The Hummingbird – Kati Hiekkapelto (Anna Fekete #1)


The Hummingbird was published by Arcadia Books on 15 September 2014 and is available to buy here

Anna Fekete, who fled the Yugoslavian wars as a child, has a past. Just beginning her career as a criminal investigator in a northern Finnish coastal town, she is thrust into a high-profile, seemingly unsolvable case that has riveted the nation. It doesn’t help that her middle-aged new partner, Esko, doesn’t bother hiding his racist prejudices, and Anna becomes the target of a systematic campaign to unsettle her. A young woman has been killed on a running trail, and a pendant depicting an Aztec god has been found in her possession. Another murder soon follows. All signs point to a serial killer, but can Anna catch the Hummingbird before he – or she – strikes again? And at what personal cost? Dark, gritty and filled with contemporary themes, this is a chilling, unforgettable book that you will find impossible to put down. Or forget.

The rest of the books in the Anna Fekete series:

Defenceless (book 2)

The Exiled (book 3)

My thoughts

I fell in love with the Anna Fekete series back in 2015. I read Defenceless and The Exiled. I puzzled over the enigma of Anna. She is a character, I truly appreciate. I have finally found the time to read the first book in the Finnish crime series, The HummingbirdThe Hummingbird very much sets the tone for the series. It is noir, done Finnish style. Beautiful.

We meet Anna, as she starts a new job. Anna is now working as a Senior Detective Constable, a plain clothed detective. She is paired with a misogynistic officer, Esko. Anna is very much perceived as an outsider. She is from an immigrant background, although she has been in Finland for twenty years and has assimilated. Racism appears be very much the norm, with colleagues openly referring to Anna’s ethnicity. Two cases dominate Anna’s early days as a detective. A young woman has been murdered brutally, whilst out jogging. Plus the behaviour of a young teenage Turkish Kurd girl causes concern for Anna. She made a phone call for help to emergency services. Murder and a potential honour violence case. Heavy going.

The cases start to take their toll on Anna. She goes from being a bit of a fitness freak, with regular jogging sessions to someone who is more careless. We see this in the way she gradually embraces the world of smoking, junk food and binge drinking. She has to cope with a partner, who seems to deliberately ignore or belittle her. I am pretty sure in the UK, the behaviour of Esko would not be tolerated to the same extent. She is also receiving strange threatening text messages. We see a caring side to Anna. She is so worried about the teenage Turkish Kurd girl, that she stalks the family and makes her presence known. She is not very detached, where this girl is concerned. She senses danger.

I love the way the author addresses immigration and the difficulty in settling in a new place. Anna is not from Finland. She lives there; but has an attachment to her homeland, to Serbia/Hungary. She is conflicted. She is neither one thing or another. Identity is complex and contradictory. Kati Hiekkapelto gives us insight into this. This means that Anna feels different, which is very much reinforced by the messages she is receiving from her work colleagues. This is odd. It is clear that there is widespread immigration of various ethnic groups into the region. They see her as ticking an ethnic box, as part of their attempt at multiculturalism. She uses all of this to her advantage, in trying to make sense of the Turkish Kurd family.

This is really excellent. A strong start to the series! Recommended!






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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