cover image The Defenceless

The Defenceless

Kati Hiekkapelto, trans. from the Finnish by David Hackston. Orenda (IPG, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-910633-13-7

In Hiekkapelto’s effective sequel to 2014’s The Hummingbird, Senior Constable Anna Fekete’s background as a Hungarian expat comes in handy when she investigates a seemingly prosaic case. Gabriella Farkas, a Hungarian au pair resident in Finland for 10 months, has been taken into custody after running over an unidentified old man on a road near Kangassara. Though Anna’s recall of her native language is spotty, she’s able to develop a rapport with Gabrielle. The young woman claims that the dead man was lying in the street before she struck him, unable to stop her car in time. Anna must figure out whether the victim was dead beforehand, who he was, and what led to his being on the road late at night. Her inquiry is complicated by Gabriella’s request for emotional support to deal with her trauma, which Anna agrees to, despite her concerns that she’s crossing a line. Hiekkapelto sensitively portrays Anna’s search for meaning in her life. (Apr.)