THE HEALER was quite a revelation for me. I’d usually had with novels translated into English in the past. Whether this was the author’s style of the translator I was never quite certain. Antii Tuomainen’s novel gave me no such problems. I zipped through it pretty quickly. Lola Rogers was the write who translated from the Finnish.
The author’s third novel, It received the Clue Award as the best Finnish crime novel of 2011. It has, or is, being translated into twenty-six languages.
What Tuomainen has given us is a thriller that’s a mix of strong crime novel and an end of the world tale.
It’s a few days before Christmas and social order in Helsinki has been crumbling for a few years now. It rains almost constantly, subways are flooded, coastal areas as well, the news is filled with pandemic warnings of everything from malaria to the plague. Electricity is out in most places and sketchy everywhere else. Food’s growing short, clean water is growing short, medicines have become hard to get.
The police have largely become ineffective, mainly because so many have quit to be with their families. People are fleeing the city, headed North where conditions are tolerably better. At the same time refugees arrive taking abandoned homes, burning anything they can find to cook, use for heat.
Security firms have taken over everywhere, some largely more than organized thievery.
Tapani Lehtinen, a struggling poet(he hasn’t published in four years), still lives in the city with his beloved wife Johanna, a journalist with the paper.
And now she’s gone missing.
The case she’d been working on involved The Healer, a serial killer who murdered whole families. She’d begun getting emails from him on each crime with addresses to find them. She called late one night, saying she’d be home til much later. Tapani hadn’t heard word for more than twenty-four hours. Not like her at all.
The police couldn’t help. Just don’t have the manpower. Jaatinen does give him a few clues though.
And so begins Tapani’s frantic search through Helsinki for Johanna. Along the way, he discovers things about his wife he never knew, things in her past that connect her to the very killings she’s investigating.
Fine crime novel and available HERE.