Review: The Hummingbird by Kati Hiekkapelto


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Arcadia Books, 2014. Format: Kindle edition. File Size: 636 KB. Print Length: 364. Originally published as Kolibri by Otava, 2013. Translated from the Finnish by David Hackston. ISBN: 978-1-909807-75-4. ASIN: B00NKQSCOC.

Hummingbird Cover

Gradually, I’m reading the shortlisted novels for The Petrona Award 2015. Today’s the turn of The Hummingbird, the debut novel of Finnish author Kati Hiekkapelto, originally published as Kolibri by Otava in 2013. The story revolves around Anna Fekete, a new senior detective at the Crime Unit with an immigrant background, and the rest of her colleagues in the northernmost region of Finland. When the action begins we find Anna on her first day on the job. Although Anna speaks Finnish fluently and with no accent, she was born in the former Yugoslavia within a Hungarian speaking community in what is currently Serbia. For this reason she won’t be equally well accepted by all her new comrades.

As the novel unfolds, two cases will be intertwined. One refers to the murder of a young woman in a running track that will soon be followed by two other murders of similar characteristics. The other case will be related to a call for help from a young girl of Kurdish origin that Anna believes might be related to a case of ‘honour violence’. At the same time, the reader will get to know more details about Anna’s life and of her colleagues in the police force. The title of the book refers to an Aztec pendant found in the possession of all three murder victims.

This young Finnish writer has been quite a discovery for me this year and I’ve very much enjoyed reading her book. Probably the novel is not exempt of some flaws that can be easily forgiven as it is her first published novel. Certainly, she attempts to address, in my view, far too many issues in this book. However the main character is well drawn and is extremely interesting. And, last but not least, this is a police procedural that takes place in a new and different environment. I have no doubt that she has many more things to tell, knows how to say it, and knows very well her craft. I’m looking forward to reading her next book, The Defenceless that will be published in 2015 by Orenda Books. Besides, I’ve very little doubt that Kati Hiekkapelto is a writer that is worth to follow.

My rating: A (I loved it)

Kati Hiekkapelto (b. 1970) is a special needs teacher by training, writer, punk singer and performance artist. She lives on an old farm on the island of Hailuoto in Northern Finland with her children and a sizable menagerie. Hiekkapelto has taught immigrants and lived in the Hungarian region of Serbia. So far she has published: The Hummingbird (Kolibri, 2013), and The Defenceless (Suojattomat, 2014).

The Hummingbird has been reviewed at Crimepieces (Sarah), Amazon Customer Review (Simon Clarke), Crime Fiction Lover (Marina Sofia) and at Crime Scraps Review (Norman).  

Arcadia Books

Otava Book Agency

Kati Hiekkapelto Website 

At the Bar with: Kati Hiekkapelto

Colibri de Kati Hiekkapelto

Poco a poco, estoy leyendo las novelas finalistas al Premio Petrona del 2015. Hoy es el turno de Colibrí, la primera novela de la autora finlandesa Kati Hiekkapelto, publicado originalmente como Kolibri por Otava en el 2013. La historia gira en torno a Anna Fekete, una nueva detective, de origen inmigrante, en la Unidad contra la delincuencia, y al resto de su colegas en la región más septentrional de Finlandia. Cuando comienza la acción nos encontramos con Anna en su primer día de trabajo. Aunque Anna habla finlandés con fluidez y sin acento, nació en la antigua Yugoslavia en el seno de una comunidad de lengua húngara en lo que actualmente es Serbia. Por esta razón, ella no será igual de bien aceptada por todos sus nuevos compañeros.

Conforme se desarrolla la novela, se entrelazan dos casos. Uno se refiere al asesinato de una joven en un circuito de running que pronto será seguido por otros dos asesinatos de características similares. El otro caso se refiere a una llamada de auxilio de una joven de origen kurdo que Ana cree que podría estar relacionado con un caso de “violencia de honor”. Al mismo tiempo, el lector podrá conocer más detalles sobre la vida de Anna y de sus colegas en el cuerpo de policía. El título del libro hace referencia a un colgante azteca encontrado en posesión de las tres víctimas asesinadas.

Esta joven escritora finlandesa ha sido para mi todo un descubrimiento este año y he disfrutado mucho leyendo su libro. Probablemente la novela no está exenta de algunos defectos que pueden ser fácilmente perdonados, ya que es su primera novela publicada. Sin duda, trata de abordar, en mi opinión, demasiadas cuestiones en este libro. No obstante el personaje principal está bien dibujado y es extremadamente interesante. Y, por último pero no por ello menos importante, se trata de un procedimiento policial que se desarrolla en un entorno nuevo y diferente. No tengo ninguna duda de que ella tiene muchas más cosas que decir, sabe cómo contarlas, y conoce muy bien su oficio. Estoy deseando leer su próximo libro, The Defenceless que será publicado en el 2015 por Orenda Books. Además, tengo muy pocas dudas de que Kati Hiekkapelto es una escritora que va a merecer la pena seguir.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Kati Hiekkapelto (b. 1970) es de formación profesora de educación especial, escritora, cantante punk y artista de performances. Vive en una antigua granja en la isla de Hailuoto en el norte de Finlandia con sus hijos y una colección de animales salvajes de tamaño considerable. Hiekkapelto ha enseñado a inmigrantes y vivió en la región húngara de Serbia. Hasta el momento ha publicado: Kolibri, 2013 y Suojattomat, 2014.

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10 thoughts on “Review: The Hummingbird by Kati Hiekkapelto

  1. I felt much the same as you: that the author is trying to address too many issues, but that’s understandable in a first novel. I do think the characterisation is strong and look forward very much to the next one!

    1. Difficult to say Rebecca. Am currently reading Falling Freely, As If In A Dream and Leif G W Persson is one hell of a writer. Have still to read Reykjavik Nights and Indriðason is one of my favourite writers. But I can’t forget to mention what I’ve already said about The Hunting Dogs, a serious contender and I won’t be surprise to find him the winner. Anyway I’ll make my final bet within a coupe of weeks, just before the announcement of the winner,

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