cover image The Healer

The Healer

Antti Tuomainen, trans. from the Finnish by Lola Rogers. Holt, $25 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9554-8

Winner of the Clue Award for the best Finnish crime novel of 2011, Tuomainen’s third book evocatively explores a near-future Helsinki in which private security firms hire murderous thugs to patrol the desolate city. Floods, fires, and disease are also rampant. Amid this turmoil, poet Tapani Lehtinen searches for his wife, Johanna, a journalist who disappeared while covering the story of a serial killer called “the Healer.” The Healer targets those he blames for the global warming that led to society’s collapse—business executives, politicians, and their families. With a little help from an honest cop and a shadowy cab driver, Tapani digs into his wife’s secret past to find her. Tuomainen (My Brother’s Keeper) writes beautifully, but at times the text reads like a screed about greed and environmental destruction. But Tapani’s progression from a dreamy poet content with staying at home to a man of action elevates this bleak tale and brings a glimmer of hope to rain-soaked Helsinki. (May)