The Exiled was published by Orenda Books on 15 November 2016 and is available to buy here
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’d forgotten how much I really love Finland’s Kati Hiekkapelto series featuring the complex Anna Fekete. The Exiled follows on from The Defenceless, which was my introduction to Anna.
Anna is an enigma. Flawed and fascinating. We got to understand her a little in The Exiled. She’s tough and something of a loner. Anna emigrated as a child from the former Yugoslavia to Finland. Following her father’s footsteps, she joined the police force. In The Defenceless, we saw how her sense of identity was conflicted. Anna is an outsider, both in Finland and in the Serbian/Hungarian village she grew up in. She is torn between two cultures; one full of the history of her family, including the tragic death of her Father, and her new life in Finland.
The Exiled returns Anna to her homeland, visiting family and friends. When her handbag is stolen at a local wine festival, Anna is determined to find the culprits. She can see the local police are not going to look into it thoroughly enough. This leads to her stumbling on a puzzle about how her father died in the 1980s. Anna wants answers and starts digging.
We see the refugee crisis impact on Anna’s home village, with the chaos and uncertainty it brings to the area. This is a Europe wide issue, where the micro impact on a village is huge. Anna, as an Finnish immigrant, has a great deal of empathy for the migrants and for the other outsiders. This is a time of suspicion, of desperation and of corrupt officials. Kati Hiekkapelto gives us a fresh and somewhat bleak look at life as a refugee.
I loved visiting Anna on her home territory. It revealed another side to her. Slowly the pieces are coming together. One day we will understand Anna. Maybe.
This is an addictive series, unique and hard to step away from. Social commentary with a strong Finnish flavour, with Anna at its heart. Excellent!
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