cover image The Hummingbird

The Hummingbird

Kati Hiekkapelto, trans. from the Finnish by David Hackston. Arcadia (Dufour, dist.), $21 trade paper (364p) ISBN 978-1-909807-56-3

Hiekkapelto’s brooding debut, a large-scale police procedural set in a small Finnish town, tilts heroically at such vexing ills as racial prejudice, alcoholism, and domestic abuse. When Anna Fekete, a senior detective constable and an ethnic Hungarian escapee from war-torn Serbia, arrives back in Koivuharju, where she grew up as a refugee, two members of her new team prove friendly, but her surly and racist partner, Esko Niemi, disgusts her from the start of their two initial cases. In the first, a Kurdish immigrant girl, Bihar, fears that her family will kill her, and in the second, the shooting of a jogger mushrooms into a suspected set of serial homicides. Through Bihar’s scraps of first-person narrative, Hiekkapelto offers insights into the shortcomings of Finland’s welfare and immigration policies, while the main plot explores Anna’s battles with her professional insecurities and other personal problems. Anna’s slow and painful accommodation to her new life promises tough and powerful crime fiction to come. (June)