The Defenceless

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 complicated case, she's led on a deady trail where illegal immigration, drugs and ultimately murder threaten not only her beliefs, but her life. Anna's partner Esko is entrenched in a similarly dangerous investigation. As the two cases come together, it becomes clear that having the law on their side may not be enough.
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Film in production by joint Scottish/Finnish company.


WINNER of ‘Clue of the Year’ –best crime novel published in Finland in 2014; shortlisted for the Glass Key. Published in seven languages; international bestseller (10th bestselling book in Finland in 2014 across all genres) 'Without a shadow of a doubt Kati Hiekkapelto has taken a firm place in the Nordic Noir sphere, creating tense, vivid and compelling stories, with strong characterisation, particularly of Anna and Esko, and a very contemporary social commentary. The novel, in perfect translation by David Hackston, is so beautifully multifaceted that I'm already rereading it. The chilling and utterly believable content would benefit from the deeper analysis but for now I would suggest that you take from it whatever suits you best: excellent thriller, believable characters or a voice of the current state of immigration in Europe' - Crime Review 'A taut and provocative thriller with a raging social conscience... cements Kati Hiekkapelto's position as one of Scandi-noir's most exciting and important new voices' - Eva Dolan 'An edgy and insightful chiller with a raw and brooding narrative. Skilfully plotted and beautifully written, Hiekkapelto has given us an excellent and suspenseful crime novel' - Craig Robertson Seriously good! The taut elegance of the writing brilliantly contrasts the grit of the subject matter. Kati Hiekkapelto is the real deal' - Anya Lipska 'A writer willing to take risks with her work' - Sarah Ward 'There is something fresh and slightly subversive about Hiekkapelto's writing in The Defenceless. Apparently, the author is also the singer in a punk band there is something of that restless energy here, a nod to anti-authoritarian and countercultural ideas that makes the novel stand out from the pack' - Doug Johnstone, The Big Issue 'Rapidly becoming a familiar face on the Nordic noir scene in the UK (and British readers always warm to those Scandinavian writers prepared to travel frequently to these shores), the Finnish Kati Hiekkapelto deserves her growing reputation (finessed by a relatively new publisher, Orenda Books), as her individual writing identity is subtly unlike that of her colleagues. Rarely do her books read like any of her illustrious predecessors, and her socially committed style acquires more polish with each successive book' - Barry Forshaw, Crime Time 'The plot is neatly worked-out, with a surprise twist at the end, and the action moves along quickly. The description gives a real feel of a Finnish spring, with the snow slowly melting, and the first birdsong, and the difficulties experienced by refugees, and the uncaring nature of the asylum system, are brought out vividly - Promoting Crime'From the outset this book ticks so many of the boxes that Scandinavian crime fiction lovers look for in their favourite crime sub-genre and here's why... The real stand-out feature of this book is the strength and balance of Hiekkapelto's plotting. A gripping slice of Scandi-noir' - Raven Crime Reads 'In her follow-up novel, Kati Hiekkapelto weaves a complex multi-layered narrative that forces the reader to re-evaluate long standing opinions. More strident than its predecessor, the book uses the crime fiction genre to shine a torch onto under-reported social problems' --Andy Lawrence, Crime Time 'With The Defenceless you're so caught up in the characters, the sub-plots and the hunt for what appears to be a brutal killer that when the killer's identity and motive are revealed it comes like a bolt from the blue. It brings to (my) mind the reveal in Hakan Nesser's The Unlucky Lottery. The translation by David Hackston should also receive the strongest nod of approval; at no point in reading The Defenceless was there any indication that this was anything other than the language the novel was written in and the deft translation ensures that the novel's momentum and feel flows uninterpreted across the language transition' - Tony Hill, Mumbling About Music As a portrait of a (literally) cold new world, yet lightened by a degree of kindness and empathy, this would be hard to beat. It is a book with great heart' - Blue Book Balloon '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' --Northern Crime

Author Biography

Kati Hiekkapelto is a bestselling, award-winning author, punk singer, performance artist and, formerly, special-needs teacher. She lives on an old farm on the island of Hailuoto in Northern Finland (which has been in her family for hundreds of years) with her children and sizable menagerie. Here she is currently setting up an asylum for artists in danger. Hiekkapelto has taught immigrants and lived in the Hungarian region of Serbia, which inspired her to write her highly regarded debut crime novel, The Hummingbird.

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Series Part
Bibliographic Information
  • Pub date: January 2015
  • English
  • 9781910633137
  • Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • Orenda Books
  • Readership: General
  • Publish State: Published
  • Series: Anna Fekete
  • Series Part: 1