Review: Defenceless by Kati Hiekkapelto – Blog Tour

Defenceless B- format front

The Defenceless is published on 30th September 2015 by Orenda.

Book description

When an old man is found dead on the road – seemingly run over by a Hungarian au pair – police investigator Anna Fekete  is certain that there is more to the incident than meets the eye. As she begins to unravel an increasingly complex case, she’s led on a deadly trail where illegal immigration, drugs and, ultimately, murder threaten not only her beliefs, but her life. Anna’s partner Esko is entrenched in a separate but equally dangerous investigation into the activities of an immigrant gang, where deportation orders and raids cause increasing tension and result in desperate measures by gang members – and the police themselves. Then a bloody knife is found in the snow, and the two cases come together in ways that no one could have predicted. As pressure mounts, it becomes clear that having the law on their side may not be enough for Anna and Esko.

Chilling, disturbing and terrifyingly believable, The Defenceless is an extraordinary, vivid and gripping thriller by one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

About the Author


Kati Hiekkapelto is a best-selling, award-winning author, punk singer, performance artist and, formerly, special-needs teacher. She lives on an old farm on the island of Hailuoto in Northern Finland (which has been in her family for hundreds of years) with her children and sizeable menagerie. Here she is currently setting up an asylum for artists in danger. Hiekkapelto has taught immigrants and lived in the Hungarian region of Serbia, which inspired her to write her highly regarded debut crime novel, The Hummingbird.

Welcome to my turn on The Defenceless blog tour! I am excited to be involved and to review some lovely Finnish noir.

My thoughts

I’m always overjoyed to find some new Scandinavian noir to get my teeth into and a promising new author. This is the second Anna Fekete story, written by Kati Hiekkapelto and translated by David Hackston. It easily compares with the kind of crime writing coming out of the UK from Anya Lipska and Eva Dolan. This is dark hard hitting crime, with a clever focus on immigration and other hard core issues. It is intelligent and thought provoking. Although it is Finnish, this is the kind of discourse on race and immigration going on everywhere .

The story begins with Anna Fekete, a police investigator. She works with a rather unpleasant bigoted colleague called Esko. Anna is soon on a case featuring a dead man ran over by a Hungarian au pair. Her colleague is investigating immigrant gangs, causing tension in the city. Esko and Anna find themselves looking for missing elderly people, dealing with an illegal immigrant in the cells and searching for a killer.

Hiekkapelto looks at immigration, from multiple perspectives within the novel. We get the perspective of Anna, her racist and obnoxious partner Esko, the illegal immigrant desperate to be in a safe country and the au-pair looking for a temporary place to live. Anna has an interesting background. She moved to Finland as a child, from the former Yugoslavia. Anna is a strong personality, a woman whose identity is complex. Anna can relate to the plight of the those eager to enter the country. Although a professional and a successful migrant, Anna is lost and lonely. She misses her family. We see the likes of illegal immigrant Sammy desperate for a new home and a new country. And the everyday casual racism from Esko, with his dislike and distrust of migrants. There is plenty to take in and appreciate. The beauty of the writing is that it is easy to empathise with every single character.

Kati Hiekkapelto tells a great story, bringing a real sense of humanity and depth to her characters. I wanted to know more about Anna, in particular. I was intrigued by her background. I will have to get hold of The Hummingbird and see if it answers some of my questions about Anna.

Top notch lovely dark Scandinavian crime from a new talent! I hope Anna returns soon.

Purchase information: Amazon link

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About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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2 Responses to Review: Defenceless by Kati Hiekkapelto – Blog Tour

  1. crimeworm says:

    I’m reading this too at the moment, and really enjoying it. I met the lovely Kati at Bloody Scotland (another incentive for you to come next year!) and had just started it then. I’m always on the lookout for new “must read” authors – which is actually a really bad idea when you already have as many books as I do…!

  2. Pingback: The Hummingbird – Kati Hiekkapelto (Anna Fekete #1) | #northern #crime

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