cover image Behind God’s Back

Behind God’s Back

Harri Nykänen, trans. from the Finnish by Kristian London. Bitter Lemon, $14.95 trade paper (204p) ISBN 978-1-908524-42-3

In Nykänen’s intricately plotted second Ariel Kafka novel to be published in English (after 2012’s Nights of Awe), the Helsinki Violent Crimes Unit cop looks into the shooting murder of Jewish businessman Samuel Jacobson, whose daughter he once dated. Jacobson’s widow reveals that her husband recently engineered a major loan through Kafka & Oxbaum, a law firm owned by Kafka’s brother, Eli, and a second cousin of theirs, Max Oxbaum. Kafka already knows that Eli and Max brokered their clients’ loans from an Estonian company, Baltic Invest, which is owned by Israeli businessman Benjamin Hararin, a front man for Amos Jakov, who’s believed to have links to the Russian mafia. Family ties and the tight-knit dealings within Finland’s small Jewish community complicate the investigation, but the sympathetic Kafka manages to perform a delicate balancing act on his way to an unexpected resolution of the crime. [em](Feb.) [/em]