Nominated by:

Helsinki City Library, Finland

Publisher of nominated edition:

Hesperus Press, UK

Cold Courage

Pekka Hiltunen      

Translated from the Finnish by Owen F. Witesman

2015 Longlist

When Lia witnesses a disturbing scene on her way to work, she, like the rest of the City of London, is captivated and horrified. As details unfurl in the media, the brutal truth emerges – a Latvian prostitute has been killed, her body run over by a steamroller and then placed in the boot of a car to be found.

As the weeks pass and no leads are found, the news story dies but Lia finds herself unable to forget. When she meets Mari, another Finn living in London, she thinks it fortuitous, but Mari has engineered the meeting for her own advantage. There is much more to Mari than meets the eye: she possesses an unnatural ability to ‘read’ people, to see into their innermost thoughts and pre-empt their actions. Mari heads up a unit she calls the ‘Studio’ – a group she employs made up of four disparate people: a hacker, a set designer, a private detective and an actress. They are loyal to Mari, and she has bound them to her by granting them life-changing favours.
Mari and Lia strike up a firm friendship and when Lia shares the thoughts plaguing her about the murder, Mari thinks she and the members of the Studio can help where the police have failed. But Mari and Lia are about to set foot into extremely dangerous territory, especially as Mari is not above using the Studio to unscrupulous ends.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Pekka Hiltunen is a Finnish author, whose debut novel in 2011 immediately became one of the most acclaimed first novels in Finnish literature. Cold Courage was nominated for the Helsingin Sanomat Prize for Best Debut of the Year, a rare feat for a thriller. It won three literary prizes in Finland, including the Clue Award for Best Detective Novel of the Year, and it has been nominated for the Scandinavian Glass Key Award 2013.

Critics have pointed out that Hiltunen’s thrillers, called the Studio-series, started a whole new phase in Finnish crime lit. They combine global political topics with a smart urban setting and a nod to classical trickster novels.

Hiltunen also writes in other genres, and his books have beentranslated into six languages, including French and German. His forthcoming work BIG deals with the tricky problem of the worldwide obesity epidemic. Following a twenty-year career as a journalist in 2010 he received the Best Writing Editor Prize for his magazine articles. He specialises in extensive articles tackling social and political topics (amazon.co.uk)

Librarian’s Comments

Hiltunen’s book is a psychological thriller with an intriguing plot and well drawn main characters, Lia and Mari, two Finnish expats living in London. Lia meets Mari, who claims to be able to read people’s thoughts, when she gets involved in solving the murder of a Latvian prostitute. Mari runs an undercover group called the Studio that try to right society’s wrongs, be it human trafficking or racism, even if doing so means breaking the law. But can Lia trust Mari?

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