November 2016

‘The Exiled’ by Kati Hiekkapelto

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.

This is the third book in the bestselling series featuring Anna Fekete.  ‘The Exiled’ is the first book by Kati Hiekkapelto that I have read but judging by how much I enjoyed reading this, it certainly won’t be the last.

Anna returns to her birthplace to visit family and friends and because she needs to have a break.  However, Anna does not have long to enjoy her holiday, as she is the victim of a crime and she can’t help but be drawn into the investigation as she feels that the police are not conducting a thorough enough investigation.  Her resulting investigation opens a whole new can of worms and leads to shocking secrets being revealed.

Characterwise, I loved the character of Anna Fakete,  She is a dedicated police officer in Finland and I suppose you could say that she is never off duty so to speak.  She is one feisty lady and she is also a bit like a dog with a bone, in that she won’t stop investigating something  until she is satisfied and she is not easily dissuaded from a course of action.  Of course she has her human side too and you can tell that she is emotionally affected by some of the things she uncovers.  I began to think of Anna as a friend and any attack on her, felt like an attack on me so to speak.  I also felt that I was a part of the investigation and I shared Anna’s sense of revulsion over certain matters.

I must say that this book does seem to be rather topical in that the subject matter deals with the refugee crisis that is currently affecting Europe.  The author really does seem to tap into the concerns of the villagers in that they don’t believe the immigrants can be trusted, that there is no space for them and that they are not wanted.  The author also describes the desperate measures that some people go to, to get what is perceived as ‘a better life’ for themselves.

This book does trot along at a gentle pace but then I think that to tell the story properly, the pace does need to be gentle as a fast pace would not do adequate justice to the subject matter.

I really did enjoy reading this book.  I was hooked from the very first word on the very first page and I wasn’t released from the book’s grip until the last word on the last page.  ‘The Exiled’ was a real ‘CPID’ (Can’t put it down book) in that it came everywhere with me and I begrudged having to take my dogs for their walk as it meant I had to stop reading.  I found the author’s descriptions of the war in the Balkans to be rather harrowing at times but that was good as it meant that it wasn’t a sanitized view of events.  I can remember the Balkans War but I was too young to remember it in great detail.

I would definitely recommend this book to others and I award it a solid 5 stars.

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