A(nother) Year of Orenda – The Defenceless by Kati Hiekkapelto (trns David Hackston)

Today it’s back to Mandie for her review of The Defenceless, book two in the Anna Fekete series. I loved catching up with Anna’s earlier stories and you can find my review of the book right here. . Here’s what it is all about:

Source: Amazon

About the Book

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.

Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Hive | Googleplay | Apple Books

Mandie’s Thoughts

The Defenceless is the second in the Anna Fekete series which sees Anna involved in a seemingly straightforward case of an old man being run over by a car driven by a young Hungarian au pair. Her partner Esko is distracted by another case that his working on, but they do have one person that connects them both. Whilst Anna really wants to help him, Esko is convinced that he is knee deep in trouble and not all that he seems. Anna is still battling with Esko’s attitude both to her and anyone who is not Finnish by birth but after he helped her in a previous case she has learnt to tolerate him much more. That is not to say she does not get frustrated with his guilty until he decides otherwise behaviour. 

With the cases turning out to not be as simple as they first thought eventually Anna and Esko find themselves once again working together as the cases are more linked than they first thought. When more bodies turn up working out their connections is not going to be easy. With drugs and family discourse at the heart of the story, there are many changes of direction to resolve to ultimately work out exactly what happened. 

I am beginning to love the way these books have multiple cases on the go at the same time as I can imagine that often the police are faced with this situation and knowing how to give the right amount of attention to each one to ensure the best possible result can be exhausting. The more I learn about Anna the more I am warming to her as a character. Whilst on the surface she gives the impression that she is happy to be single and prefers her own company, her actions show a different story, whether it be helping her brother overcome his addictions to spending time with the au pair accused of running over the old man. Her determination to help Sammi, an immigrant who despite escaping persecution in his own country has found himself caught up in drugs and a situation that is rapidly deteriorating shows her true compassion and you feel her frustration as she comes to the realisation no matter how deserving the case may be sometimes she just can’t help everyone. 

Kati Hiekkapelto has created characters that are complex and once you get past the surface you can empathise with even if they are not always on the right side of the law with what they are doing although at times I do wish that Anna would give herself a break and stop being quite so hard on herself

About the Author

Kati Hiekkapelto was born in 1970 in Oulu, Finland. She wrote her first stories at the age of two and recorded them on cassette tapes. Kati has studied Fine Arts in Liminka Art School and Special Education at the University of Jyväskylä. The subject of her final thesis/dissertation was racist bullying in Finnish schools. She went on to work as a special-needs teacher for immigrant children. Today Kati is an international crime writer, punk singer and performance artist. Her books, The Hummingbird and The Defenceless have been translated into ten languages. The Hummingbird was shortlisted for the Petrona Award in the UK in 2015 and The Defenceless won the prize for the best Finnish Crime Novel of the Year 2014, and has been shortlisted for the prestigious Glass Key. She lives and writes in her 200-year-old farmhouse in Hailuoto, an island in the Gulf of Bothnia, North Finland. In her free time she rehearses with her band, runs, hunts, picks berries and mushrooms, and gardens. During long, dark winter months she chops wood to heat her house, shovels snow and skis. Writing seems fairly easy, after all that.

Books by Kati Kiekkapelto

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