Review published on December 20, 2016.
The Exiled proves why Kati Hiekkapelto is a brilliant writer who is spearheading the Finnish invasion of English crime fiction, since she is in top form again. It is the third in Heikkapelto’s Anna Fekete series, which has been extremely popular in her native Finland, and for once there is no snow in this thriller, although there are plenty of twists and turns worthy of movement on ice.
Anna Fekete has finally decided to take a holiday and head ‘home’ to the Balkan village of her birth, Kaniza, in Serbia on the Hungarian border. It is a chance to spend time with her mother, her recovering addict brother and her best friend before heading back to Finland to be the crime fighting whizz that she has become.
While out at a local wine fair, her handbag is stolen and Anna gives chase to the thief and a small girl whom seem to be in cahoots with the criminal. When the thief is found dead on the banks of a local river and the police do not seem interested in investigating, Anna is drawn into the murder. As she begins to ask questions, the police seem even more distant, as people want to place the blame on the Roma or the refugees trying to get into the EU.
The more Anna investigates, the more questions are raised, and she must be prepared for whatever answers come back. At the same time, the murder of Anna’s father in 1988 seems to have links to the recent death, and the more she wants to know, the less people are willing to help her. She is sent anonymous notes threatening her if she does not give up the investigation. There is even an attempt to run her over, but this only makes Anna more determined to find out what is going on.
Anna’s investigation brings her into conflict with life on the border of the EU and the many refugees seeking the ‘promised’ land, police corruption, the mafia and political corruption, human trafficking and just how little people value the lives of others.
The Anna Fekete series gets better with every new book that Kati Hiekkapelto writes and this new novel once again proves that she is on top of her chosen genre. Her writing continues to be fresh and exciting, while at the same time subversive, which is the reason her reputation continues to grow.
The Exiled is an excellent crime thriller that will enthral you due to the brilliant story and characterisation that will leave you impressed and wanting more.
Paul Diggett 5/5
The Exiled by by Kati Hiekkapelto
Orenda 9781910633519 pbk Oct 2016