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.
Kati Hiekkapelto is a best-selling, award winning author, punk singer, performance artist and, formerly, special-needs teacher. She lives on an old farm (which has been in her family for hundreds of years) on the island of Hailuoto in Northern Finland 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.
©2015 Kati Hiekkapelto (P)2015 Audible, Ltd
"It's like reading Henning Mankell, when Senior Constable Anna Fekete works on several tricky cases in the icy-cold winter of Northern Finland while contemplating the harshness of life." (Helsingin Sanomat)
"As the plot keeps deepening, Hiekkapelto turns out to be incredibly skilful at carrying off a complicated story...the suspense feels real and the writing flows nicely." (Savon Sanomat)
"Hiekkapelto really treats her readers like royalty. The plot - with all its twists, its humorous yet wise narration - guarantees a perfect reading experience. I'm sorry for the superlatives, but I believe The Defenceless is the Book of the Year for me." (Literary Blog, Rakkaudesta Kirjoihin)
This is the account for Rachel (36) & Val (67). Big interest in crime - particularly British & European but also all current fiction.
Before listening to The Defenceless I had previously read the book and enjoyed it immensely. Undoubtedly it was one of my favourite reads of 2015 and as well as being a hugely timely and relevant novel it was also a remarkably profound insight into the life of migrants. To my mind, Kati Hiekkapelto is the finest exponent of urban noir and this gritty storyline packs a very weighty punch. Low on violence, blood and gore but this is powerful stuff!
I had not previously heard the narrator and her impassioned delivery certainly added something to the novel. An audiobook really comes to life when the narrator sounds as involved in the story as the listener and this was the case. A wonderful sense of urgency in the voice of Julie Masiey at moments of heightened tension also played well. I also appreciated the subtle distinction between characters voices which made this all the more riveting. I hope that this narrator provides the audio for future novels as she did a cracking job.
Undoubtedly Anna Fekete. A brilliantly realistic portrayal of a modern woman facing life as a migrant in a new country. Believable and human, unlike so many fictional cops!
The banter between Anna and her bigoted colleague Esko. Initially coming across as a racist, drunken investigator with no sympathy for migrants and the situations that bring them to another country, his interaction witn Anna forces him to reconsider his opinions.
I spent a long time thinking about The Defenceless - it made me think about the sadness of just how easy so many people in society seem to find it to tar every immigrant with the same brush. A different situation brings each and every settler to a new country and without considering individual situations we cannot emphasise with people.
A splendid narration of a book which will resonate. Anna Fekete is brilliantly brought to life. Timely and relevant.
The book was okay. I listened to it until the end, which I won't do if a book fails to engage me. As a person whose first language was Finnish the names were butchered. I cannot blame the narrator but surely someone Finnish could have been found to get the names said in a way which didn't hurt my ears. The Hell's Angels sub story line didn't really work or go anywhere. I suspect the jarring Finnish really stopped me getting into the book.
I ought to declare an enthusiasm for things Finnish as I certainly wouldn't have chosen this book were it not for the setting. It is an enjoyable listen and some of the characters rise above the two-dimensions typical of police procedurals. The old cop Esko, a racist grump who doesn't quite know where his life has gone wrong, was my favourite - he makes you cringe but you can't help feeling sorry for him. I was so worried when he started to feel he was being followed by homicidal gang members so I guess the book engaged me emotionally. The reflections about Finland, its climate and culture were also interesting. As for the plot - it's intriguing enough to keep you listening altho' this is never a big issue for me; does anyone really care who did it? Would certainly listen to another book by this writer.
Well the story was OK, the characters were a bit thin and lacklustre - but what really got my goat was the comment that she 'had to drag herself out of bed because of her sodden sanitory towel, also when various people hawked thick mucous up and spat.
These references add absolutely nothing to the story and frankly are revolting - I was actually eating when I listened to the bit about the ST. For goodness sake, it's totally unnecessary and thoroughly revolting!
"A good read for those with milder tastes"
This book was pretty good, but a little bit on the boring side. There were interesting elements but none of them really came together or were explored in depth. The several different threads of the investigation never crossed and were, frankly, slightly unbelievable. More than that just seem like a good book for an older person who didn't want to read anything to dark bloody or full of sex. A "lovely British mystery"
set in Finland.
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