Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Below The Surface by Leena Lehtolainen

Below The Surface by Leena Lehtolainen
First published in Finnish as Veren Vimma in Finland by Tammi Publishers in 2003. English language translation by Owen F Witesman published in America by Amazon Crossing today, the 7th November 2017.

One of my WorldReads from Finland

Where to buy this book:

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When a woman’s body turns up in a lake—a bullet to the back of her head—Violent Crime Unit commander Maria Kallio, freshly back from maternity leave, is fast to get on the case. The victim is ID’d as Annukka Hackman, wife of a prominent publisher and author of an upcoming unauthorized tell-all book on Sasha Smeds, Finland’s celebrated racing rally driver.

Almost as soon as the inquiry starts, it goes off the rails, as those connected to Annukka—and to Smeds—seem to have more secrets than they have alibis. Was the journalist about to reveal a bombshell that someone was desperate to keep quiet? Or will it take some reading between the lines? The clues may be few, but the list of suspects is long. As she struggles to balance her home life, run a department tainted by career-threatening allegations, and catch a killer, Maria is shocked to find just what someone was willing to do in the name of love…or revenge.

I was a little concerned before starting this novel that, as the eighth in a series, it might be either too formulaic for my tastes or that the storyline would necessitate my having read least a few of its predecessors. I need not have worried! Lehtolainen has created an interesting cast of characters, especially in her lead detective Maria Kallio, and given them a compelling case to solve. Being a Finnish novel, this book obviously falls within the Scandinavian crime genre, but I felt that it also had a certain refreshing otherness which I liked.

Below The Surface keeps a good pace, but is very much a realistic mystery rather than an action thriller. Kallio's case isn't all plain sailing. Neither solved by preternatural leaps of faith. The police work relies on a team of officers and this, together with Lehtolainen's frequent social commentary, was reminiscent for me of the excellent Martin Beck mysteries by Sjowall and Wahloo. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Below The Surface and would happily get more in this series.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Leena Lehtolainen / Crime fiction / Books from Finland

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