UK. The Defenceless won Best Finnish Crime Novel of the Year, and has been shortlisted for the prestigious Glass Key. She lives and writes in her 200-year old farmhouse in Hailuoto, an island in the Gulf of Bothnia, North Finland. In her free time, she rehearses with her band, runs, hunts, picks berries and mushrooms and gardens. During long, dark winter months, she chops wood to heat her house, shovels snow and skis.
To connect with Kati follow her on Twitter here.
You can read my review of The Mine here.
Thanks to Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.
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