Crime Fiction From Finland – Helsinki Homicide: Against The Wall

Helsinki Homicide: Against the Wall, is the winner of the 2009 Finnish Crime Novel of the Year Award, and is the first of Jarkko Sipila’s nine Takamäki-novels to be translated into English. Jarkko Sipila, 45, is a Finnish author and journalist who has been reporting Finnish crime news for TV News and newspapers for almost 20 years.

A Brief Summary:

A dead body is found in the garage of an abandoned house in Northern Helsinki. The work looks very professional, possibly done by a hitman, and there is very little trace to identify the killer. Detective Lieutenant Kari Takamäkis homicide team gets the case and immediately feel challenged by the crime scene.

Takamäkis suspects there is a connection with organized crime groups; his trusted man Suhonen goes undercover as Suikkanen, a gangster full of action. In pursuit of the murderer, he must operate within the grey area of the law. But, will the end justify the means?

Our Take: 

I don’t know if you have read the books based on the CSI TV series, but if you have, I’ve got to tell you this novel is very similar to those books in terms of style.

The sentences are short and there is not much commentary; in a way it’s like we are watching a movie or reading a movie transcript than reading a novel. While there is nothing wrong with that, I thought this would be an important revelation the readers need to know.

The book’s style is hard-boiled: Lieutenant Detective Kari Takamaki is the main hero of the book and in order to unlock the puzzles in the cases, he goes through a lot of chasing and action scenes. The typical formula of organized crime gangs who have relations with Russian mafia is also used in this story and though repetitive, it makes the story entertaining.

Overall, we believe this is a novel with a strong modern plot, decent character development and a refreshing setting.

Our Rating: 3.2

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