Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Crime Fiction
Murder. Corruption. Dark secrets. A titanic wave of refugees. Can Anna solve a terrifying case that’s become personal? 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.
I’m so excited to be one of the stops today for the blog tour for The Exiled. This is the third book in a series that follows Anna Fekete and my first experience with anything written by Kati Hiekkapelto. I don’t believe that you have to read the series in order to keep up, I never felt like I was missing anything, the book stands very well on it’s own.
Anna goes back home for holiday to visit her family and old friends and shortly after she arrives, she is robbed. A man grabs her purse and gets away, but the next day he is found dead in a river bank. Anna works for the police force back in Finland and immediately feels that there is something off about the man’s death. Local authorities determine that he drowned, but Anna uncovers evidence that shows there is much more to the story. Despite everyone from her family and friends to the local police discouraging her from investigating further, she begins to dig deeper into the case. Somehow this seemingly random crime is linked to her own father’s death and someone is willing to go as far as necessary to ensure that old secrets stay buried and forgotten.
I liked the pacing of this book, it wasn’t quite as fast moving as some of the crime novels I read, yet it worked here. Anna is trying to unravel a complicated case with links to events many years ago and in order for her to get to the bottom of things, she must be diligent and determined. I enjoyed her character and found her to be interesting and admirable. She didn’t let anyone intimidate her and fought for what she believed in. She’s also very compassionate and kind, especially with children.
The setting is constructed wonderfully and Hiekkapelto managed to create vivid descriptions of the land and the characters living there. She also tackled many real and heartbreaking social issues, including the European refugee crisis, corruption in law enforcement and racism. The Roma people living in town were discriminated against and often wrongly and unfairly stereotyped and I felt that Hiekkapelto showcased these issues in a sensitive and timely manner. It really was more than just a book about a crime, it’s a book with a conscience.
I was completely engaged in this story, there were just enough details pertaining to Anna’s personal life to draw me in, yet not so many that it detracted from the main plot. Though the pace is on the slower side, once Anna starts untangling the web, the action does ramp up and the ending was a bit of a nail biter. I will definitely be looking forward to reading the next book in this smart and interesting series.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy.