As Red as Blood

As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka US Cover Art

As Red as Blood

The Snow White Trilogy (Book 1)
by Salla Simukka
Translated by Owen F. Witesman
Published by Skyscape in the US and Hot Key in the UK.
Order now.

*Kirkus starred review*
*Publisher’s Weekly starred review*

In the midst of the freezing Nordic winter, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson walks into her school’s dark room and finds a stash of wet, crimson-colored money. Thousands of euros left to dry—splattered with someone’s blood. Lumikki lives alone in a studio apartment far from her parents and the past she left behind. She transferred into a prestigious art school, and she’s singularly focused on studying and graduating. Lumikki ignores the cliques, the gossip, and the parties held by the school’s most popular and beautiful boys and girls.

But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Suddenly, Lumikki is swept into a whirlpool of events as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Events turn even more deadly when evidence points to dirty cops and a notorious drug kingpin best known for the brutality with which he runs his business.

As Lumikki loses control of her carefully constructed world, she discovers that she’s been blind to the forces swirling around her—and she’s running out of time to set them right. When she sees the stark red of blood on snow, it may be too late to save her friends or herself.

AS_RED_AS_BLOOD_Cropped 2“This trilogy opener from a talented young author has a bracing energy that stands up to the most muscular of Scandinavian thrillers and a heroine more than equal to her competition. … Limned in stark red, white and black, this cold, delicate snowflake of a tale sparkles with icy magic.” — Kirkus

“Finnish author Simukka creates a tough, self-sufficient heroine in 17-year-old Lumikki Andersson in this first book in the Snow White Trilogy. … Fans of Nesbø and Larsson won’t be disappointed.” — Publisher’s Weekly

 “Lumikki is fit, resourceful and a mistress of disguise, able to transform her appearance at a moment’s notice…the world Lumikki infiltrates is amoral and cynical; a sophisticated tale, then, suavely translated by Owen F. Witesman.” – Financial Times

Copper Heart

PPCover_CopperHeart_lowresCopper Heart

The Maria Kallio Series (Book 3)
by Leena Lehtolainen
Translated by Owen F. Witesman
Published by AmazonCrossing
Order now
.

Former police sergeant Maria Kallio gladly left her tiny Finnish hometown of Arpikylä without looking back. But even though Maria despises the small town and the acrid smell from its now-closed copper mine, when Arpikylä’s sheriff asks her to serve as deputy sheriff for the summer, she agrees.

What should have been a quiet summer soon turns dramatic—and deadly. Meritta, an outspoken local artist, plunges to her death from the copper mine’s tower, and Maria immediately suspects someone helped her fall. Now Maria must face the harsh truth that one of the town’s residents killed Meritta, and friends Maria has known for decades all harbor their own murderous motives—even Johnny, her gorgeous former crush who almost makes her forget about her long-distance boyfriend, Antti, who is studying in Chicago.

In this thrilling addition to the internationally successful Maria Kallio mystery series, the past and present of the beloved Finnish detective violently collide, leaving her future in grave danger.

Also in the Maria Kallio Series:

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Her Enemy

HerEnemy_CvrImgHer Enemy

The Maria Kallio Series (Book 2)
by Leena Lehtolainen
Published by AmazonCrossing

Order now.

After solving her first murder and leaving the Helsinki Police Department behind, Maria Kallio thought that a move to the neighboring city of Espoo would signal a fresh start—a chance to not only put her new law degree to use, but to nurture her budding romance with Antti Sarkela. But when she discovers the strangled body of a new acquaintance, old habits die hard for the redheaded sleuth—especially since the accused is not only the victim’s fiancé, but a member of Antti’s family.

Though she works as a legal counselor, Kallio soon finds herself unofficially investigating the murder, now labeled a sex crime. While Antti’s relative may have some peculiar sexual tendencies, Kallio doubts that the man she’s agreed to defend is capable of the crime. To crack the case, Kallio will have to pull back the curtain on Espoo high society…and uncover a secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden.

Her Enemy, the latest addition to Lehtolainen’s bestselling crime series, sends intrepid Detective Kallio into the dark side of human passion.

Also in the Maria Kallio Series:

7104891_MFM_FrontCoverPPCover_CopperHeart_lowres[1]

Cold Courage

Cover ArtCold Courage

by Pekka Hiltunen
translated from the Finnish by Owen F. Witesman
Hesperus Press.

Order now in the UK.

“Panic spread through the street, rippling in a viral wave of contorted faces and anxious gestures. The moment before catastrophe. This is what it looks like.”

When Lia witnesses a disturbing scene on the way to work, she, like the rest of the city of London, is captivated and horrified. As details unfurl in the media the brutal truth transpires – a Latvian prostitute has been killed, her body run over by a steamroller and then placed in the trunk of a car to be found. As the weeks pass and no leads are found, the story quickly disintegrates but Lia can’t easily forget. So when she meets Mari in a bar late one night she feels fate might have brought them together. Like her, Mari is a Finnish woman in London finding her way, somewhat of an outsider, very independent. But there is much more to Mari than meets the eye: she is a psychologist who possesses an unnatural way of being able to ‘read’ people, see into their inner most thoughts and pre-empt their actions. She uses her ‘gift’ to try to help people and has formed a close unit she calls the Studio, a kind of team of investigators, who are not beyond breaking the law to put the worlds to rights. Mari and Lia strike up a firm friendship and when Lia shares her plaguing thoughts about the murder, Mari thinks she and the members of the Studio can help where the police have failed. But Mari and Lia are about to step foot into extremely dangerous territory, especially as Mari has a will to control others, take vengeance on those she deems deserve it and use the Studio to questionable ends.

From WSOY Foreign Rights:

“Hiltunen’s debut novel Cold Courage is a skillfully paced, intensive and exciting psycho-thriller. The book sets a new, high standard for intelligent entertainment. The novel is food for both thought and for the feelings. Though the narrative dwells on human trafficking in Europe, political populism and the hard culture of working life these days, the author does not moralise. With his debut novel, Hiltunen takes his place among the mystery authors that write about ordinary people solving crimes. Hiltunen’s protagonists Lia and Mari, two Finnish women living in London, take the reader on a journey through the contemporary world.

The book opens with Lia seeing a murdered body. The sight of it stays with her. Soon Lia meets Mari, who through questionable means tackles injustice. Thus the narrative sets the question of whether the end justifies the means. Alongside moral questions, the novel dwells on modern people’s sense of alienation, with elements of a growth story.

The Finnish Whodunnit Society in awarding the Clue of the Year 2012 (Finland’s top prize for mysteries and thrillers)

Praise:

“I predict international success for this confident, unique and captivating thriller.” – Kaleva

“Pekka Hiltunen hooks the reader of his new thriller from the very first page. The main characters are likeable and believable, and the author’s awareness of social issues shines through in his writing. Cold Courage is a very topical novel.” – Apu

“The women’s friendship, the organisation’s activities, and the use of technology are all narrated in a convincing way. I recommend this book to readers who like slightly unusual psychological thrillers – here evil certainly gets its just rewards in a way which, while being complex, is also often amusing, touching and unusual. A good opening for the new series!” – Kirjavinkit

“Cold Courage expands the thematic landscape of Finnish crime literature. It is refreshing to read about professional and amateur private detectives with no problems regarding either alcohol or woman. In its own way the book gives faith in the notion that the world can and should be changed.” – Helsingin Sanomat

“The novel updates the story traditions of crime novels in an interesting way. It is a psychological thriller and a whole lot more, too. As well as having an exciting plot it shows depth in its descriptions of people. Hiltunen´s concept of the Studio is a fascinating insight into these modern times. Rich in details, sure in its descriptions of London and smoothly written, this novel is a stylish debut.” – Turun Sanomat

My First Murder

My First Murder
by Leena Lehtolainen
Published by AmazonCrossing

The best-selling Detective Maria Kallio series begins in English!

Order now, including as an audiobook.

Maria Kallio has just been assigned her first murder investigation. To prove to herself and her squad that she has what it takes to be a detective, she’ll have to solve the death of Tommi Peltonen. Found floating face down at the water’s edge of his Helsinki villa, Tommi had invited his choir group to spend a weekend at his retreat. But beneath the choir’s seemingly tight-knit bonds seethed bitter passion and jealousy. As Maria sets out to determine the difference between friends and foes, she uncovers the victim’s unsavory past—and motives for all seven suspects. Now it’s up to her to untangle a complex set of clues before the killer strikes again.

The first book in Leena Lehtolainen’s bestselling Finnish crime series starring Detective Maria Kallio, My First Murder offers hard-boiled realism from a female perspective.

 

Also in the Maria Kallio series:

HerEnemy_CvrImg[1]  PPCover_CopperHeart_lowres[1]


 

Wolves and Angels // Hukan enkelit

I’m currently finishing up a translation of Seppo Jokinen’s award-winning Hukan enkelit (working title Wolves and Angels) for Ice Cold Crime. More details will be coming soon as ICC ramps up marketing, but suffice it to say that this is one of the best old-school detective novels I’ve seen come out of Finland. I cared about the characters from the very beginning, and I wasn’t sure “whodunnit” until the end. In other words, take a bow, Mr. Jokinen!

The Running of the Bulls // Härkäjuoksu

Author Tuomas Lius

2011 Like

by Tuomas Lius

From the Otava Rights Guide:

A lovable rural rogue and a female detective who’s coming to terms with her past are searching for a
priceless historical treasure

Private investigator Marko Pippurinen from the rural village of Tohmajärvi has revived his detective agency with the help of his young friend, Pyry Lehikoinen. Then Julia Noussair, the other half of the duo familiar from Lius’ previous books, Haka and Outside the Law, appears out of nowhere with an intriguing offer. Marko eagerly seizes this opportunity, but by doing so he sets off a game that forces him
to put more at stake than ever before. Everything culminates in a high-speed treasure hunt through the Nordic wilderness.

An English sample is available.

The Buyout // Erottaja

The Buyout, by Karo Hämäläinen

The Buyout, by Karo Hämäläinen

WSOY, 2011

After reading this book, I felt like immediately changing my investment strategy (perhaps switching to cash in a mattress?), and my ability to stomach the nonsensical explanations of self-serving politicians about why the world is suffering from this financial crisis dropped through the floor. Karo Hämäläinen reminds us what really got us here: the greed and machinations of financial wizards who did their best to hide the risks and consequences of their actions in order to keep making money. The Buyout is that rarest of things in the thriller genre: a dose of reality. Murder mysteries are fundamentally at a remove from almost everyone’s normal lives, but The Buyout is about all of our lives. Anyone who has ever seen the value of their stock portfolio jump like a kid on a trampoline will read this new financial thriller with white knuckles.

 

From the Elina Ahlbäck Agency:

The Buyout

Original title: Erottaja | Published: 2011 | Publisher: WSOY
Class: Fiction | Pages: 462 | Format: 220 x 155 mm | Binding: Hardcover

In the world of big money, there are two emotional states. The markets are dominated either by fear or greed.

Karo Hämäläinen

The international financial crisis is mangling capital markets, fortunes are being crushed in seconds and others are being made just as quickly. A Finnish asset management company founded by three friends descends into the eye of the storm, setting off a fierce competition: who will buy the company for themselves – and with whom?

The Buyout is a financial thriller. Instead of the world politics and violence characteristic of action thrillers, the suspense arises from the intrigues of people working in the capital markets. Karo Hämäläinen has combined the excitement of an action thriller with page-turning narration in a social novel. The result is a hybrid – a novel of unusually depth and narrative control that is also highly readable and entertaining.

As an investment expert, Hämäläinen has his facts straight and reveals a whole range of pitfalls present in the world of high finance over the course of the novel. The repurchase of the Finnish asset management company that functions as the framework for the action of the novel is based on actual events, the downfall of the Icelandic Glitnir Bank. Hämäläinen spent the blackest day of the financial crisis of 2008 in the offices of Glitnir, observing the actions and emotions of the toughest Finnish capital market professionals. He has also interviewed the most important Finnish bankers who were involved in the sale of Glitnir, receiving valuable behind-the-scenes information.

English sample available

 

Reviews:

“The managing editor of Arvopaperi, author Karo Hämäläinen, has written a book that verges on patricide.” – Henrik Muukkonen, Talouselämä (Finland’s leading business weekly)

If you’re interested in the movements of big money and the fates of the people who operate on the dark side of the investment funds, you could hardly spend an evening better. – Hämäläinen’s latest is a chillingly realistic financial thriller. The story reads like reality, which the author can take as a compliment. – The Buyout could be considered one of the landmarks of the continuing economic crisis.” – Matti Posio, Aamulehti (Finland’s second largest daily newspaper)

This hefty work keeps a hold on you until the very end. Instead of high-speed chases and firefights, the suspense of this thriller is created by investment risk, white-collar crime, corporate takeover negotiations, and power games. – What makes this carefully constructed, believable novel extraordinary is the analysis that parallels the plot. – The novel’s account of what happens behind the scenes in the banking and financial sectors will speak to every bank account holder.” – Joni Pyysalo, Suomen Kuvalehti (Finland’s leading current events weekly)

“The atmosphere is like on the savannah, where scavengers lie in wait for their prey and each other – This is the hidden appeal of Hämäläinen’s book. Negative humanity arouses the reader’s interest. The reader wants to know what will happen to these people. This is a book you have to read to the end. If you have to read a thriller to the end, then its author has succeeded in his work. Hämäläinen has.” – Juhana Rossi, Helsingin Sanomat (Finland’s largest daily newspaper)

The Blue Phantom / Sininen aave

Tammi, 2011

by Tapani Bagge

From the Elina Ahlbäck Agency:

The year is 1940. Detective Sergeant Mujunen, familiar to readers of White Heat, is swept up in a new, more poignant chain of events. Mujunen, in mourning for the death of his wife, meets the Lithuanian dancer Ilse Anders at the cemetery, and his heart skips a beat. But his troubles are far from over.

A Finnish commuter plane vanishes after taking off from Tallinn, a bank is robbed in Kerava, and riots flare in Helsinki, the protesters demanding peace and brotherhood between Finland and the Soviet Union. Also involved is a big time gangster, Finnish-American Bill Kovanen, arrived too late to take part in the Winter War. Crime journalist Ossi Koho and photographer Sanna Rytkönen suspect a conspiracy: what if everything is connected with the accident where actress Sirkka Sari fell into the chimney of the Aulanko Hotel? The last act is played out on the windy shore of the Ice Sea, where Mujunen’s faith in mankind is put to the test.

My own thoughts: My favorite part is the milieu, the feel of 1940’s Finland. There are strong shades of our own US noir gumshoes, with just a hint of levity mixed into the narrative to avoid being overly earnest. The pace of the action is blistering. This is a book any mystery reader would love.

Tapani Bagge — The Blue Phantom — PDF Sample

 

Where Have All the Young Girls Gone / Minne tytöt kadonneet

Leena Lehtolainen

Tammi, 2010.

By Leena Lehtolainen.

A complete translation is of this novel is now available. Please contact me or the Elina Ahlbäck Agency for more information if you are an interested publisher.

From the Elina Ahlbäck Agency:

The new installment of the Maria Kallio series is a chronicle of xenophobia and hate. Maria Kallio is investigating the disappearance of three Muslim girls – and the killing of another. Maria Kallio, working on an EU project training Afghani police, travels to the opening ceremonies for the country’s new police academy, with disastrous consequences. Upon returning home to Finland, Maria begins work in the Espoo Special Crimes Unit and is assigned to investigate the disappearances of three immigrant girls. The girls frequented the same girls’ club as Maria’s daughter Iida. Then the body of a fourth Muslim girl is found in the snow, strangled with her own headscarf. Are the cases related? Is a serial killer on the move? Or did the girls’ families have something to do with the disappearances?

Leena Lehtolainen’s Where Have All the Young Girls Gone is an engrossing exploration of the collision between tradition and the new multicultural Europe. It is a journey into a world where daily life is defined by ancient belief and deeply ingrained, habitual perception. Who is in the right when there are two truths?

Leena Lehtolainen — Where Have All the Young Girls Gone — Sample Translation (PDF)

Also by this author:

The Killing One

12 Samples — More Details to Come

I’m behind on updates, so I’m going to list work here that I need to create individual entries for later. Contact me for the actual samples if I haven’t posted them yet.

Samples:

Laittomat [Outside the Law] by Tuomas Lius (LIKE)
Tuomas Lius — Outside the Law — Sample Translation (PDF)
Fully synopsis also available.
Pakonopeus [Escape Velocity] by Taavi Soininvaara (Otava)
Taavi Soininvaara — Escape Velocity — Sample (PDF)
Viides tuuli [The Fifth Wind] by Päivi Honkapää (WSOY)
Päivi Honkapää — The Fifth Wind — Sample (PDF)
Meren alku [The Beginning of the Sea] by Päivi Honkapää (WSOY)
Päivi Honkapää — The Beginning of the Sea — Sample (PDF)
Kaisa Lipposen vaihtokaupat [Cassie Stevens Makes a Trade] by Samuli Valkama (Tammi)
Tärisevä traktori [The Trembling Tractor] by Hannu Hirvonen (Tammi)
Suurkontio Tahmapää rakentaa [Big Bear Stickyhead Builds] by Hannele Huovi (Tammi)
Maalla [In the Country] by Tapani Bagge (Tammi)
Alpo löytää kotiin [Alpo Finds His Way Home] by Jukka Lemmetty (Tammi)
Ahaa! sanoi Pikkuruu [Aha! Said Pikaroo] by Hannele Huovi and Kristiina ja Louhi (Tammi)
Soita minulle, Kukka Kaalinen! [Play for Me, Callie Flower] by Sari Peltoniemi (Tammi)
Histamiini ja Koni Alakulo [Histamine and Naggy Crestfall] by Raili Mikkanen (Tammi)

The Killing One / Tappava säde

Leena Lehtolainen

I recently finished a sample translation for the Elina Ahlbäck Agency of Leena Lehtolainen‘s novel Tappava säde, the current working title of which is The Killing One.

Leena Lehtolainen is the bestselling female crime author in Finland. Her new titles head straight to #1 on the Finnish bestseller lists. In  addition to her career as an author, she has also worked as a literary researcher, columnist, and critic. Lehtolainen published her first novel at the age of 12; this work of juvenile fiction Ja äkkiä onkin toukokuu (”And Suddenly It’s May”) appeared in 1976. Five years later her novel Kitara on rakkauteni (”My Guitar is My One True Love”), about a teenage band, was published.

The 1993 work Ensimmäinen murhani (”My First Murder”) kicked off Lehtolainen’s series of crime novels, which through its distinctly down-to-earth heroine, Maria Kallio, has brought an enthusiastically received female perspective to the male-dominated detective genre.

The forthcoming Maria Kallio novel, Minne tytöt kadonneet (”Where Have All the Young Girls Gone”), is already the eleventh in this  bestselling crime series. Recently Lehtolainen started a new thrilling trilogy with another convincing female lead, Hilja Ilveskero. The first novel of this trilogy, Henkivartija (“The Bodyguard”), came out in 2009. Lehtolainen has also published outside the crime genre, most recently the work Luonas en ollutkaan (”I Wasn’t With You After All”, 2007). Translations of Leena Lehtolainen’s works have already been published in 15 languages.

Read more about Lehtolainen’s work and a sample of The Killing One here.

Elina Ahlbäck Agency 2010 Rights Guide

Also by Leena Lehtolainen:

Where Have All the Young Girls Gone

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Haka

Like Publishing, 2009.

By Tuomas Lius.

From the publisher:

A weapon of mass destruction from the Second World War.

A lake in Northern Karelia.

A distinguished female undercover cop and a redneck heartthrob.

These are the ingredients of Haka, a startling first effort which is shooting to the top of the thriller charts. It is a supreme mix of eccentric characters and multiple sources of suspense that culminates in a race to find an abandoned German recognisance device at the bottom of a lake in Northern Karelia.

Tuomas Lius (born 1976) moves through the story with a master’s touch, succeeding in building an unusually smooth and believable thriller with a style of its own, a book that will entertain readers across generations.

“Haka” is Japanese for “bury”, and is, in this book, the name of a weapon developed by the Japanese.

My take: I particularly like the intensity of the initial setup between the protagonist and the terrorist Mona Knaup. The beginning is a really grabber. The proof is in the pudding with this one, folks. Check out the sample.

Haka PDF Sample