- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: AmazonCrossing (14 May 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1611099641
- ISBN-13: 978-1611099645
- Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 1.7 x 20.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 926,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Her Enemy (The Maria Kallio Series) Paperback – 14 May 2013
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About the Author
Leena Lehtolainen is Finland’s bestselling female crime author, first reaching international acclaim for her hit detective series starring Maria Kallio. In the mere twenty years since she began the series with My First Murder (1993), Lehtolainen has become a classic of Nordic crime literature – Lehtolainen has been called “Finland’s answer to Henning Mankel” (Brigitte), while her Maria Kallio series has been ascribed “cult status” (Bunte).
Lehtolainen twice won the annual prize for best Finnish crime novel, and has also been nominated for the prestigious Glass Key award for the best Nordic crime novel. Readers around the world continue to discover Lehtolainen’s detective novels – to date, over 2 million copies of her titles have been sold in numerous languages including German, French, Italian, Russian, Czech, Dutch, Hebrew, and Chinese, and the Kallio series has been adapted for television.
Top Customer Reviews
I very much enjoyed the first in this series (My First Murder (The Maria Kallio Series), but unfortunately in my personal opinion 'Her Enemy' is not as good as the first.
For me, this book just didn't flow and I really struggled with the huge cast of characters and their very similar Finnish names. In fact there is actually a 2 page list of all the characters who appear in this book. Even with this appendix of characters, I still struggled to remember (and care) who everybody was. Having read a lot of Scandinavian fiction, I can say that this is the first time that I've struggled to remember who was where and doing what.
Also, the book was first published in 1994, and it is very noticeable in its cultural and technological references!
I'm only giving this book a 2 star rating as I just didn't enjoy it - it felt like a chore to read. Whether the next books in the series are better, I guess we will have to wait and see. Unfortunately, this book didn't live up to the promise of the author's first book.
Maria narrates the story herself so everything is seen from her point of view. She has left the police force and is working as a lawyer. She and Antti have started living together and are staying in his parents' house while they are away for the summer.
For the first time she is getting involved with Antti's extended family whom she has known as acquaintances before. These relationships are quite complicated and I was glad that there was a list of characters and their relationships at the back of the book. The day after a family party Maria goes to visit Armi who is engaged to Kimmi, the brother-in-law of Antti's sister. She finds Armi dead, strangled in the garden. The police have no doubt as to the perpetrator and arrest Kimmi. Kimmi asks Maria to be his lawyer. The plot is hugely complicated - a previous death, presumed suicide - sado-masochism - drugs - self-harming - so I won't attempt to summarise it. It is enough to say that Maria's suspicions switch backwards and forwards as she discovers more and she soon realises that she, too, is under threat. She also is becoming aware that her relationship with Antti is perhaps reaching a crisis point.
I really enjoyed the first book, My First Murder, and was looking forward to the next in the series as I thought Maria was a character with a lot of potential for development. Sadly this wasn't realised. Maria and her friends spend a lot of time getting wrecked and having day long hangovers that slow the action down, but, if anything, she is less complex and less interesting than she was in the earlier book.
Having said that, it is a competent thriller and a good read.
The translation is idiomatic but very transatlantic, and some of it grates. I've read a few Finnish crime novels in translation, and they seem to be more downbeat and depressing than most; long hangovers are the norm! In this case, they sometimes get in the way of the plot, which is constructed with plenty of twists and turns, but some editing to up the pace would have been beneficial. Nevertheless, if that's the way it's written, we have to live with that.
I'm not sure whether I really like Maria Kallio as a character. I don't feel a lot of empathy with her. She's very human, and there are plenty of flawed detectives around, but it isn't easy to care what happens to her. There's a wayward streak in her that you think she should have grown out of by now.
I'd give her one more book to develop, but I can't see this being a very successful franchise unless that's chosen carefully from the catalogue.
The narrator, Maria Kallio, is a police officer turned lawyer who defends the lover of a murder victim, her strategy being to find the real killer. Cue some amateur sleuthing and a great deal of antagonism. Maria's biggest obstacle is the investigating officer, Strom, whose pigheadednes seems almost contrived.
For this English reader, the Finnish names are a problem, as most are not obviously male or female, e.g. Risto and Makke, and a lot of characters are thrown into the text early on, making it difficult to remember who is who. 'Her Enemy' is a pleasant enough read, but for most crime fiction fans I suspect it will not be an entirely satisfying one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Maria has left the police force and joined the legal profession. When she discovers the body of a friend's fiance and he is charged with the murder, Maria sets out to prove his... Read morePublished 9 months ago by june finnigan - writer
An excellent tale capturing the readers imagination throughout the enthralling storyline, packed with a host of thrilling characters and gripping encounters unravelling to the... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Dub Wise Dan
This book is a translation from the Finnish. It is very well translated but unfortunately the Finnish names of the characters were not given names which are more understandable to... Read morePublished 24 months ago by H. Cowan
I liked the book, being a fan of most Scandi crime, but I hadn't read the previous parts of this series, so I struggled to keep up with who was who, the reference part with a... Read morePublished on 15 Oct. 2014 by L. Thompson
I like stories in loving feisty, tule-breaking women who get results. And who are smart and also street-smart. Read morePublished on 22 Aug. 2014 by Rossan, Sheila