HOLY CEREMONY  by Harri Nykänen


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The third case for Lt. Ariel Kafka, of Helsinki’s Violent Crimes Unit, begins with a twice-disappearing corpse and just gets wilder.

It doesn’t take a minute for medical examiner Dr. Esko Vuorio to identify the body found in an apartment in the Töölö district: it’s psychiatric patient Roosa Nevala. And Vuorio should know, because he examined her only yesterday in the city morgue, from which her body has been stolen, laid out, and adorned with scriptural references. There’s no sign of violence but many signs of weirdness, not the least of which is the vanishing of Roosa’s body from the morgue a second time so that it can be immolated in a forest outside the city. Roosa’s boyfriend, Reijo "Reka" Laurén, a cellist with a criminal past who’s worked most recently at a funeral home, is clearly implicated, since he lived in the apartment her corpse visited briefly. But Laurén, who in his school days at the repressive Daybreak Academy belonged to a secret society called the Sacred Vault, insists he’s not a killer.. Maybe Reka hasn’t killed Roosa, but the trail that begins at Daybreak Academy leads to an awful lot of other suspicious deaths. Is Reka seeking revenge on Vesa Särkijärvi, the old teacher who’s been accused of abusing many of the boys in his care, and other figures who may have covered up his assaults? Or has someone else battened on to the ancient grievance Reka shares with several other schoolmates, some of them slated for their own homicidal ends, for an even more sinister purpose?

Less distinctively woolly than Behind God’s Back (2014) but just as intricate in its layers upon layers of corruption, murder, suspect cops and public officials, and seriously dirty secrets.

Pub Date: March 13th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-908524-898
Page count: 268pp
Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2018


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