The Healer

The Healer

It’s two days before Christmas and Helsinki is battling ruthless climate change. The apocalyptic days are beating down on the population: subway tunnels are flooded; abandoned vehicles are left burning in the streets; the authorities have issued warnings of malaria, tuberculosis, Ebola, and the plague. People are fleeing to the far north of Finland and Norway where conditions are still tolerable. Social order is crumbling and private security firms have undermined the police force. Tapani Lehtinen, a struggling poet, is among the few still able and willing to live in the city. When his wife Johanna, a newspaper journalist, goes missing Tapani embarks on a frantic search for her. Johanna’s disappearance seems to be connected to the story she was researching, that of a politically motivated serial killer known as ”The Healer”. As Tapani’s true and enduring love for Johanna is illustrated in flashbacks alongside his search for her in the present, Tapani uncovers secrets from Johanna’s past. Secrets that connect her to the very murders she was investigating…

Parantaja is set in desperate times, forcing the protagonist to take desperate measures in order to find his true love. Written in an engrossingly dense but minimal language verging on the poetic, Parantaja is a story of survival, loyalty and determination. How in merciless times when the world is coming to an end, love and hope is all there is left to live for.


 

Reviews

”This dystopian tale snagged the Clue Award for best Finnish crime novel of 2011, and U.S. audiences should prepare to be every bit as enthralled as the Finns. /…/ Tapani’s amateur sleuthing is all the more fascinating in light of the unimaginable barriers posed by the changing city, with inhabitants focused on their own survival. Readers attracted either to dystopian fiction or to Scandinavian crime will find gold here: Tuomainen’s spare, nostalgic style emphasizes the definitive nature of climate catastrophe”
Booklist *Starred Review* (US)

”Tuomanien’s third book evocatively explores a near-future Helsinki … Tuomainen writes beautifully… Tapani’s progression from a dreamy poet content with staying at home to a man of action elevates this bleak tale and brings a glimmer of hope to rain-soaked Helsinki.”
Publishers Weekly (US)

The Healer is a very original crime novel, quite different from typical Scandinavian crime fiction novels. /…/ With enormous efficacy, Antti Tuomainen depicts the extinction of a metropolis.”
La Stampa (Italy)

”Antti Tuomainen’s dystopian climate thriller The Healer was selected Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011 and is now nominated for The Glass Key. That makes perfect sense. Arctic crime, climate disaster, political murder and love story is combined with a sure hand in the Nordic darkness.”
Weekendavisen (Denmark)

”This chilling novel compels. … Clever, atmospheric and wonderfully imaginative.”
Sunday Mirror (UK)

 ”Tersely written, full of twists and sudden violence, this is nothing less than the birth of a new genre: dystopian detection.”
Sunday Telegraph (UK)

”Breathtakingly tense, with the taste of blood on every page. It is impossible to stop reading until you reach the end…”
Turun Sanomat (Finland)

”The gloomy apocalyptic atmosphere and the nervous revelation of the wife’s secrets make The Healer an uncanny and almost neurotic reading experience, and although the book was selected best Finnish crime novel of the year in 2011, it would probably be more accurate to label it ’psychological thriller in poetic-political garb’.”
Berlingske (Denmark)

”Tuomainen’s spare style suits the depressing subject and raises a serious question: how do you find hope when law and order break down?”
Financial Times (UK)

”Tuomainen truly succeeds in conveying the glistening streets and the neon-lit, rain-saturated, decaying urban environment. His language is stripped of all unnecessary ornamentation, his style is straightforward.”
Helsingin Sanomat (Finland)

 ”A very cinematic novel.”
Il Giornale (Italy)

The Healer is nominated for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel. It would be very well-deserved if Tuomainen wins… Impressive.”
Litteratursiden (Denmark)

”From the very first page, The Healer is like a thrilling movie.”
Gloria (Finland)

”This exciting blend of sci-fi crime novel and romantic storyline sucked me in and I loved every moment of it. Even though environmental destruction is imminent, love endures. A great book!”
Anna *4 out of 4* (Finland)

”A whodunit that is both surprising and impressive, but most influential is the stage on which the action takes place: Helsinki in 20-30 years time…The affluent are on their way to protected reserves in the north, replaced by floods of climate change refugees from the south. It could go that way. Love offers a glimmer of hope, while some individuals such as Jaatinen, a compassionate police inspector, even continues in their chosen profession.”
Tiede-lehden Hyvät Kirjat (Finland)

”His fans are right… this author is truly exceptional. /…/ Tuomainen has a pithy turn of phrase, a poetic touch when required, all the elements of crime writing is under full control and he has a brilliant understanding of how people operate. What more could you want?”
Dekkarihylly-blogi (Finland)

”The Finnish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award went to the right book. /…/ The book’s merits lie in its originality and the powerful description of its characters and milieu – and, of course, the excellent plot.”
Kaleva (Finland)

”Tuomainen lets [his protagonist] proceed step by step in uncovering his wife’s past. He does this with great skill, as if peeling an onion – the core remains hidden until the final pages.”
Pohjolan Sanomat (Finland)

”Tuomainen skillfully paints a picture of a possible world in the near future. The climate change has already arrived, just like the global exodus from the south to the north. /…/ His language is rich, sharp and precise. The dialogue is credible and appropriately terse for the harrowing surroundings.”
Savon Sanomat (Finland)

”The Clue Award winning Parantaja is a frightening novel. /…/ The plot and the people are stark, which underlines the characteristics of the book’s world. In between Tuomainen’s witty dialogue sparkles.”
Suomen Kuvalehti (Finland)

”Tuomainen has been characterized as a crime novelist and his books as crime fiction, but this doesn’t fully describe him. He is much more. /…/ He charts the eternal questions, of right and wrong, love and loss, life and death, with an intense narrative. The sentences are truly tight, easy to read, but all the more rewarding.”
Tähtivaeltaja (Finland)

”It’s all very harsh, fierce and gruff in this Finnish night… Tuomainen’s writing is well-oiled and pitch perfect for dark melodies.”
Politiken (Denmark)

”Antti Tuomainen is becoming a literary sensation. Not only for his style, [which is] rapid, clean and engaging. With The Healer, this Finnish writer has reinvented the ‘environmental noir’. /…/ The Healer is an apocalyptic saga with crime fiction atmospheres in an environmental setting.”
Greenews (Italy)

”A Helsinki drowning in rain forms the backdrop to this original and hard-boiled drama about a poet’s hopeless search for his missing wife.”
Information (Denmark)

”A beautiful, sinister book about love and survival in difficult times, and a worthy recipient of the prize for the best Finnish suspense novel of 2011.”
Bücher (Germany)

”Whereas The Healer is excellent in its capacity of crime novel, the book’s real attraction lies in the dismal, expressive doomsday scenario. /…/ Tuomainen’s book belongs to that rare category where the side-story develops into the main theme that carries off the entire novel, because it’s founded upon a possible future scenario. It’s interesting because it is political without the propaganda, and it’s entertaining because it provides some variety in the crime novel genre.”
krimi-radar.de (Germany)

”Antti Tuomainen offers a rather successful mixture: a captivating thriller with a sense of doom and a touch of detective story.”
Westdeutscher Zeitung (Germany)

”A courageous subject that Antti Tuomainen truly masters with his exquisite, precise sentences.”
Kurier (Austria)

”With The Healer the Finnish success author Antti Tuomainen has created a fraught thriller in which the murders in fact are reduced to a secondary role, while the powerful image of a gruesome future constitutes the real goose bump-evoking thrill.”
Neues Volksblatt (Germany)

”Antti Tuomainen’s The Healer was awarded the prize for best Finnish suspense novel in 2011 – and rightly so, because he convincingly relates a both original and dystopian tale.”
Oberhessische Presse (Germany)

”One of the most frightening crime novels I have ever read… The depiction of the environmental disaster is so convincing that it almost gave me anxiety.”
Aftonbladet (Sweden)

”Antti Tuomainen creates a new reality in The Healer that feels disturbingly believable. He manages to let love encircle the plot and poses the question of what is important in life.”
Kristianstadsbladet (Sweden)

”Tuomainen masterfully spices up the thriller genre with elements of apocalyptic sci-fi… Not only is [The Healer] a fine mystery thriller, but it also offers an interesting view on the workings of a civilization in decline, where in spite of all the chaos, love still prevails over evil.”
Pravo (Czech Republic)

”No ordinary thriller has a subtext as urgent as The Healer. It presents the eternal questions about good and evil, questions that arise only in the most extreme of situations.”
MF Dnes (Czech Republic)

”The dialogues, the characters and the plot are very mature, while the fast sequence of events will not allow you to lay the book aside once. Antti Tuomainen has written a capturing story, which will not let you sleep before you’ve finished it.”
Neoluxor (Czech Republic)

”It’s been a long time since I felt the need or will to revisit a suspenseful book immediately after the first reading.”
Knihožrout (Czech Republic)

”Its sparse prose style suits the dark, treacherous, rain-soaked environment of this dystopian vision of Helsinki. … There’s a neat twist right at the end”
Glasgow Sunday Herald (UK)

”Good news, fans of Nordic thrillers! Tuomainen has won the Clue Award for Best Finnish Crime Novel and has been translated into 23 languages, so he’s bound to be good.”
Library Journal (US)

”In Tuomainen’s first appearance in English translation, a long-unpublished poet takes to the streets of a grimly dystopian Helsinki in search of his vanished wife. /…/ Tapani’s search, which will lead him through an appalling series of cityscapes to some shattering discoveries about the wife he though he knew so well, is the stuff of authentic nightmares.”
Kirkus Reviews (US)

”Very dark atmosphere and neverending rain in this excellent Finnish dystopian thriller.”
Le Courier de l’ouest (France)

”With a sparce language and dark atmosphere, this stunning and violent novel weaves together passion and investigation with activism and its consequences.”
La Gazette (France)

”With a simple and efficient construction, the Finnish writer manages to craft an astonishing thriller.”
Ouest France (France)