In Tuomainen’s first appearance in English translation, a long-unpublished poet takes to the streets of a grimly dystopian Helsinki in search of his vanished wife.
It’s not as if Tapani Lehtinen doesn’t already have enough sorrow to weigh him down. A series of weather-related disasters from Bangladesh to the Amazon have created 800 million climate refugees. In relatively sedate Finland, months of rain have interrupted power, ruined homes and canceled any promise of normal social life, as everyone who can move even further north rushes to do so. In the depths of this man-made hell, Johanna Lehtinen goes missing. It’s not unusual for newspaper reporters to take off in search of a story without calling in, says Lassi Uutela, her editor, though he can’t remember Johanna’s ever doing it before. The story Johanna has been working on is chilling: a series of slaughters of prominent business leaders and their families. The person who’s claimed responsibility in a series of emails to Johanna, calling himself the Healer, insists that he’s only trying to punish the kinds of people who recklessly accelerated climate change. Chief Inspector Harri Jaatinen, of Helsinki’s violent crimes unit, has no idea what’s happened to Johanna. Neither does her old friend Elina Kallio or her husband, Ahti, a lawyer who’s about to leave town with her since they can no longer find work. And the one lead the police have—the discovery of former medical student Pasi Tarkiainen’s DNA at several of the crime scenes—is seriously compromised by the news that Tarkiainen died five years ago.
Tapani’s search, which will lead him through an appalling series of cityscapes to some shattering discoveries about the wife he thought he knew so well, is the stuff of authentic nightmares.